Turkish Cypriot dancer set to perform at the London International Arts Festival

Turkish Cypriot dancer Ozgen will be performing in the final concert of the London International Arts Festival (LIAF). He is one of 14 acts from around the world that will take to the stage in a series of six concerts hosted at Redbridge Town Hall, East London, between 10 and 12 August 2012. The master Folk, Oriental and Romany dancer from Guzelyurt, North Cyprus, joins an eclectic line-up of artists specialising in Classical, Folk, Jazz, Ethnic and Popular music and dance. They include legendary Indian vocalist Dr. Balamuralikrishna, Serbian Jazz band EYOT, Mexican fusionists La Internationale Sonora Balkanera, English Folk singer Anja McCloskey, and Indian ballet troupe Vipanchee.

Ozgen returns to London for the festival following a three month residency in Madrid and before he starts a tour of North and South America in September. The renowned dancer will perform a 45 minute set for LIAF’s Evening Show on Sunday 12 August. Also featuring in the Evening show is Grammy nominated Robert Atchison and his classical string trio The Ormesby Ensemble, and India’s Pushkala Gopal Dance Group performing Bharatanatyam (the classical dance of Tamil Nadu). Mexican band La Internacional Sonora Balkanera close the concert with their carnival of sounds, fusing Latin music with Balkan beats. Doors to the Sunday Evening show open at 17.30. Tickets are priced from £8-15, available from the LIAF website and on the door.

Organised by Dhruv Arts, LIAF is new annual diversity festival that provides a platform for arts and culture rarely seen in the capital outside of their own ethnic communities. 1,800 artists applied to perform at LIAF, which was whittled down to just 14 acts from India, Mexico, North Cyprus/Turkey, Serbia, the UK & the USA. There’s also four workshops on Saturday 11 August covering Indian drumming, Bollywood Hungama (singing/playing), the traditional music of Vojvodina (part of former Yugoslavia), and Mexican traditional music.

LIAF’s live performances are all ticketed and will be staged in the Main Hall at the Grade II listed Redbridge Town Hall, which is located in the main shopping precinct in Ilford, East London. The public has free access to the downstairs Lambourne Room throughout the weekend, which will house indoor stalls, delicious Asian cuisine and a wide selection of beverages. The Vine Church Hall in nearby Holstock Road will be hosting the four workshops on Saturday 11 August.

BBC presenter DJ Ritu is compering LIAF 2012. Here’s her quick guide to the festival:

Friday 10 August 2012 – Matinee concert

  • Carnatica Brothers – renowned record-breaking vocal duo deliver “a delightful cascade of Carnatic [South Indian classical] music”.
  • Dhruv Ensemble – London-based South Indian youth orchestra

Friday 10 August 2012 – Evening concert

  • EYOT – Worthy winners of this year’s Cannes’ MIDEM OFF, this critically acclaimed “post-Nirvana Fusion Jazz quartet” are incredible live with their intoxicating brand of Eastern Jazz.
  • Anja McCloskey – “sultry folk, like a Romany gypsy cabaret show”, Anja’s rich indie-folk music has a modern edge, melodically expressing emotions from angry to a playful parody of love.

 Saturday 11 August – Workshops

  • Indian drumming & percussion – by Bangalore RN Prakash, 10.00-10.45
  • Bollywood Hungama – singing/playing with Shadrach Solomon, 11.00-11.45
  • Traditional music of Vojvodina – with Chris Haigh and Viktor Obsust, 12.00-12.45
  • Mexican traditional music – with Bruno Bartra, 13.00-13.45

 Saturday 11 August – Matinee concert

  •  Prakash Sontakke – “slide guitar master improvises on Indian tradition with bluesy chords and jazz-tinged notes”. Expect a world first at LIAF as he performs Indian classical on a Weissenborn.
  • Shyamala Ramakrishna and Hariharan Ravi – the rising stars of American Carnatic music.

Saturday 11 August – Evening concert

  • Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna – a living legend & maestro of Carnatic music, Dr BMK is loved across India for his mesmerising voice.
  • Jyotsna Srikanth Project – bringing fusion to the fore, violin virtuoso Jyotsna and her eclectic band add elements of Jazz, Irish Folk, Blues, and Indian classical music to create a very unique sound.

 Sunday 12 August – Matinee concert

  •  “Rabindranjali” Indian ballet – a tribute to Nobel Laureaute Rabindranath Tagore, this stunning new work makes its UK premiere at LIAF.
  • Dr.Suma Sudhindra – master Veena player blends classical conservatism with innovation.

Sunday 12 August – Evening concert

  • La Internacional Sonora Balkanera – expect a carnival of sounds as Latin music meets Balkan beats from this South American festival favourite that will close LIAF 2012.
  • The Ormesby Ensemble – Grammy nominated ‘national treasure’ Robert Atchison leads a masterful classical string trio.
  • Ozgen – internationally renowned master Turkish Romany and Oriental dancer.
  • Pushkala Gopal Dance Group – delightful, energetic dancers fusing modernity and tradition in their Sankalita production to bring life to Bharatanatyam – the classical dance of Tamil Nadu.

Individual concert tickets start from £8, with day and weekend passes, and concessions for students, the elderly and families also available. Entrance to each workshop is £5, with each one lasting 45 minutes. For more information about the festival and to buy advance tickets, visit www.liaf.co.uk or www.facebook.com/dhruvaliaf . Tickets will also be available on the door.

This year’s festival sponsors and supporters include the Arts Council, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, the Nehru Centre, Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes” (Mexico’s National Endowment for the Arts), the London Borough of Redbridge, Barclays Bank, B4U Music, Darbar, and Here & Now.

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