As Londoners mourn the sad and tragic continuation of teenage killings in the Capital, the Metropolitan Black Police Association is urging the music industry to play its part in reducing the violence on our streets. The Association’s long running anti-violence campaign REVIVAL takes on a new twist this year as their ‘Celebration of Life’ concert convinces the Opera world to stand along side performers from reggae, pop, hip-hop, RnB and soca, all united in one voice that says ‘Stop the killing and start the healing’.
REVIVAL aims to bring communities together, united in the struggle to reduce and eradicate violent and drug-related crimes in our cities. REVIVAL supports and advises many communities on how to handle issues around violence and drugs, and the effects they have, especially amongst the young. The ‘CELEBRATION OF LIFE’ concert is one of the ways the BPA help and communicate the issues to the public, a great night of entertainment and music held during Black History Month in October.
Actor and comedian Curtis Walker will again host the show and introduce a great variety of music genres including reggae, hip hop, soca, soul, and opera. Curtis skilfully weaves the show together with his own brand of outrageously funny sketches and sombre messages of hope and peace for the Capital.
As the major international star gracing us with her illustrious presence, the Queen of Soca Alison Hinds is guaranteed to get everyone on their feet. Known for hits such as Roll It Gal, an anthem for young women to encourage them to have pride in themselves, and Love Affair, Alison Hinds music stormed the Caribbean scene in the late ’90s and her latest album Soca Queen has been a smash hit the world over. In a rare UK performance, she will be collaborating on stage with producer and fellow Barbadian Nicolas Brancker, the famed Caribbean jazz star and Grammy Award nominee.
Unforgettable tracks like Cuddly Toy and Family Man made Roachford one of Columbia Record’s biggest selling domestic acts. Influenced by everyone from Curtis Mayfield and Al Green to The Roots, D’Angelo and Jill Scott, Roachford’s formative years were also spent listening to Radio One, reggae and jazz. Lovers rock star Peter Hunnigale is one of the UK’s most respected and talented reggae artists. A DJ/Singer partnership was born from the notable success of “Raggamuffin girl” with Tippa Irie. It stole the number one position in the charts.
Also making a statement will be London based soul singer Tawiah who has recently toured with producer Mark Ronson. She attended the Brit School in Croydon which gave us Adele, Kate Nash, Leona Lewis and Katie Melua to name but a few. Time Out describe her as “nu-rave Rasta libertine, talks like she received instruction at the Fagin School of Enunciation for Girls, sings like Gabriel’s trumpet carrying the Good News the morning after the night before and walks like a woman who knows her time, finally, is now.”
Alex Wilson, well known on the UK music scene as a composer, arranger, pianist and educator, will be curating an exclusive performance of music composed by Ignatius Sancho. Opera lends its voice to peace for the first time in the history of the concert. Sancho was born in 1729 on a slave ship headed from Africa to the West Indies, but was brought by his owner to London as an orphan at the age of two. Self-educated, he was an accomplished writer and composer and the first African in Britain to vote and be published for his works. His beautiful operatic arias have been re-arranged by Wilson to offer a unique contemporary perspective into the musical mind of this hugely inspirational and influential figure in black British history.
Singer, multi instrumentalist & DJ, Bishi was born in Earl’s Court to a Bengali musical family; her mother is an EMI signed artist to this day. She is a student of the sitar at The Ravi Shankar School for Music and has a passion for English & East European folk, progressive pop & electronica, recently collaborating with the London Symphony Orchestra for an eclectic and thrilling performance at LSO St. Luke’s. Her album Nights At The Circus has been critically acclaimed and she has been nominated for this year’s South Bank Show Awards – the ‘Times Breakthrough Award’.
The Pearl Of Africa Choir will perform as part of their special tour to raise money in aid of orphanages in their native Uganda, singing uplifting and heart-stirring gospel. The group are a UK-based charity whose purpose is to support the Molly and Paul Childcare Foundation in Uganda, an organisation set up 25 years ago to build homes and schools for orphaned and destitute children. To date, the foundation has set up eight schools with a total of more than 2,600 pupils.
A section of the night’s proceedings will be dedicated to marking the 40th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King.
All the acts performing on the night will be backed by the superb talents of the Lifeforce Band, who have accompanied the esteemed likes of Caron Wheeler, the London Community Gospel Choir, Omar, Nate James and many others. And in the spirit of universal inclusion and community inherent throughout the evening, the entire concert will also be signed in British Sign Language by Hetty May Bailey.