Art

GemArts East by North East Blog

Here is a blog highlighting a brilliant collaboration between The Syrian Kings, rappers on GemArts East by North East youth music project and Aaron Hughes, BALTIC Artists Award winner 2019.

Ahmad (19) and Hussein (18) had been in Gateshead less than one year when they began making music on ‘Dispersed Belongings’ a project delivered by Gem Arts in collaboration with Durham University and Gateshead Council Resettlement Team. Our initial sessions were based around the concept of belonging, identity and feelings of home. The young men had no previous experience of music making and we were working with an interpreter during those first few months together, exploring band work, lyric writing and percussion with GemArts music leaders Izzy and Pav.

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Ahmad and Hussein were progressed on to GemArts East by North East project (funded by Youth Music) and found that they shared an interest in hip hop, and both felt passionately that music could be a powerful tool of communicating their lived experiences of the war in Syria, forced migration, love, and lost love. They continued working with music leaders Pav and Izzy, and soon began writing lyrics together and bringing new material to each session along with musical references and songs that would later inspire beats that they would create during the sessions using Logic Pro and a MIDI keyboard. Their lyrics are often in Arabic and sometimes fused with English but always reference their real, lived experiences.

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During autumn 2018, internationally acclaimed artist/anti-war activist/Iraq war army veteran Aaron Hughes was selected to receive The Baltic Artist Award at The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. Aaron’s art focuses on the traumas of war, displacement and human connection despite pain. Aaron was interested in collaborating with local people who’ve similar experiences and was put in touch with GemArts to learn more about the creative work involving resettled Syrian youth living in Gateshead. The plan was to reimagine Wilfred Owen’s War Requiem alongside several award winning poets and music maestro, Karim Wasfi. This was an ambitious project for all of us and the beginning of The Syrian Kings journey.

The project Poetry Despite, Music Despite (Eternal War Requiem), as described by artist Aaron Hughes, aimed to reimagine and rework Wilfred Owen’s poems featuring in the War Requiem, using them starting points “to [consider] the relationship between the horrors of World War 1 and the ongoing ‘global War on Terror’.”

Although there are 13 young people who attend our music session regularly, Ahmad and Hussein are consistently keen to create new material and up until recently they were the only two in the group who considered themselves lyricists. In winter 2018 they worked hard demonstrating determination and discipline to create two pieces ‘Doomed Youth’ and ‘Permanent Stars’ for the performance with Aaron at the Baltic and decided to call their musical duo The Syrian Kings.

During the process of creating lyrics, tracks and raps for Permanent Stars in response to Wilfred Owens’s poem ‘But I was Looking at The Permanent Stars’ the group talked about what bugles represented in the war, how they were mournful and often associated with the death of soldiers. They discussed what could be used as an equivalent sound in Syria and asked the group if there was a similar instrument. They told us the sounds of ambulance sirens, radio signal, shattered glass and bombs were all the sounds the associated with the sadness and trauma of war in Syria. These sounds can all be heard throughout our track (the explosion sound became a useful tool for us to mark every 8 bars for rap verses).

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Credit and Copyright ©: Colin Davison

The group resonated with the lines in the poem “Voices of boys were by the river-side. Sleep mothered them; and left the twilight sad” and have echoed this with lyrics in Arabic about ships that were supposed to keep people safe but did not, and left bodies of children on the shore.

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Credit and Copyright ©: Colin Davison

Collaborating with international artists for their first performance was challenging and the thought of performing with people who you’ve never met is a daunting prospect for any musician but they worked hard and the performance was a huge success.

Aaron Hughes said on working with The Syrian Kings “Ahmad and Hussein had brilliantly related their experiences to Owen’s poems. Connecting the political situation in Syria and the lack of responsibility for the war to the needless violence of World War One. One section addressed their feelings of displacement, “ I already feel like I’ve lost my place, my hometown is gone without a trace, looking for something I can’t replace…” However, unlike Owen’s poems, Ahmed and Hussein expressed a bit of hope and determination “I’m never going back, I’m here to stay got to keep trying to find another way.”

