Arriving at the airport and discovering all three flights we were waiting for were delayed didn’t even make a mark of disappointment on the blanket of excitement we had in waiting to welcome our international artists to Manchester. Octopizzo from Kenya first, then Ramy El Fass from Egypt followed by Alesh from the DRC. All looking fabulous – I barely look that fresh after a 20 minute bus ride never mind a 20 hour flight.
Their digs for the next two weeks: student halls in the heart of the student area of Manchester; no students there during the summer but I’ve no doubt they’ll be filling the streets with their music by the end of the next two weeks.
We were delighted to be joined by Helen Parker-Jayne, better known as Venus Bushfires (Nigeria/UK) and Raj Veer, a local musician from Didsbury, Manchester with roots in India and beyond; an incredible musician who also knew the way to the best shisha place in town…
Over the next 24 hours we started to get to know each other, eat, drink, talk laugh and see the sites – Rusholme and the infamous Curry Mile, alternative cultural space Islington Mill, and of course the obligatory trip to Manchester United.
The only thing that was yet to come? THE MUSIC.
And so, onto Sheffield, the road, and the first jam sessions….