Songs for Syria in London
That header photo shows Ali Keeler in the studio cutting his new album with the Al Firdaus Ensemble. My 2015 interview with Ali ran here under the headline 'Classical musician's brave journey from Mozart to Morisco', and tomorrow (Saturday 8th April) Ali and Al Firdaus play a Songs for Syria concert at London's Conway Hall to raise funds for the Al Khair Foundation. This Muslim NGO supports children in some of the worst-affected parts of war-torn Syria, a cause made poignantly relevant by the escalating violence there.
I would very much like to be at the concert; but, sadly, weekend engineering works on the Norwich-London to mainline that have been in place for the last 20 years, coupled with rapacious Easter holiday hotel prices in London makes this impossible. Those who have enjoyed industry jollies to Hamburg and who advocate solving London's concert attendance problem by spending £675 million on the Rattlephilharmonie should reflect on the following: London's moribund and costly public transport system* and penal hotel and restaurant prices mean it is cheaper and much more enjoyable for me to fly Ryanair Stansted to Fez and stay in a decent riad to hear Ali Keeler or Mozart in Morocco. But please don't let that deter those within striking distance of the Conway Hall from supporting this deserving cause. And - dream on - diverting just a little of the social media noise being generated by the Mahler symphony on the same night as part of the Southbank Centre's literally 'Beyond Belief' festival would help fill the Conway Hall and raise some desperately-needed funds.
* To add to the problems Southern Rail who operate many of the main routes into London has a strike on the day of Ali Keeler's concert. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.