The Syrian Kings performed their work alongside readings by Aaron Hughes, Iraqi-American poet Dunya Mikhail and Iraq War veteran poets, accompanied by Karim Wasfi who improvised cello, replacing the string sample on their tracks. They performed to the public on 15th/16th February 2019 in the gallery where Aaron Hughes’ print exhibition was mounted.

An album (recorded live at the first performance) and accompanying booklet of music, poetry, and stories by Iraqis, refugees, and veterans was commissioned for the project. 120,000 people visited the exhibition and heard the soundtrack at BALTIC.

The opportunity to connect two emerging musicians from East by North East with internationally recognised artists was invaluable and raised the aspirations and self-esteem of The Syrian Kings. They were treated as professional artists throughout the process and experienced the empowerment of collective creative endeavour.

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Credit and Copyright ©: Colin Davison

This year, The Syrian Kings have been invited to perform at multiple hiphop and spoken word events and continued to write, record and perform original material, spreading their message and raising awareness of the political situation in Syria. Hussein and Ahmad are powerful role models and nurture and encourage other young people in our music session to write and create songs that are important to them.

“I am here because I have a message. It is my responsibility to tell people what is happening in my country. I have freedom to say whatever I want and I need to use this. Syria is a beautiful place and the words come from the heart, I know that I will always want to write lyrics and make music, it is something I will carry with me my whole life now.” Hussein

Here is the music video of Permanent Stars by Syrian Kings – GemArts East by North East Youth Music project.

by Izzy Finch, EBNE Music Leader (Nov 2019)

GemArts Autumn Winter Season 2019 Launch

GemArts is thrilled to announce our Autumn Winter 2019 Season that launches with a new partnership with Middlesbrough Town Hall, as we bring the very best Indian classical, folk and contemporary music to this magnificent venue.  Beginning in September, with the brilliant Anupama Bhagwat on sitar, accompanied by tabla virtuoso Shahbaz Hussain; and in October we welcome Sudeep Banerjee for an evening of wonderful ghazals.

Our Riverside Ragas concert series continues at the Sage Gateshead presenting a stellar line up of Hindustani classical music; in September we are delighted to bring back internationally renowned Carnatic vocalist Sanjay Subrahmanyan, in October, santoor maestro Rahul Sharma and in November, Music from the courts of Kings and Saints, marking the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev’s birth. As always, GemArts’ special family ticket is available for these concerts, encouraging and inspiring a love of music for all ages and backgrounds.


If you’re looking for something to do with your little ones in half term, then don’t miss Indigo Moon Theatre’s wonderful shadow puppet theatre show Aladdin. Our ever popular Diwali celebrations return in November, and do visit the Chai & Chat exhibition at Gateshead Central Library, beautiful textile artwork inspired by traditional chai recipes.


The season ends with a Bollywood spectacular as we team up the Bridging Stroke across Newcastle & Gateshead charity to raise valuable funds for this excellent cause – we look forward to your support!

Keep checking www.gemarts.org for more exciting events and workshops across the North East, and please visit our Support Us page if you are in a position to make a gift.

Download your GemArts Autumn Winter 2019 Brochure here.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

WOMAN

By Bobby Tiwana, curator of WOMAN at GemArts Masala Festival

WAR-IASTILL FROM ‘WAR-IA’

This year’s shorts programme is inspired by the political act of being a woman. Yes, something as simple and ordinary as that is a type of activism, seen as a provocation or license to oppress in many contexts, ages, social class, across cultures and geographies. In so many parts of the world, including very close to home, girls and women have to try every day not to be coerced, exploited, abused, raped or murdered. Why is that so? And aren’t we all complicit in the silence, therefore sustaining the status quo? I don’t understand why there is such little enthusiasm today to describe yourself as a feminist. I understand it to mean that all genders are equal and should be treated equally in law, life and love.

Growing up in a household of women, a mother and two older sisters, and a father mostly at work, women’s voices, presence and their value was something inherent in my upbringing. Women have always featured strongly in my life: at school, college and university. I became an uncle to my first niece when I was just 23 years old who’s just been helping me organise my wedding. And my mother’s now a large presence in my life as she ages.

