Sunday, 29 July 2007


Superstar artists such as Kelis, Jamelia, K'naan and one of Naija's finest – 2Face; graced the Rise festival with their presence at Finsbury Park.

For those of you who have had your eyes and ears glued to the ground, the Rise festival is a free anti-racist music event held every summer (since 2000) by the Mayor of London. The festival aims to stand against racism, fascism and promote London's diversity.

Other activities at the festival were a fair ground, children's play area and exhibitions (where you could get some freebies).

Not even the dodgy English weather could stop the thousands of people who came to watch the performances, eat some good food, enjoy the activities and the atmosphere whilst supporting a good cause on the 15th of July.

Along with the main Rise festival stage there were also six other stages which included an African Village stage (which saw the likes of 2Face), a Mela Stage (which exhibited Asian artists and culture) and an Underground Stage where unsigned artists could do their thang.

Unfortunately for me I didn't get to witness much of the other stages but what I did see at the main Rise stage was definitely worthwhile. Despite being in the pouring rain when the UK R&B hottie Jamelia began her performance, the crowd received her very well – jumping and bubbling whilst Jamelia sang her tunes which included her smash hits "Thank You" and "Superstar". Jamelia was lovely; I enjoyed her performance and judging from the crowd's cheers I'm sure they did too.

A shout out needs to go to the DJ (don't know his name - my bad) who played all the hot old school and new school jams, keeping us entertained in between performances; especially when Kelis was taking forever (don't worry she made it up to the festival goers in the end).

The boss Kelis was announced to come on stage TWICE – the second time was by Choice FM's tag team Kat and RB ("Ooh we love you RB, watch you everyday on MTV" - sorry I couldn't help myself) but still we were waiting for like a gazillion years. So when the eccentric singer finally came on stage, I was screwing but that didn't last long as my fowl mood was soon lifted by Kelis' hyped, refreshing and entertaining performance. After singing what felt like 50 songs that I wasn't familiar with, Kelis then sang all my tunes including "Bossy", "Lil Star", "Millionaire", "Trick Me" and "Milkshake" (at which point the crowd was sooooo crunked - Lil John would have been put to shame). Kelis is quite a performer - my girl was doing the tic toc, bum flicks and dropping it like it was hot; at one point I was questioning her sanity but I guess that's Kelis for you.

Sadly after Kelis' performance my legs had given up and I made my way home, without witnessing the Dustyfoot Philospher aka K'naan. However the Rise festival was still a nice event, if you missed out then that's a shame but there's always next year.

Saturday, 7 July 2007


As a lover of poetry and music immediately this event captured my interest when it was brought to my attention (thank you Jadine and Serena). Inspire is a weekly open mic night dedicated to the arts (poetry, rapping, singing, comedy, dancing – I'm sure you get the picture).

So Thursday evening the girls and I made our way to NIA Bar in Camberwell, showing up early of course (cause Doyin doesn't like standing and I wanted good seats) and yes we managed to get the BEST seats in the hizzhouse, right up front (thank you Floetic Lara)!!!!!

The NIA bar (formerly known as the Cube) is a great comfy setting (especially when you have such great seats); it was definitely a nice mellow vibe. The bar fitted in with my student price range (£1.50 for soft drinks you know) and so did the free entry; so it was all good.

Now as for the actual event, WOW…I was blown away. The hostesses Floetic Lara and Lyrical Healer were just amazing hitting us with the neo-soul flavours, they were so warm, welcoming and soooo talented. The performers were great and varied; there was deep poetry from Realitie, thought provoking Hip Hop from J The Exodus, a beautiful piece was played to us by Pipes with his flute and I can't remember anymore names but everyone was fabulous!

Inspirational is an understatement because this event more than inspired me, I was touched and moved beyond belief. Inspire gets 5 out of 5 stars from me, I will definitely be going again and if anyone wants to come down as well the info is below.

INSPIRE (FREE ENTRY) @ NIA BAR – 58 CAMBERWELL CHURCH STREET, LONDON SE5 and it starts at 7pm (for open mic sign up) or 8pm-11pm for the actual show and there's a DJ till late. Oh yeah remember it's on Thursdays and for more info here is Inspire's myspace