“My country is burning. As a native Ukrainian and a human being I can not be silent’’
Following devastating news that has touched the whole world – the crisis of the Ukrainian invasion – Alina Bzhezhinska’s words “my country is burning. As a native Ukrainian and a human being I can not be silent’’ demonstrate the powerful momentum behind her creating a benefit concert at break-neck speed next week at the Cockpit, London Sunday March 13th, 7:00pm. Bringing together waves of support and love from our jazz community – outstanding musicians and all involved donating their time for free.
All profits from the concert will be donated to charities who support Ukraine.
The benefit concert is led and brainstormed by international jazz harpist and Jazz FM Award Nominee Alina Bzhezhinska. The war situation touches Alina on a personal level as her family prepares for battle in West Ukraine, and as much as Alina would like to join them and fight with them, she must remain in the UK and use a different weapon – spreading the word of this crisis, gathering support, via her music.
There’s always a chance the rest of the world can start getting used to a war raging somewhere far away, but we are all directly connected and all our voices and support is needed now. Not only does Alina’s concert demonstrate solidarity and caring for all Ukrainians, but it also raises awareness of current events and how we can all contribute as a united voice together.
ConnectsMusic is calling for our music community to support and attend Alina’s benefit event, or if unable to attend to help spread the word: people can still donate money which will be directed to charities support for Ukraine and its people.
Jazz musicians and artists are coming together in London to raise money to help the people of Ukraine, currently under invasion by Russia.
Hosted by The Cockpit Theatre’s long-standing innovative music night, Jazz in the Round, Concert for Ukraine is the brainchild of international jazz harpist and Jazz FM Award Nominee Alina Bzhezhinska. Over a mere 12 hours, Ukrainian-born Alina has put together a thrilling line-up of musicians and artists. All proceeds from the event will go to charities (tbc) providing humanitarian support in Ukraine.
Speaking on her reasons for organising the concert, Alina says:
“My country is burning. As a native Ukrainian and a human being I can not be silent.
I wish I could go and fight alongside my family who are all in the resistance, but I have to stay where I am and use my music as my weapon. My mother told me I have to be strong for all Ukrainians and play my music for them to show solidarity and give my people some comfort and love.
I am very touched by the response from so many musicians, and of course from the Cockpit Theatre staff, who managed to work out everything in less than 12 hours to make this charity concert happen.
The lineup for the night is pretty amazing. We have classical musicians from Kharkiv Ukraine, jazz stars Tony Kofi, Neil Charles and Cleveland Watkiss, all supported by HipHarpCollective members Mikele Montolli, Adam Teixeira and Joel Prime; singers Niki King, Vimala Rowe and Jo Harrop, pianist GéNIA and many others.
I am very proud of my friends and family – and everywhere standing up against evil right now. Ukraine has always been a European country; it has amazing people, who only want to live in peace and harmony with the rest of the world. They were pushed to become great warriors, but they are musicians and artists, doctors and lawyers, housewives and teachers and all of them are now united against the aggressor who wants to kill democracy and freedom in their country. This concert is important for all of us as peace is so fragile at the moment and the world needs this – peace – the most.”
Cockpit Director Dave Wybrow said, “The Cockpit has a proud tradition of supporting anti-authoritarian endeavours – from our Dissdent Voices series to work featured in Voila!, our European Theatre festival. It is our pleasure – more importantly, duty as a venue devoted to ideas and disruptive panache – to do all we can to help Alina and the brave citizens of Ukraine in their struggle to resist the invader. We stand with Ukraine. We stand with all oppressed people against the forces of totalitarianism and its attendant mediocrities.”
Artists already signed up for CONCERT FOR UKRAINE:
Alina Bzhezhinska & HipHarpCollective
Undoubtedly one of the leading harpists in the world today, Alina Bzhezhinska is a one-woman powerhouse, on a mission to bring the harp to the fore of contemporary sound. A jazz harpist, composer, band leader and a founder of the digital platform HipHarpCollective, she’s also trying to remarket the harp in 2021. New album, REFLECTIONS out March 4th.
HIPHARPCOLLECTIVE are a collective of contemporary artists, professional music makers, producers and harp lovers who collaborate, collect and exchange information on contemporary harp development, and promote the harp with meetings, concerts and recordings.
A British Jazz multi-instrumentalist born of Ghanaian parents, Tony plays Alto, Baritone, Soprano and Tenor saxophones and the flute. He cut his teeth with the Jazz Warriors in the early 90’s, and has gone on to win Best Album and Best Instrumentalist at the BBC Jazz Awards, Best Ensemble at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards, The Black Achievers Cultural, Music and Arts Award, The Jack Petchey Foundation Award, and has also received a MOBO nomination.
One of London’s top female vocalists whose musical influences include jazz, soul and an eclectic mix of world music stemming from her time studying Hindustani Classical vocals in Nagpur India. Her EP ‘Vimala’, won her the 2008 Indy Music award for Best Soul, Jazz & Funk act, and her album ‘Out Of The Sky’ with John Etheridge was critics choice in both the Sunday Times and The Guardian.
Over the last half decade, Shabaka Hutchings has established himself as a central figure in the burgeoning London jazz scene. Hutchings has a restlessly creative and refreshingly open-minded spirit, playing in a variety of groups – most notably, Sons of Kemet, The Comet Is Coming, and Shabaka & the Ancestors – whilst also embracing influences from the sounds of London’s diverse club culture, including house, grime, jungle, and dub.
A virtuoso vocalist, actor and composer, Cleveland studied voice at the London School of Singing, and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He was one of the co-founders of the vastly influential Jazz Warriors big band, and was voted best vocalist for three consecutive years at the Wire/Guardian Jazz Awards.
An award winning singer and song-writer whose accolades include; winner of the prestigious UK Perrier Jazz Vocalist Award, The Scottish Style Award and The Spirit Of Scotland Music Medal.
Alex Webb is an experienced songwriter, arranger, pianist who for a large part of his career has worked in and around the music business. His songs have been performed by Charenee Wade, Allan Harris, Sandra Nkake, China Moses, Ian Shaw, Juliet Kelly, Jo Harrop, Ayanna Witter-Johnson and many others; they have been recorded by China Moses, Liane Carroll, David McAlmont, Alexander Stewart, Alexia Gardner, Mina Agossi, Gena West and more.
Raised on a heady musical diet of Nina Simone, Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin, Jo cut her teeth as a session singer, working with a host of iconic artists including Neil Diamond, Rod Stewart and Gloria Gaynor. The Guardian dubbed her album ‘Weathering The Storm’ “…a little gem of an album: simple, modest and perfect.”
Ex-Tomorrow’s Warrior and former member of Empirical, Neil Charles is a classically trained double bass player who is pretty handy as a jazz electric bassist. Leader of the free-improv trio, Zed-U, Charles also collaborates with a vast range of UK based artists from both the jazz and pop genres.
A concert pianist-turned-composer-yogi from Kharkiv, GéNIA recently enjoyed success with her compositions by releasing her solo piano album ‘Babylon’ alongside several sold-out London shows. whilst her music enjoyed placements in the critically acclaimed BBC America TV Series ‘Killing Eve” (starring Sandra Oh) and well-known British ITV series ‘Cold Feet’.
and many more to come…