As a gay Asian man, I’ve experienced homophobia and racism, nothing extraordinary, probably ordinarily average. However, not belonging to the straight club in a patriarchal world has also enabled me to enter spaces not ordinarily available to straight men. Perhaps due to a greater shared empathy with my sisters due to our respective fights to survive.

How can a cisgender man curate a programme about women: because I’m a feminist, because I think there are stories to be told and conversations to be had.

WOMAN comprises five film shorts including narrative fiction, documentary and artists film/video/spoken word.

THE FIELDSTILL FROM ‘THE FIELD’

See the trailer for ‘THE FIELD’

We open with THE FIELD, a multi-award nominee (BAFTA/BFI London Film Festival and British Independent Film Award 2018) and Shorts Cut Award Winner (Toronto International Film Festival) by writer-director Sandhya Suri. This is a beautifully crafted short set in rural Punjab in India. We follow the life of an agricultural worker who leads a double life.

CLENCHSTILL FROM ‘CLENCH’

See the trailer for ‘CLENCH’

CLENCH by award winning film director and visual artist Riffy Ahmed tells the story of Ash, a dual heritage girl from Old Trafford who ends up on the wrong side of the law, resulting in her boxing at Salford Lads’ Club. The film echoes the fractured nature of today’s identity politics among the young and old.

QANDEEL2                                        STILL FROM ‘QANDEEL’

Commissioned by the Guardian and Bertha Foundation, Saad Khan’s documentary QANDEEL examines the life, death and impact of Pakistan’s working-class icon Qandeel Baloch, killed in 2016 after becoming a social media celebrity. This compelling film analyses her life through the lens of class and power politics and connects it to women’s continuing struggle for self-expression and agency in Pakistan.

WE ARE FIRESTILL FROM ‘WE ARE FIRE’

WE ARE FIRE is a short film about Champa Pal’s resistance with the support of ‘The Gulabi Gang’ to an entrenched cultural system in Uttar Pradesh designed to give men the upper hand. The film is directed by Oscar and Emmy award-winning director Orlando von Einsiedel.

WAR-IA 2STILL FROM ‘WAR-IA’

WAR-IA embraces her true nature to draw upon the wisdom of all the mothers who came before, and those to come, unleashing her indomitable spirit. The video is inspired by the inner thoughts of Black and Asian women. It uses their voices and experiences, from the real to the imagined.  A range of states – innocence, objectification, self-doubt, rage, playfulness and survival – are depicted in the work. Written and directed by Bobby Tiwana.

The films will be followed by a post-screen discussion with filmmakers Sandhya Suri and Riffy Ahmed facilitated by me, Bobby Tiwana.

WOMANFRI 19 JUL, 7pm, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, South Shore Road, Gateshead NE8 3BA

Tickets £5 Buy here

Ticket includes welcome drink

GemArts is strutting into Summer with Masala Festival 2019!

GemArts award winning Masala Festival is back, strutting into summer like a Bengal tiger from 15-21 July 2019, as we bring you another magnificent line up of classical, traditional and contemporary artists from the UK and Indian sub-continent, exploring themes of home, belonging, freedom, resistance, luck and hope. Download your Masala Festival 2019 brochure here.

Launching on 15th July, at Sage Gateshead, with an incredible collaboration and special evening of music composed and performed by the internationally renowned Sarod maestro Ustad Wajahat Khan with a String Quintet from our region’s fantastic chamber orchestra Royal Northern Sinfonia.

Followed by two of the most prominent women on the contemporary jazz scene, on 16th July Zoe Rahman and Laura Macdonald.

For spoken word and poetry, look no further than Luck and Hope: an evening of poetry  with two of the best poets writing today Mona Arshi and Imtiaz Dharkar at Culture Lab, and a stellar line up of regional spoken word talent in Strictly Spoken with our partners at Arch16.

We have a fantastic line up of films this year with: heartwarming, ‘feel good’ comedy of the year Eaten by Lions following half brothers Omar and Pete on a journey of discovery via Blackpool, featuring Jonny Vegas and Jack Carroll; stunning cinematography and subdued tension with The Sweet Requiem, showing an unforgettable reflection on an ongoing and forgotten Tibetan refugee crisis and contemporary film shorts about freedom, desire and resistance in Woman.

