On Saturday 8th of March, I was down at the Jubilee Library in Brighton taking part in some events to mark International Women’s Day. Jubilee Library is more than just a library. It’s a community hub, and 7 days a week it provides a welcoming retreat/space for the local community of all ages and persuasions. They often have art exhibitions and other events of cultural significance and are located 1/2 a mile from the sea front and enjoy centre stage in Brighton’s prime location. They also lend books.
Saturday was a fun filled, inspirational day. I’m going to break it down for you…
The event was produced by Creative Director Jenni Lewin-Turner from Urban Flo (@urbanflo_uk) to mark International Women’s Day 2014. Jenni had enlisted Kofi Allen (@KofiAllen) to capture iconic pictures of women from all walks of life, of all ages and persuasions. Can I just say that it was an absolute privilege to see Kofi in action. To watch a master at work. Now I fully understand why his work has been so critically acclaimed and been displayed in galleries and exhibitions across the globe.
He has a way of making even the most ill at ease person feel like a superstar in front of his camera. His ability to capture the essence of a subject is truly something to behold. He visually interrogates his subject seeing something in them that I don’t think others can see. I can attest to this. You may not believe me, but I am really not comfortable in front of a camera. Its a necessary evil being a performer, and I have had to learn to try and put my discomfort to one side to develop my abilities in this area. I’m still working on this. However, for some reason once in front of Kofi, I found myself drawn into some sort of positive vibe…wanting to give more. I’m still trying to figure it out? I’ve now coined this phenomena KofiMagic! 🙂
On hand on the day to assist Kofi was Paul Jackson (@AxJackson) from Legacy Film UK (@LegacyFilmUK) These two had never met before the event, but they collaborated effortlessly and seamlessly throughout the day to get the job done. I witnessed passion transformed into action. Well done guys.
Eventually, the pictures will be available for purchase from a website. I’ll keep you all updated on where that is when I have the information. A selection of the images will also be displayed at the library for a month from next week, so If you are in the Brighton & Hove area…go and check them out.
I was scheduled to perform. I had already decided to perform one of my songs Scarlet Woman, but I needed another. So to warm up the crowd I decided on Annie Lennox’s Sweet Dreams. Recently I have been singing a version of this with my band Bastedo, and it goes down well. I also thought it an appropriate song for the occasion being International Women’s Day. I sang these 2 songs acapella. The acoustics were fantastic, the PA system was great and the words really resonated in that setting. Folks showed me much love and appreciation. It was also worth noting that my namesake Alexandra Bastedo comes from the Brighton & Hove area…so I felt that she was there with me in spirit…and I told the audience so. It was a good day. 🙂 RIP Alex xx
International Women’s Day Choir
And theres more! For the next 45 minutes we were treated to Aneesa Chaudhry (@aneesachaudhry) and her International Women’s Day Choir. This group of ladies had never met before, and by some sort of miracle, during the 2 hours before they took to the stage…Aneesa had managed to whip them up into a coherent, lovely sounding choir. So cool! It was really beautiful to watch these sistas, come together in harmonious voice…in celebration of all of us women. The whole day was just vibes from start to finish. You could tell how much pleasure these ladies were getting from participating. Seriously. I was touched. Also, each and every one had their iconic photo taken…so they’ll forever have a moment to mark this special day.
As for Aneesa. This is a special lady. She oozes confidence and playfulness on the stage. I was watching and learning believe you me. After the choir had done their songs…she took to the stage to do a few solo numbers. My particular favourite was Whatever Lola Wants. She smashed it! 🙂
Wolflung & The Gang
The fun didn’t stop there my friends!!
Once the day was done and dusted, we were packing up to leave, I’d gone to get my car and bring in near the front of the library so that we could put stuff in the boot. Brighton is a little bit like London. Parking is at a premium and very expensive. What should I pull up in front of?Introducing Wolflung…and Tim Craig on Cajon and Will on Guitar. Watch this
I couldn’t contain myself…I had to jump out and join them. Busking is a fun business…I’ve never done it before…but I’ll tell ya..singing for your supper may be a hard gig…but it is a pure art form. These guys were gracious (and talented) enough to let me take to their makeshift stage. Can you believe, they had only met on this day!!! I’m being serious. I was really fortuitous to catch this moment. It really spoke to me about the spirit of artistry. The coming together of like minds and kindred spirits. Collaboration. Sharing. It was the perfect parting shot to an awesome day.
In fact Brighton…I’m really loving you. I’ll definitely be there more in the near future.
I can’t forget the drumming that I saw at the Dome earlier. I stepped out with two ladies I had met who had had their iconic photos taken. Dance teacher, Rosaria Garcia (@RosariaGracia) and one of her star pupils, Shardarae (@Shardarae). They had been doing some stuff for International Women’s Day, round the corner at Brighton’s Dome. Sharderae was due to perform her street dance again, and I wanted to see it. Sadly circumstance didn’t allow..but I did get to see this…What a brilliant day 🙂