With a second year of popular events, activities and well attended workshops at the CultureMix Centre, 2023 brought new ideas, refreshing changes and a keen focus on major projects.
Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra continues to influence as the CultureMix Arts cornerstone project with four tutors delivering year round weekly curriculum music lessons and clubs to nine hundred children and young people at fourteen schools across Berkshire.
Orchestra performances took place at Forbury Fiesta, to celebrate the Kings Coronation, Reading Food Festival, Waterfest, The Windrush Festival in Palmer Park, as well as the RASPO Windrush celebration and the newly launched CultureMix Arts Black History Month Festival at the Centre.
RASPO ensemble also performed at weddings and private parties, and hosted corporate team building events across the sector.
Carnival of the World delivered a spectacular show for the annual August celebration of cultural diversity featuring a live music stage and the Broad Street Parade. With fabulous costumes from Mahogany Mas (supported by Reading Environmental Development Agency REDA), and live stage performances from RASPO Steel Orchestra, reggae singer Earl 16, RnB Indie artist ACE Clvrk, dancehall artist Ricardo Rawal compered by reggae artist Rafeelya.
Reggae Collective sessions led by Don Chandler ran from June to September with the popular monthly Reggae Fridays featuring a host of guest artists including Tippa Irie, Horseman, Musical Youth front man Dennis Seaton, Jnr Watson, Mikey General, Soothsayers, with a surprise guest appearance from Bob Marley guitarist Junior Marvin and a homage to Dennis Brown and John Holt with singers Wayne Hernandez and Delroy Pinnock.
Following Don Chandler’s resignation in October CultureMix Arts wishes him well in his future ventures and appreciated his fabulous work showcasing live reggae music at the Centre. A new refreshed Reading Reggae Collective will continue in 2024 so keep an eye out for more details.
A CultureMix Arts partnership with South London based Youthsayers introduced young people aged 12-16 in Reading to a free four day intensive Jazz Reggae and Afrobeat course. Led by Youthsayers founders trumpeter Robin Hopcraft and saxophonist Idris Rahman the well attended course culminated in a live performance followed by weekly sessions from September to December to establish a youth jazz ensemble to continue in 2024.
RASPO provided music for an online advent calendar (12 Dec) for The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM). View calendar here. The Creative Business Hub continues to provide business support and guidance to the creative community through local authority partnerships.
CultureMix Arts accepted an invitation from British Underground to attend WOMEX 23 in A Coruña Spain following a recommendation from Arts Council England for the Horizons Connect @ WOMEX 2023 bursary programme to experience the annual Worldwide Music Expo and prepare a contribution to WOMEX 24 in Manchester.
Many thanks to the Board for expertise and guidance, for the investment from Arts Council England alongside local support. A big thank you to our audiences and participants and to our amazing team for delivering an exciting and unique Black cultural programme.
CultureMix Arts continues to advocate Black culture through music and the arts with a focus on major projects for 2024.