Stella Chiweshe

Mystic Sounds from Inner Space

STELLA CHIWESHE at Just Festival Westminster

Thursday, June 18, 2015
St Mary le Strand
136 Strand London, WC2R 1HH United Kingdom

Stella Rambisai Chiweshe is known The Queen of Mbira Music from Zimbabwe. In this rare London gig as part of a short UK tour celebrating Refugee Week ( produced in association with Platforma ( and Konimusic ( Stella will play and sing a range of her best loved songs.

Stella’s long solo career has established her as one of the most original artists on the contemporary African scene, using popular music to show the depth and power of her traditional spiritual music at home and abroad.

Stella“Stella’s repertoire stretches from straight classical pieces to bubbly uptempo jigs. The mbira ripples and chimes like a xylophone.”
— Roots

“Her expert mbira playing is matched only by her pained vocals which are always given a full-throated delivery that achieves an exhilarating intensity”
— Blue Juice

Refugee Week at Southbank Centre

Refugee Week Southbank Centre:

Monday 15th June to Sunday 21st June

Counterpoints Arts and Southbank Centre celebrate Refugee Week UK


Counterpoints Arts, in partnership with Southbank Centre, marks this year’s Refugee Week and World Refugee Day with a series of events highlighting the many contributions refugees make in the UK.

The programme is delivered in partnership with Counterpoints Arts, with contributions from a number of organisations including Music Action International, Cultural Cooperation, Gatwick Detainee Support Group with Refugee Tales, and a number of choirs for Big Sing.

Join us for a week packed with live performances, workshops, drop in activities and opportunities to get involved.

Josephine 5On 20th June we will host a special performance bringing together singer-songwriter Josephine Oniyama and members of the UK-based Heritage Survival Band from Harare, Zimbabwe.

Since her early days of circuiting Manchester’s live music venues with her guitar in hand, Josephine has carved a strong reputation with her critically acclaimed album ‘Portrait’ in 2012. She has toured internationally and shared a stage with artists like Paloma Faith and Paulo Nutini. Described by the Times as having a Grace Jones-like hint of Jamaican to her voice and a hypnotic way with precisely phrased poetry”, Josephine’s candid soulful vocals draw upon a truly global palette including her Liberian and Jamaican heritage, citing artists like Sister Rosetta Tharpe, King Sunny Ade, Fela Kuti and Joni Mitchell as influences.

“I am pleased to support the Celebrating Sanctuary London Festival this year for Refugee Week. It’s given me an opportunity to work and share experiences with the talented musicians, Zee and Norman from the Heritage Survival Band. In our performance at the South Bank I will be adding my voice to the many who recognise the importance of providing ‘sanctuary’ and the contributions that refugees make to our cultural landscape.” Josephine Oniyama

Josephine will be joined onstage by Zee Guveya and Norman ‘Jekanyika’ Muza from The Heritage Survival Band – one of the most prolific Zimbabwean acts in the UK, whose members have performed with great Zimbabwean music legends such as Dr Thomas Mapfumo and Oliver Mutukudzi. Formed and based in Greater Manchester they combine infectious rhythms made to make you dance, with Afro Jazz and traditional Mbira influences. Within their lyrics they explore social justice themes such as war and poverty as well as ‘life and love’. The multi-instrumentalists will be bringing guitar, vocals, mbira, and bass to the mix.

To celebrate the World Refugee Day on the 20th June we will host national organisations who offer support and services to refugees in this country. They include UNHCR, Refugee Council, Amnesty International, British Red Cross, Freedom From Torture, Refugee Action, Migrant Help and others. These organisations will present interactive ways of learning about their work here and around the world.


Stalls and food

Celebrating Sanctuary London on the South Bank 15 June brings you food stalls and information & activities from our partners


Refugee Week
Refugee Council
Refugee Action
Amnesty Lambeth
Refugee Youth Project
Newham Books
Migrant Help
Student Action for Refugees: STAR
Migrant Resource Centre
British Red Cross

Mazí Mas

mazi mas1

Mazí Mas is a roaming restaurant that showcases the culinary talents and diverse cultural heritages of migrant women in London. ‘Mazí Mas’ means ‘with us’ in Greek, and creates a space in which long-term unemployed and socially marginalised women can open their own restaurant, an unrealised dream for many. Our aims are to give women an independent income, to develop their culinary skills in a professional setting, to reduce the social isolation that many of them experience, and to preserve their recipes and diverse cultural heritages. We work with women who have been out of the labor market for many years and therefore find it exceedingly difficult to find work, let alone work that is fulfilling and promotes a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. Mazí Mas believes that we have much to learn from the experiences of refugee and migrant women about thrift, sustainability, slow food, and making things by hand. We seek to recognize and reward their skills and expertise, and to build networks that will encourage and support them to start their own food businesses or women-led food cooperatives.

Just Bread London

just bread rolling dough

Refugee women need a space and an environment where they are no longer isolated; where they can meet other refugee women; learn new skills; share their knowledge; eventually find employment, and start to rebuild their lives in the UK. At Just Bread London, we have created that space.

We are helping refugee women find a path to employment through bread making by giving them the skills they need to seek work as accomplished artisan bakers. We provide practical instruction encompassing both baking and employability skills development, as well as logistical and moral support to enable our trainees to build independent lives in the UK.

Join our Kickstarter campaign & get exclusive rewards!

You can now join our Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to support our musical collaborations, and get exclusive rewards. Full details:

At our free Celebrating Sanctuary London festival event on the South Bank on 15th June, one of the highlights will be musical collaborations. Through the Platforma Arts & Refugees network we’ve paired Anglo-Polish singer-songwriter Katy Carr with Ethiopian-born Haymanot Tesfa (both pictured above) and Jewan Mohammad, a Syrian Kurdish instrumentalist living in Newcastle with a well known perfomer to be announced soon. We hope the collaborations will produce wonderful, surprising and beautiful music. And we want them to help bring the work of these artists from refugee backgrounds to a wider mainstream audience.

If you share our passion for this goal, then  you can join our Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign and get exclusive rewards.

Reem Kelani – BFI, 19 June


We are big supporters of Reem Kelani and are extremely proud that she is performing at our reception at the BFI (Blue Room) following the screening of A World Not Ours. She will be accompanied by Bruno Heinen on piano.

Reem is a Palestinian singer, musician and musicologist who was born in England, brought up in Kuwait and now lives in London. Working in the Diaspora, Reem has introduced countless non-Arab musicians to Arabic and Palestinian music, as has she pioneered the introduction of Arabic song in schools across the UK.

She has led major tours with her band to Syria (in 2007 and 2009), Turkey (2009), China (2010 and 2011), and Seattle (in 2008 and 2013). Most recently, Reem gave a joint concert in Istanbul in April 2014 with the Turkish collective Kardes Turkuler and she performed as a soloist with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and a choir of 250 in May. Her performance in Norway was described by the Financial Times as “searingly beautiful”.

Reem is bi-lingual and bi-cultural, appealing equally to Arab and non-Arab audiences. She combines musicality, meticulous field research, a mastery of the Arabic language and adherence to the conventions of classical Arabic singing, with her own Jazz inflected arrangements.

Reem is also known for her work as a broadcaster. In 2012, Radio 4 broadcast ‘Songs for Tahrir’ about her experiences in Cairo during the revolution in 2011. Reem’s earlier Radio 4 series ‘Distant Chords’ led to new interest in the music of migrant communities in the UK.