Sunday, March 13

Rebel Muzik Click for more info

Am I really writing this post? I have to say it seems pretty surreal - after all it's been over six years since the last Rebel Muzik and most regular attendees had made their peace with its transiency: in fact that was almost what made it all so so good. I didn't even really believe that it was back at first: perhaps some hipster upstart was trying to be original or something... after all it was being hosted at the Rich Mix. They were even selling tickets in advance for heaven's sake.

But no, it turns out that this was the Rebel Muzik we all knew and loved... and yet it was also very different. The new location was the most visible difference, with the more grand stage and space losing some of the intimacy you'd have found way back in the Inn On The Green. Most of the old faces we all knew and loved were there, but joined with a more fresh crowd - a show of hands put us who had previously attended Rebel in a clear minority. The stalls were more elaborate and varied - but it was criminal to have no halal chicken pies. So yes, different but the same.

But it was the performances that immediately threw us back to the old times. The proceedings opened up with a screening of Hip Hop Hijabis, a mini documentary that provided an insight into the life of Poetic Pilgrimage. This was followed by the open mic, which as always both impressed (with the sheer talent of this so called amateurs) and depressed (with the realisation of exactly how talentless I am myself).

And then it was the featured artists.

First up was the both-inside-and-out-beautiful Rukeia who blew us away with her acoustic soul haunting sound. We were then treated to some classic yet still relevant spoken word courtesy of Amen Noir. Amen was followed by a set by Poetic Pilgrimage themselves (accompanied by the adhoc band "Soul Brothers", because, well, that's how Rebel Muzik rolls) which as always was worth the entry fee alone - and this was when I finally accepted that Rebel Muzik was back. I'm grinning just writing about them.

The evening was rounded up by the most wonderful Son of Ee whose effortless performance honestly left me wondering how the heck talent shows like the X-Factor even exist. Liza Garza was up next for some more spoken word and then finally we (well, those of us who remained anyway - the Rebel Muzik crowd obviously need warming up before the next event) were treated to a few hip hop tracks by Shay D.

All in all it was a brilliant night out, in vibe and effect if not scope and exposure. To be frank in a landscape of pretty safe and totally unradical (DYSWIDT?) corporate sponsored cultural roadshows it's equally refreshing and vital to have a deeper level of conversation when it comes to the almost hijacked and agenda laden topics of Islam, the environment, spirituality and social commentary. I'm so glad that Rebel Muzik is back and I look forward to all the shows, support and engagement to come.

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