Writer, performer and professional wrestling manager, Pariah Khan brings his ‘shrewd and bitingly funny’ An Indian Abroad to Northern Stage on 20th July, where we follow the story of Krishnan, who is stifled by life in middle class India and decides to visit the exotic island of Great Britain. What will he learn about himself? And what happens when he falls in love with one of the natives?

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If you want to get yourself moving, why not try out Bollywood dance,  yoga on the beach or if you are if need of a little TLC before the summer try out an introdution to Meditation.

Not to mention the amazing menu being cooked up by Dabbawal throughout the week, watch here for their menu reveal soon!!

Masala  Festival ends on Sunday 21st July at Live Theatre’ Garden with a spectacular fun packed Mini Mela finale, with FREE South Asian arts, craft, music and dance workshops for all of the family to enjoy. This year enter a seafront arcade in a caravan with ….. Elvis’ Bingo Balls, neon, sounds of the slots and an Indian Elvis as your bingo caller! Not to mention Circus Raj, a circus troupe from India performing throughout the day, with stilt walkers, extreme juggling, sword swallowing and acrobatics, plus dancing marionettes and much, much more…..

There really is something for everyone. Visit www.gemarts.org to find out more and book tickets.

Look out for our beautiful brochure around Newcastle and Gateshead or download your full brochure here GemArts Masala Festival 2019 Brochure

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Spring Summer 2019 Season Launch

We launch our Spring Summer 2019 season with another exciting concert series, featuring emerging musicians to artists whose family musical history spans five centuries, with everything from Sitar and Sufi devotional music to a re-imagined String Quartet.


This season we have a special focus on dance, showcasing incredible commissions and performances that tell those untold stories. Crackle.Dust. by Company of Others, is an unveiling of women’s resilience, inspired by women of the North. Jaivant Patel’s YAATRA shares a fresh perspective on South Asian LGBTQ+ narratives, faith and spirituality; and A Thousand Faces blends Kathak dance with physical theatre and mime, subverting the imagery of Bollywood beauty and Hollywood glamour to explore the objectification of women.

For young people and families, February welcomes the return of our popular half term Mini Mela event in Gateshead, with FREE, family arts workshops including Steel Pans, Bollywood Dancing, Chinese Arts, Persian Calligraphy and more. Come along and create your own artwork to take home.

Our work with young people around the region continues with diverse arts workshops in schools and communities across the region, working with pupils of all ages and abilities.

We are very proud of our young Syrian musicians, part of our EbNE project, who have been commissioned for Poetry Despite, Music Despite, part of Aaron Hughes work for BALTIC Artists’ Award 2019. Creating their own poetry and songs as a re-imagining of Wilfred Owen’s poetry using their own experiences of war, belonging and home,  they will perform at BALTIC early February.

In April, we celebrate the culmination of our East by North East youth music project with a performance event at Sage Gateshead, recognising the achievements and talents of 170 young people from across Newcastle and Gateshead who take part in our weekly music sessions.

To find out more about our upcoming programme scroll down, and to see our full Spring Summer 2019 season visit www.gemarts.org or download your copy of the brochure here: GemArts Spring Summer 2019 brochure.

Also watch out for Masala Festival updates. Masala Festival 2019 returns from July 15 – 21st.

Merry Christmas from GemArts

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The end of the year is always a time for reflection, and across GemArts performance and participation programme, we are reminded of all of the wonderful artists, communities, audiences, volunteers, partners and funders we have worked with in 2018.  We would like to thank every one of them for continuing to support our work in so many ways.
 
Although each and every performance and project has their highlights, we have picked a few below to show some of the work we have done this year. I hope you enjoy looking back at GemArts 2018 year, where we have supported the best and brightest artistic talent, both emerging and established artists from the UK and abroad; continued to champion creativity and diversity; and have offered unique cultural experiences, to people of all ages and backgrounds, enabling exceptional opportunities to participate in diverse music, dance, literature and visual arts.
 

