Ray Angry is a classically trained pianist, producer, musical director and one of the most sought after artists today. Aside from his documented talents, he’s a very unassuming, respectful and admirable individual, which I’m sure is an attraction for the plethora of acts who have worked with him. Ray’s first-class resume features collaborations with Jeff Beck, Wynton Marsalis, Mark Ronson, Q-Tip, Yolanda Adams, Daniel Winans, Joss Stone, Sting, Me’Shell Ndegéocello, Esperanza Spalding, Dionne Warwick, Dianne Reeves, Queen Latifah, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Kelis, Christina Aguilera and ongoing associates The Roots. Currently, in London, we managed to catch up to discuss his current residency, initiatives and future projects. The full interview is available via Occhi Magazine
Richie Goods is someone who comes to mind when I think of an artist who excels in the techniques of musicianship. Possessing an extremely professional and buoyant approach to his art, Richie Goods is a celebrated bassist, bandleader, and producer, who has worked with a plethora of universally recognized acts including Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera, and Alicia Keys.
His new album entitled ‘My Left Hand Man’ celebrates the legacy and compositional talents of his late mentor, Mulgrew Miller. It is an intoxicating collection of tracks that respectfully pay homage to Miller. Confidently fusing elements of jazz, blues, and funk, the album successfully delivers a broad-stroke of psychedelic sounds, solos, and memorable renditions delivered meticulously by a cohort of some of the finest musicians on the circuit. Featured artists include pianists Shedrick Mitchell and Mike King, guitarists Tariqh Akoni and David Rosenthal, Lil John Roberts on drums, vocalist Jean Baylor, vibraphonist Chien Chien Lu, and percussionist Danny Sadownick. The composition and musical arrangements are what we expect from an artist of Good’s standing, leaving it easy for me to recommend this to your record list. It was great catching up with Richie to discuss the album and his career in general. The full interview is available on the Occhi Magazine website.
Hi all! Trusting all is well with you and yours! The last few months have been eventful, working on new pieces, participating in the BEAT and exploring opportunities with a new US-based project. Moreover, I’m becoming more involved in Occhi Magazine’s management. We’ve covered a number of independent film releases, NY’s Comic-Con, and featured some truly gifted actors, singers and visual artists including Grammy Award-winning artist/producer Anu Sun, singer-songwriters Danielle Todd and Renee Wynter, and actress Kathy Kolla. If you are an artist or know of someone who should feature please let me know. It’s great sharing and supporting fresh talent!
For those unfamiliar with the magazine, we cover arts and entertainment, as well as fashion and beauty. It is a digital platform based in New York, with reporters in Arizona, California, Canada, Illinois, Ohio, and New York. I invite you to visit us at www.occhimagazine.com
Now the summer is coming to the end, I will no doubt spend more time painting in a warm studio. Of course, I’ll be happy to share the results with you! Have a great day all!
It’s always a pleasure to touch base with artists I’ve interviewed and can call friends to see what they’re currently up to. In 2012 I wrote a blog about the talented vocalist Nancy Goudinaki (aka Nancy G) and reviewed her first album entitled ‘I Wanna Be Your Star.’ I’m happy to say she’s been back in the studio, recording her second album. The first track to be released is ‘Ariadne’s Lullaby.’ Check out my recent interview with her for Occhi Magazine where she talks about the track and inspiration for the new album entitled ‘ I Can Play.’ Wishing you all a great day!
Trusting all is well with you and yours! As a Director and Trustee of OPEN Ealing, I’m happy to share news of the organisation’s new pop up shop in the heart of Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre.
OPEN Ealing was founded in July 2010 by a group of local artists and residents of the London borough of Ealing, with the support of local organisations such as Pathways, A2Dominion and community groups West Ealing Neighbours and Ealing Arts + Leisure. The aim is to provide cultural space and exciting arts programmes to the community by bringing artists, performers, art groups and residents together, promoting creativity, providing education and creating new opportunities. In recent years, OPEN Ealing has been looking for a new permanent physical space to call home. However, during the months of September and August, OPEN Ealing will host artwork and workshops by local artist at its pop up shop on Oak Road at the Entrance of the Shopping Centre. If you live in the Ealing area please drop by. For further information on OPEN Ealing and its future programmes please visit https://www.openealing.com
‘Children of the Snow Land’ is an extraordinarily moving, inspirational and absorbing documentary, filmed from the ‘roof of the world’ where families struggle and sacrifice everything to help their children.
From the age of 4 years old, children are sent to school in the city, hoping education means a better life. Unfortunately, this comes with the likelihood they will not see their parents and families again for 12 years. Children of the Snow Land documents the life experiences of children born in the High Himalayas of Nepal and follows the journey of three students as they embark on a perilous trek back to their respective villages.
One of the directors is Zara Balfour. Zara is an award-winning director, producer and writer with 18 years experience in all forms of documentary, film and content, specialising in films about the world we live in and people and cultures worldwide. She has filmed in over 20 countries, often documenting community projects in developing countries.
She began her career as an actress before moving behind the camera as producer and director. Zara set up Picture on the Wall Productions and has won awards at film festivals including Berlin Film Festival (winner of the Prix UIP for Best European Short Film), London Film Festival, European Film Awards, Telluride, Warp Records v Creative Review Awards and Cannes Lions. I was fortunate to catch up with her ahead of the film’s general release and ask a few questions.
