Online concert for two Lancaster charities

Global Link concert. Ben Farmer.Global Link concert. Ben Farmer.
Global Link concert. Ben Farmer.
Halton Mill in partnership with the Gregson and Global Link is hosting an online charity concert that will take you from the UK to the Caribbean via Ireland, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Aiming to “tell the story of immigration to the UK through English, Irish, Klezmer, Caribbean and Syrian music, song and dance”, thirteen performers are involved in putting together this, the second in the “Musical Journeys” series.

An evening concert is preceded by optional dance workshops from a variety of cultures in the afternoon - the organisers hope that this will encourage participants to get up and dance during the concert.

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The evening will start with a medley of English tunes with our Lancaster musicians Jane Lawrence - fiddle and piano - and Ben Farmer on accordions and melodeon, followed by an Irish set from Bev Whelan, award winning Irish flautist and dancer.

Global Link concert. Phil Kaila.Global Link concert. Phil Kaila.
Global Link concert. Phil Kaila.

Next is a set of Klezmer tunes, the music from the Ashkenazi Jewish community of Eastern Europe, with Sian Phillips on accordion and kaval, Paul Sherwood on clarinet and Jane Lawrence on fiddle.

Then Zena Taylor, acclaimed Manchester-based Gospel soloist, will take us on a singing tour of the Caribbean - with a range of gospel, Reggae, Calypso and call-and-response songs.

After that virtuoso viola player Raghad Haddad will take us on a ‘musical journey’ around Syria and neighbouring Arabic countries.

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And finally there'll be a free Caribbean dance party on Facebook Live for everyone, led by Preston’s award winning dancer and dance teacher “Uncle Phil” (Phil Kaila).

Global Link concert. Raghad Haddad.Global Link concert. Raghad Haddad.
Global Link concert. Raghad Haddad.

The afternoon dance workshops cover: Irish set dancing with Bev Whelan, Lancashire Clog dancing with Georgia Shorrock, Klezmer dance with Fiona Frank, Caribbean dance with “Uncle Phil”, and traditional ‘Dabke’ Syrian dance plus other ways of improvising to Arabic traditional music, with Berlin based dancer Medhat Aldaabal, accompanied by percussionist Ali Hassan.

Medhat will also be teaching some ways of moving your body to Arabic music even if you don't want to get out of your chair - great for people with limited mobility, and for those of us who seem to have spent the last year in our chairs at home.

During the evening dancers will be spotlighted ‘on stage’ encouraging the audience to get up off their feet and join in the dance from their living rooms.

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The event is open to all, with tickets at £10 (standard) £2.50 (concession), £25 (supporter) and free to refugees and asylum seekers, and others with limited resources.

Proceeds will go to pay the performers, who have lost all their live performance work during the pandemic - and also to support two Lancaster charities: Global Link, to support their vision of a new centre for refugees and asylum seekers in the city, and A.C.E. (Achieve Change and Engagement), a charity which supports young people in the Lancaster and Morecambe area who are struggling with mental health.

200 people attended the first Musical Journeys concert, which went out on January 2, raising over £1800 for Global Link after paying the musicians. Organiser Fiona Frank brought together the four Lancaster musicians with Raghad Haddad, a Syrian musician now based in Birmingham.

You can see a highlight of that concert, a magical collaborative performance of the arabic tune ‘Lamma Bada Yatathanna’, here: .

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Many of those attending asked for more, and this is the result. There’s now an organising committee of six - definitely needed for such an ambitious event.

Hosted by Halton Mill in partnership with Global Link, The Gregson, and Folkus.

Musical Journeys 2 is on Sunday February 21. The concert with dancing is from 7.30pm-10pm. Dance workshops are from 1.30pm-5.30pm.

Book online at