Masala Festival – following last year’s Journal Culture Arts Council Award win, we were proud to be a finalist this year for the Best Event Tyneside for Masala Festival, which returned for the third time in 2018 and celebrated an outstanding selection of artists and producers from the North of England, a fantastic range of South Asian art forms from poetry, dance and film to jazz and classical music, family fun days to amazing new visual arts commissions, including a new sculpture created by robotic arm! Keep an eye out for Masala Festival 2019!

 

GemArts Riverside Ragas continues to present the very best of raag based music concerts alongside informative pre-concert talks, masterclasses and demonstrations. 2018 featured some of the finest musicians from the UK and India: Shreya Devnath, Arnab Chakrabarty with Talvin Singh, Shashank Subramanyam, ONE (ensemble of Vainikas), Purbayan Chaterjee with Gurdain Rayatt, Jasdeep Singh Degun and ended with an incredible premier of Simon Thacker’s Svara Kanti’s new album Trikala. We have an incredible line up for you in Spring Summer 2019 check out our website for our programme announcement early January.

Every year we work with thousands of people on participatory projects, making diverse arts opportunities accessible to all. In April this year, we worked alongside  Durham County Council and schools across Durham, Stockton and Hartlepool, to mark the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, delivering cultural arts activities that celebrated the 53 nations, including Steel Pans, Indian Dance, Sri Lankan, Indian and Malaysian visual arts, African Drumming and Storytelling. On the 25th April, 1000 young people processed through Durham city centre to the cathedral to take part in a special service to mark the event.

In the centenary year of the Representation of the People Act, GemArts were invited to be part of PROCESSIONS, a UK-wide mass participation artwork to mark 100 years of women’s suffrage, produced by Artichoke and commissioned by 14-18 NOW, based on an idea by Darrell Vydelingum.

Our Feel Good group created a banner that represented what the vote means to them, what it is like being a women in the UK today, highlighting their past, present and their hopes for the future. On 10th of June, the group processed through Edinburgh, proudly showcasing their banner, with thousands of other women and girls across the UK. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffragette movement, the PROCESSIONS appeared as a flowing river of colour through the city streets.

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October saw the launch of our new film #endmatecrime for National Hate Crime week. The film was made by participants from The Gateshead Housing Company’s customer led Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group and charity Changing Lives. Through creative arts sessions, working with our artist Tommy Anderson, participants created a series of hard hitting artwork, that have been designed into postcards, a poster and an animation film featuring real-life personal stories of victims of mate crime in Gateshead. You can watch the film here.


Our Arts, Health and Wellbeing strand continues to work with communities across Gateshead and Newcastle using creative engagement to address isolation and loneliness. This year we have worked alongside Gateshead Council to embed the Making Every Contact Count (MECC) approach, offering training to artists, staff and volunteers to support our creative practise.

Our flagship East by North East youth music project, now in it’s 5th year, engages with 177 young people on a weekly basis. Young people from diverse communities, living in challenging circumstances, take part in a wide range of musical genres. The project is committed to supporting a diverse music workforce ensuring gender equality across the programme.

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You can find out more about our work on our website www.gemarts.org

On behalf of everyone at GemArts and GVEMSG, we would like to thank you for your continued support, and wish you a very Merry Christmas, and all the best for a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

 

GemArts East by North East – Blog by music leader Kay Grayson (Nov 2018)

Here is a blog by Kay Grayson, who is one of our music leaders on GemArts’ Youth Music funded East by North East project. Kay’s blog gives a fascinating snap shot of her own amazing journey as a female rapper, and how she has used her skills through the project to support young women to develop their musical talent and confidence.

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As a rapper, I have been performing around the UK for nearly nine years as well as writing, mixing and mastering my own music including my underground 2016 mixtape ‘Morning After Music’. Now I am working with producer Suski to release my first EP and hopefully will continue performing across the country.

Alongside this I have been working with GemArts as a music leader. I started as a volunteer for Chat Trust: The Base, which is a project I attended from twelve years old and where I learned to use studio equipment. As a volunteer working with the girls group I found a passion for supporting young people with their creative interests and after a year I became a worker on the EBNE project.

