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Firefly Gala 2015

Firefly Gala St Paul’s Covent Garden

The Firefly 2015 Gala fundraising Concert was held at St Paul’s, the Actors Church, on 24th November and featured a cultural fusion of Balkan, Middle Eastern and Western Music to reflect Firefly’s overseas work with young people living in conflict and post-conflict zones.

A cold November evening in Covent Garden was transformed into a magical Arabian Night with stunning Moroccan lanterns donated by iPower Cordless Lighting and delicious Beirut street food generously provided by Yalla Yalla, Hummus Bros Levantine Kitchen and Middle Eastern sweet pastries donated by food writer, Sally Butcher, of Persepolis. During the pre-concert reception guests also enjoyed wine and Firefly Revitalising Juice Drinks with pomegranate & elderflower and kiwi, mint & lime.

The event commenced with a rousing performance of Balkan Folk Music with internationally acclaimed singer and guitarist Tea Hodzic from Bosnia and Lis Murphy who volunteered for Firefly as a student in 1999, which inspired Lis to live and work in Mostar and later to set up her own charity Music Action International. Firefly was especially delighted that Roxanne Scott (featured in the last issue of our Newsletter) performed her own composition “Sama Nablus” inspired by her time spent as a Music Volunteer at Project Hope in Palestine. Roxanne was accompanied by Kate Hayes and RosieRawstron. The Middle Eastern theme continued with “Songs from Syria” by Rabeea Anka (vocals) who has recently arrived in the UK and is studying a Masters at SOAS University, researching the history of the vocal music traditions of Syria. He was accompanied by Francesco Iannuzzelli, oud soloist and tutor at the London based, Taqasim Middle Eastern Music  School.

Firefly is especially delighted that the event included two very special guest appearances representing the Bosnian Supplementary School in London.   Kenza Goya Stamselberg (aged 10), enchanted the audience with her violin performance of the theme music to “Schindler’s List”, accompanied by James Bester on piano. Three generations of the family Bašić performed Sevdalinka with grandmother Nasiha singing alongside, her son Mirza (also on accordion) & her grandson Ernad, demonstrating how this wonderful music is passed from generation to generation.   The event was brought to a harmonious close with an a cappella performance by Over the Bridge, widely acclaimed as the University of Cambridge’s most entertaining close harmony group.

Special thanks to Rev Simon Grigg and Charles Grant, St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, Alex Rayment and Emma for donating the graphic design, Lucy Temple for permission to feature her Islamic inspired artwork, The Gallery Print Centre for donating printing of the ticket application forms, The London Print Centre for printing the tickets and Orange for the programmes.   And finally special thanks to Robert & Tess Salter, Fran Synge Clark, Emily Keen, Helen Patuck and, above all, Augusta Higson for their invaluable help in so many ways.

The event raised £10,000 towards Firefly’s overseas aid projects and partners, and was organised by Patzi Shepperson.

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