2018 CultureMix Review

Dani Richardson RIP - RASPO set list written on palm of hand for CultureMix Arts booking.

A momentous first year as an ACE NPO with an international collaboration, Carnival of the World, The Steel Band Festival, TV, and a sad farewell.

CultureMix kicked off 2018 starting the first year as an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation (ACE NPO) with four years of investment helping to raise standards and reach out to new audiences.

Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra won joint 4th place in the UK Steel Band Championships; and appeared on national television for BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

CultureMix Music Centre
The CultureMix Music Centre continued with the popular beginner Bootcamp sessions where all ages can learn about the music and culture of the steel pan musical instrument at Reading College. More

CultureMix launched lessons in drum kit, bass guitar, percussion and more as well as seminars and talks on accessing the music industry and how to set up a band. More here.

CultureMix Review 2018 – an amazing year in 3 minutes. Dedicated to Dani Richardson.

RASPO Steel Orchestra
The award winning steel band entertained at parties, weddings, and outdoor events including Reading Half Marathon, Waterfest, Reading on Thames Festival, and Readipop Festival. At Reading Carnival RASPO hosted a performance and steel pan music workshop marquee.

RASPO entered the National UK Steel Band Championships also known as Panorama as part of the international collaboration with Ylê D’Egbá winning joint fourth place in the prestigious event. More

RASPO perform Calling Meh for the Notting Hill Carnival UK National Steel Band Championships

RASPO released a fourth CD ‘Festive Favourites’ featuring Caribbean style calypso and reggae Christmas carols.  Launched at the Calypso and Carols fundraising concerts in Reading CD sales and donations continue to fund the vital free places at music workshops.

The year rounded off with an appearance at The BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards in Birmingham live to an audience of 12,000 with nine million watching on  TV. More

RASPO performs at BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018

An international collaboration between Ylê D’Egbá and RASPO combined Afro Brazilian percussion (afoxé) with steel pan music (calypso) for Carnival of the World.  The production launched in Reading with a live music stage and the Broad Street Parade inspired by artistic director Mary Genis’s previous trips to Brazil and Sri Lanka.

Made possible by the ACE NPO investment CultureMix worked with Pax Nindi of Global Carnivalz to welcome master Afoxé percussionist Dito D’Oxossi and his group Ylê D’Egbá to England.  The project was a major success with percussion masterclasses, carnival costume workshops and performances in Reading and at Panorama and London Notting Hill Carnival. More

That’s TV finds out more about the work of CultureMix Arts and RASPO

Our schools education programme continues to thrive in partnership with music hubs delivering music for both weekly curriculum and clubs to seven hundred children a week at fifteen primary and secondary schools across Berkshire and Hampshire.  More

The programme culminated in a Hexagon Theatre performance uniting all the schools at The Steel Band Festival to celebrate the joys of playing in an orchestra.

Team Building workshops with corporate companies like NHS Trust  provided unforgettable group activities that unify staff and teams from different departments. More

Carnival of the World
Carnival of the World returned to Reading for the third year with Pax Nindi as compere and programmer. The event featured live performances from Ylê D’Egbá, UK Calypso artist Trini Boi Joocie, afro wave artist Childish, and the highlight of the event the Broad Street Parade featuring dancers, percussionists and masqueraders with parasols and flags. More

ITV visits RASPO in Reading UK to report on the international collaboration with Brazil’s Ylê D’Egbá.

Peace and Love Concert
Earlier in the year Reggae artist Junior Watson launched his first album ‘Nadah’ with IYA Rebels at The Peace and Love Concert in the Purple Turtle Bar Reading.

Professional Development
Nathifa Jordan completed her first year as full time Business and Administration Manager bringing a wealth of expertise enabling growth and building capacity.  She attended a Clore Short Course – a two-week residential providing intensive training in the essential knowledge and skills required by cultural leaders today.   More

Paul Jr Watson is now one of the leading steel pan tuners in the UK.  He mentors and supports aspiring pan players and musicians inspiring and enabling them to develop their skills.

Jamah Lynam continues as a Music Tutor and Youth Ambassador with more experience from teaching weekly at eight primary schools in Reading and West Berkshire. More

In September Grammy award winning musician and educator Don Chandler returned to CultureMix to help talented artistes access the music industry. More

Promo for RASPO’s fourth CD release for Christmas ‘Festive Favourites’.

RASPO performed two Calypso and Carols concerts raising money to maintain free places for young people to learn steel pan. More

Awards, Membership and Media
Mary attended the Reading Cultural Awards in response for nominations for CultureMix in the cultural organisation category and RASPO for the cultural ambassador award.

Mary continues her voluntary board trustee work with the Museums Partnership Reading (MERL), Jelly,  as chair of Refocus and for Carnival Village Trust (CVT) now responsible for the running of London Notting Hill Carnival.

Farewell to Dani Richardson
Our cherished Head of Music Dani Richardson suddenly and sadly passed away at the end of August.  His exemplary contribution to RASPO’s development over the last twelve years and his positive influence on all those to whom he taught music leaves an indelible legacy on us all strengthening the vision for CultureMix as a leading music organisation.

Click here to read ‘My Musical Journey’ in Dani’s own words.
Feature image (top) of RASPO set list written on Dani’s hand.

A film made for Reading UK by BBC Radio Berkshire about Reading’s cultural scene from 2016 to 2018 features Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra and the launch of CultureMix Carnival of the World.