The girls, that myself and the other music leaders have been working with, have faced many obstacles in their lives when it comes to wanting to create their own music, for example, English is not the first language for many of them which can add difficulty when it comes to writing music, and also create a lack of confidence, which is something they all struggled with at first.

Over time I have watched the girls become confident and competent musicians through their dedication and willingness to learn. They have gone from not wanting to sing in front of the microphone to learning to deliver their own raps in the studio and even showing an interest in how the studio works. Musically this has inspired me, and helping them to write and record has helped to develop my skills in both these areas. It is easy to write a rap when it is me alone, but it was altogether a new challenge to help someone else speak about their experiences in a group of four or five of their friends.

My favourite thing about the sessions is that they create a safe space for young people who live in areas where there may not be many opportunities available to them. As a female rapper I have faced barriers due to my gender and therefore know that it is invaluable to a young person’s confidence to be free to try things without fear of judgement. The openness of the sessions proves to the young people that music can be used as a tool to bring people together and promotes a positive message of diversity and acceptance.

East by North East is a Youth Music funded project led by GemArts. Building on the success of previous projects, during this third phase, we have expanded the prorgramme to provide more opportunities for professional musicians and young people living in challenging circumstances from BAMER and wider communities across Newcastle and Gateshead to work with one another, sustaining high quality music making regionally, and addressing community needs and issues.  A key element of the programme is to further diversify the music skills and workforce of music practitioners in the North East through offering CPD, training, peer to peer development and mentoring.

https://gemarts.org/projects/116/east-by-north-east

 

 

GemArts East by North East – Blog by music leader Izzy Finch (Nov 2018)

Here is a blog by Izzy Finch, who is one of our music leaders on GemArts’ Youth Music funded East by North East music project.  Izzy gives fantastic insight into working with young people from Syrian communities living in Gateshead to develop their musical and life skills, whilst providing a safe space for young people’s voices to be heard, develop leadership skills and for them to be empowered.   

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As project musicians, Pav and I first developed a relationship with members of this group when they had been in Gateshead less than one year whilst working on GemArts’ Dispersed Belongings project in collaboration with Durham University. Our initial sessions were based around the concept of belonging, identity and feelings of home. The participants had no previous experience of music making and we were working with an interpreter. During those early sessions we talked a lot about identity and I realised that there is a complexity of emotions surrounding belonging for most of the participants as there have been interim homes between Syria and Gateshead. Working on this project has changed my perception of not only belonging, home, identity but the value of music as a tool for discussion.

I am comfortable knowing that over time we created an environment where the participants developed trust and were invested enough to talk in depth about their aspirations for the project and were given a platform to write songs about things that were important to them. I think sometimes there is a fear when working as a music practitioner with marginalised communities that our own agenda/ expectations will interfere with the creative hopes and dreams of young people. We were careful to navigate a balance between guiding and leading, making sure participants were not exploited with the content of what they write about.

One of the first songs the group wrote is titled Syria. The lyrics to the song describe the country as their mother and Aleppo as their blood. It is a love letter to Syria. In the very beginning when we first started working together I facilitated an exercise where participants would describe colours, sounds, sights and smells of home or a significant memory. The group seemed unsure at first but soon everyone was writing in Arabic and absorbed in the task. I hadn’t prepared myself for how emotionally raw the content would be having elicited those feelings. I realised afterwards that I had expected the content to be about dislocated items or events but instead we uncovered that there is still a strong and prevalent sense of belonging to Syria and that this is something that the young people want to share and write about. One member said “I want to deliver a message to the people here about the situation in Syria” and continues to bring new lyrics in each week exploring this.

Sometimes a song idea will begin with a young person showing the group a song they like and we will begin talking about what aspects of that we like and what we will use as inspiration to create an original piece. For one song, we used Eminem- Stan as inspiration, and sampled the sound of rain to evoke emotion and used the structure of Eminem’s hit as a template with Arabic verses poetically describing a lost love and a chorus in English featuring female vocals working as a call and response.