What support did you get from the Nepalese Government or national agencies?
We didn’t ask for support in the beginning but the school organised a fundraising gala screening in Kathmandu after we completed the film. The Mayor of Kathmandu and the Vice President of Nepal attended. Now we have their support and we hope we can facilitate further fundraising events.
Was the filming of the documentary much of a logistical challenge?
The villages are off the grid. It was only ever two film crew plus a guide, porters and the children. Half the time it was me and co-director Marcus Stephenson or I was accompanied by our cameraman/photographer Mark Hakansson.
We used solar charger kits and backpacks, enabling us to film in difficult and remote areas. We did have porters and donkeys to aid our travel but the journey was treacherous. At times the donkeys would panic in the face of treacherous river crossings. All the rivers start in Nepal and head down towards southern Asia. Some of the dangerous moments aren’t on film and I am scared for the children going back home this year because they won’t be accompanied. It isn’t an easy journey and it’s tougher than it’s shown on film.
What about a sequel and is there anything you would do differently?
I would like to revisit the children in future to see how their lives have changed. Perhaps film them in a similar style to Michael Apted’s ‘Seven Up’ series, which followed the lives of fourteen British children since 1964. On a technical level, a bigger crew and more resources would have been nice.
So what are the next steps?
The documentary will be streaming on demand and on general release from 14thMarch 2019 at Curzon Cinemas in the UK, Ireland and Malta.
The aims of Children of the Snow Land are:
To show a global audience what some young people have to do for an education – and allow the Children of the Snow Land to inspire people around the world with their tenacity, grace, courage and wisdom.
To increase awareness and help improve the lives of Himalayan children attending school far from home by helping them to stay connected with their families, and to ensure they make full use of the education for which they have made such a sacrifice. The film has already inspired donations of over $30,000 to directly help the children.
To encourage development of the Himalayan villages so that eventually children won’t have to be separated from their families to achieve an education.
Last year I attended the Elizabeth James Gallery’s second anniversary event and met an extraordinarily talented, humble and interesting artist by the name of Andre Dane Parchment. Andre is originally from Jamaica where he studied printmaking, graphics and drawing. Showing entrepreneurial flare, he started an arts and graphic business but, after a particularly difficult period concluding in the loss of his business, he made significant changes in life, including migrating to the UK to become a British soldier deployed in Iraq.
Since becoming a civilian, he has exhibited at the London Battersea Affordable Art fair (exhibiting with the Army Art Society), Charlton House and the Canary Wharf Window Gallery. Andre kindly agreed to answer a few questions, share his ideas and tell me about his current projects. I’m genuinely excited for him and look forward to following his career. The full interview is featured on Occhi Magazine.
How did you get involved in the arts?
I got involved with the arts from an early age. Maybe it was the beautiful sceneries of the Caribbean island of Jamaica that squeeze the artistic juice out of me. In fourth grade, I would look out from the classroom sketching the sea, birds and fishermen boats passing inside my lesson book with my 2hb pencil. I then moved on to higher education at St. Elizabeth Technical High School specializing in the arts during the last three years of secondary schooling. It was art class that help to fund apart of my bus fare and school meals doing commission works when times were financially challenging.
You were in the armed forces. Can you share some of your experiences and did your art provide therapy during this time?
I served in the British Armed Forces for over six years. When I first joined it was a total culture shock, the treatment for Commonwealth soldiers were different in many ways even though we were all in the same army to protect and serve. But being an immigrant comes with its struggles and stigma, on the other hand it gave me great opportunities and experience which I have no regrets, for each trial encounter made me a better and stronger person.
I was deployed in Iraq in 2006 as an infantry soldier, served alongside other regiments and nationalities. We had near misses of mortar rounds exploding just a few feet away, snipers shooting at random to kill, the fear of not knowing when or if we would walk or drive on explosive devices that can either kill or cause fragmentation.
I wanted to find a distraction that would keep my mind occupied from what was happening in Iraq, something to build my morale on, this was where art became a therapy, in the midst of the madness of war It made me found peace, something beautiful amongst the devastation and destruction, art was my calming influence.
You’re currently working on a series of work and an accompanying publication. What’s the project and what we should expect?
I am writing a book with a series of paintings in accordance with the title Blind Vision Possible Dreams.
It is a semi-autobiography depicting memories of youthfulness, love, failures and success. In it, I am writing my dreams of being a songwriter, an author, and an artist having exhibitions in London and around the world. Secondly, I have also been inspired to write a number of short poems that will be illustrated through sketches. At present, a publisher is having a look at some of them, but I’m still not sure what form of publication I will be using.
For 2019 I will be hoping to have a book launch and art exhibitions which include a series of paintings titled Street Sleepers, with the aim to give back to charities that support the homeless.
What’s the motivation behind your current theme of work?
The motivation behind my current theme of work comes from wanting to view life from a different perspective through painting and writing, taking on new challenges that would help me grow and develop in order to encourage and motivate others not to limit themselves or live in the land of procrastination, but to be the best they can be.
You’re involved in local mentoring initiatives focusing on youth development. Are any of these related to the arts?
I do training and mentoring at my workplace a supervisor and at Refuge Temple in South East London, especially with young men. Apart of the mentoring and development I include art, music, and poetry, working with instruments and art materials that help them to be more creative and think differently, not to be conformed to the bad influence and negativity of their environment, but to try a make a positive change.