May 2020

Arts La’Olam announces ‘#betweenspaces’: an inspirational cultural programme for lockdown

Arts La’Olam, based in Ipswich, is excited to announce a new programme of events, commissions and participatory online workshops that bring families and people of all ages together in a spirit of creative celebration, addressing social isolation and creating legacy artworks that commemorate these curious times.

Thanks to a generous grant from Arts Council England (ACE), the Arts La’Olam mission to bring global arts and music to communities will reposition to the digital environment. The programme will reach people nationally.
Eight dedicated projects with artists, working in new and innovative ways, will bring the life-enhancing energy of the arts into our homes. #betweenspaces seeks to close the gaps we may be feeling acutely right now or just honour the simplicity and peace of our reduced surroundings.

The #betweenspaces programme

Helen McDonald’s Telephone Jazz Singalong
Acclaimed singer, storyteller and leading vocalist with the riotous Hi-life ensemble Yaaba Funk, Helen McDonald draws from the American Songbook to sing jazz standards and classic torch songs that inspire memories and nostalgia, which our elders can access by phone at any time.
Helen is making her number available to those at home or in care homes who yearn for a rendition of the rugged sensuality of Lady Day’s God Bless the Child or the vocal acrobatics of Ella Fitzgerald’s epic scat strewn How High the Moon, taking requests and singing along with participants.
Promoted in partnership with veteran senior citizen entertainers Duckie’s Posh Club, the Telephone Jazz Singalong offers a joyous and anxiety-releasing interlude from the daily void that social distancing can bring.
Details: From June to September 2020, call Helen on 07905 127 403, 9am-8pm,

Hannah Aria’s Everyday Household Art Workshops
Ipswich resident, Hannah Aria is a neuro-divergent artist with a strong ethical grounding, dedicated to encouraging those living with disabilities to tap into their unique creative superpowers.
Artist in residence at Quay Place, Ipswich, where she delivers wellbeing art classes for Suffolk Mind, Hannah has devised a series of 30 minute interactive online workshops to be delivered on Friday afternoons at 1.30pm to support mental health service users and those struggling with lockdown.
Workshops are designed to be fun and inclusive, inspiring people to make art using simple objects around the home. Ultimately, the ambition is to display the artworks in an exhibition at Quay Place, Ipswich in March 2021, where participants stories and lived experiences of lockdown can unfold. No artistic talent or experience is required, this is great chance to have fun, create and connect.
Details: From June to September 2020

The Mind Festival
The first ever Mind Festival is an online event with a formidable line-up of 35 artists, DJs and therapists referencing highly personal stories of addiction, recovery and achieving mindfulness through talks, counselling sessions and the release of hip-hop, garage, funk, soul and reggae sets.
Raising funds for a number of regional mental health and substance misuse charities, the Mind Festival also celebrates the LGBTQ+ community. Suffolk Pride will give an empowering talk and invite conversation around identity, diversity, equality and social change.
Curated by DJ Samira Elhenaway and featuring sets from Jay Funk, live streams from Shutdown FM, fitness sessions with Warrior Woman, this is a festival switching up conventional perceptions of what recreational fun looks like, connecting with others, and encouraging an alcohol and drug free lifestyle.
Details: 3rd and 4th July on

Video link music workshops with Fiston Lusambo
Guitarist, arranger, producer and founder of Congolese dance band, Zong Zing, Fiston Lusambo is a technically gifted musician with years of experience that has seen him perform alongside Grace Jones, Sting and Mose Fan Fan.
As the parent of a grown-up son living with a learning disability, Fiston possesses a unique understanding of highly accessible teaching techniques appropriate to communicating methodologies and mastering chord progressions.
This series of workshops to be delivered online through video conferencing platform will encourage people of all ages living with disabilities to develop their musical skills and confidence both individually and with their families.
A master of Cavacha, the Central African high adrenaline dance music characterised by intricate guitar picking, driving percussion and tight three part harmonies calling out dance steps, Fiston embodies the evolving traditions of Congolese rumba alongside the likes of Kanda Bongo Man and Papa Wemba.
Details: From July to October,

Kaddish: Ana Silvera song commission
Arts La’Olam is honoured to invest in the commission of a Covid-19 legacy work inviting international singer songwriter Ana Silvera to draw from her Sephardic Jewish heritage, and as a source of inspiration meditate on the Hebrew Kaddish; creating a prayer for mourners in song for our times. The new song will be launched in October.
Ana’s sensuous and haunting vocals coupled with a unique lyrical delicacy makes her the perfect custodian of an important project that gives a voice to the bereaved and a space to grieve.
Ana’s ethereal brand of alt-folk has seen her perform at countless festivals and major venues including SXSW, the Roundhouse, Iceland Airwaves and Copenhagen Jazz Festival on the back of her two critically acclaimed albums, The Aviary and Oracles. Featuring master Kora player, and composer in his own right, Sefo Kanuteh from Gambia, thematically and collaboratively, it is a work that seeks to achieve true global resonance.
Details: Available 1st October

African Choir of Norfolk; Moving online
Zimbabwe and Norfolk-based singer, songwriter, dancer, musician and artistic director, Anna Mudeka, has been commissioned by the Hostry Festival in Norwich to lead the African Choir of Norfolk. Inviting people of African heritage from across the county to lend their vocal talents, the choir will showcase the rich cultural heritage of Africa’s nations through a diverse repertoire.
The African Choir of Norfolk’s inaugural performance has been scheduled at this year’s Hostry Festival in October 2020. Not to be defeated by lockdown, Arts Council England and Arts La'Olam have enabled rehearsals to be transferred online, empowering members to unleash their full choral force in perfect harmonisation in time for the festival launch, and a follow up performance at the Norfolk Arts Awards. Join the choir:
Anna Mudeka video is available for by the press:
Details: Every Saturday between 6th June and 17th October

Solidarity Music Video
Mariachi Las Adelitas are a seven-piece all-female Mariachi band from London. Named after the brave Adelitas who took up arms to support their husbands and sons during the Mexican Revolution, they were formed in 2013 in a spirit of challenging stereotypes about this traditionally male dominated genre.
The only women only Mariachi band in Europe, these gifted musicians and vocalists have performed for audiences on North American Spanish TV channels, Univision and Telemundo TV. They have also appeared alongside the Grammy award-winning Mariachi Divas at Los Angeles 2018 Women’s Mariachi Festival.
In customary style, their songs speak of love, death, revolution and family; rich in parables for our current times and being distanced from our loved ones. With the mission of continuing to play together and reach audiences, Las Adelitas will produce a music video, playing in their respective homes surrounded by children, pets and the domestic backdrop of lockdown, but of course, dressed in their Mariachi finery.
Details: Available 1st September

Tim Germain Bench Project
Co-produced with support from the Munnings Art Museum and Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Ipswich designer and craftsman Tim Germain and community arts project facilitator, Daisy Lees, will work with East Bergholt Equality and Diversity Committee and Munnings Art Museum advocates in two art consultation workshops to inspire the design of a healing bench as we recover from these unprecedented times.
Addressing themes of connectivity to others, self-expression, home and nature, 20 people drawn from local volunteer, parish, children and young people’s groups and the museum’s creative network will feed their thoughts and ideas into creating a palliative artwork.
The bench will be made from storm-felled oak from Ipswich parks, and installed in the grounds of the Munnings Art Museum by Spring 2021 to provide a place for contemplation, inspiration and wellbeing for generations to come.