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Our session structure changes depending on the ideas of the young people. Sometimes we all have an instrument and work as a band collectively, and other times we will use a MIDI controller and laptop to make electronic beats that vocalists want to put lyrics and a melody to. Within the current group, there are multiple song writers and the participants are self-motivated when it comes to organising their time within the session. For example, if we worked on one member’s song the previous week, they will talk amongst themselves and decide fairly that it is someone else’s turn to have their song rehearsed. New members are always welcomed and encouraged by the group to suggest ideas or lead a rehearsal. Lyrics are often in Arabic and sometimes have an English chorus with themes around the war in Syria, politics, nostalgia, love, lost love and friendship.

This year the core group are brimming with confidence and creativity. The sessions are very much participant led and we are preparing for a performance in a few months and introducing Arts Award. The group enjoy sharing and communicating their ideas in English, we rarely use the interpreter although sometimes we need one to translate lyrics and help with meaning but I l love that Arabic lyrics are a constant thread in everything we create. If new members come along and are struggling to speak English or understand what we are doing, the group enjoy interpreting and helping each other articulate their ideas.

It is a pleasure to be able to work with these young people and help them achieve self-belief and provide a creative outlet. I feel that this project has demonstrated the capacity Gem Arts have to meet the growing needs of marginalised groups within the North East.

East by North East is a Youth Music funded project led by GemArts. Building on the success of previous projects, during this third phase, we have expanded the prorgramme to provide more opportunities for professional musicians and young people living in challenging circumstances from BAMER and wider communities across Newcastle and Gateshead to work with one another, sustaining high quality music making regionally, and addressing community needs and issues.  A key element of the programme is to further diversify the music skills and workforce of music practitioners in the North East through offering CPD, training, peer to peer development and mentoring.

https://gemarts.org/projects/116/east-by-north-east

GemArts Autumn Winter Season 2018

As the lovely warm weather continues our Autumn Winter Season brochure has arrived and brings an eclectic mix of new commissions, exhibitions, workshops and events to the region for that Indian Summer glow. Download your full brochure here GemArts Autumn Winter 2018 Brochure

Thank you to everyone who came to our Masala Festival in July and made it such a huge success! You still have time to see Sumit Sarkar’s fantastic Everything Nothing Exhibition at Gateshead Central Library on until 2 October, featuring new commissioned work by GemArts, including a new marble sculpture created by a robotic arm!

Sumit Sarkar Image - Anna Miller

Launching our exceptional Riverside Ragas programme this Autumn we have spectacular Sitar players, Purbayan Chatterjee , accompanied by Gurdain Rayatt on Tabla, and rising star Jasdeep Singh Degun presenting groundbreaking sounds from the traditional to the contemporary.

Setting a new benchmark for Indo-Western collaboration, later in the season we are excited to present the official launch performance of GemArts supported, Trilaka epic double album of Simon Thacker’s Svara-Kanti.

 

With something for all the family, you can delight the kids in October half term, with Jungle Book, where you can follow fearless Mowgli’s wild adventures through the jungle with inventive shadow theatre, powerful music and colourful digital projections.

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Marking the festive season, November brings our annual Diwali festival of lights with delicious Indian food and a night of Bollywood and Bhangra Beats, bring your dancing shoes!  Outstanding vocalist Swati Natekar will take you on a musical journey in December with an evening of Ghazals, Thumris and old Bollywood Songs and we have a fantastic opportunity to hear novelist, Preti Taneja, reading from her debut novel We that are Young, a powerful retelling of King Lear set in contemporary New Delhi and winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018.

Celebrating the New Year we welcome star of the future Kaviraj Singh on santoor in January, as part of the exciting New Year, New Artists Festival at Sage Gateshead. Visit our website for more information on this soon.


As always we will be delivering workshops and projects for schools and with community groups over the coming months and launching our new animation to raise awareness of Mate Crime. Projects aim to support equality, promote diversity and tackle inequality. For more information about projects please visit GemArts Projects.

We look forward to seeing you over the coming months. Keep up to date on our news by following us on Facebook and Twitter.