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Dancers dressed in red and black perform a traditional indian dance

Global Roots Fest brings the world to Knowsley

by Emily Maguire

Almost 700 people attended a one-day festival celebrating Knowsley’s diverse communities.

Global Roots Fest took place on Saturday 24 June at Lord Derby Academy in Huyton.

The multi-cultural event was planned and delivered by a diverse team of young people from across the Liverpool City Region, the Knowsley Young Producers, who came together at the start of the year to plan the festival with the support of Knowsley Council’s Culture Team.

The project was made possible thanks to National Lottery players with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund as well as support from ForHousing and Awesome Liverpool.

Global Roots Fest featured performances by different groups throughout the day. Ganesh Hindu Temple, based in Kirkby gave a live music performance on Indian Thavil Drums and performed an ancient Indian classical dance called Bharatanatyam. Before the captivating dance performance, The Mayor of Knowsley, Cllr Eddie Connor, received a special blessing from the Ganesh Hindu Temple.

Mayor of Knowsley, Cllr Eddie Connor receives a blessing from the Ganesh Hindu Temple

Mayor of Knowsley, Cllr Eddie Connor receives a blessing from the Ganesh Hindu Temple

Scouse-Yemeni poet Amina Atiq delivered a thought provoking spoken word performance of a new poem created especially for the event entitled ‘Rewrite the Streets’ which tells the stories of the people who have found refuge in Knowsley and wider Liverpool City Region. Audience members were moved to tears by the poem, which was accompanied by a physical theatre performance choregraphed by Knowsley Young Producer Mariana Pires and Ukrainian refugee dancer Polina Sharapova and performed by young people from Stockbridge Village

Poet Amina Atiq performs 'Rewrite the Streets' in the background dancers perform

Poet Amina Atiq performs ‘Rewrite the Streets’

Representatives from the British Syrian Cultural Centre performed live traditional music and invited audience members to learn ‘Dabka’, a Middle Eastern folk dance which combines circle and line dancing and is performed at celebrations. Moulana Music Academy performed traditional Iranian folk music, followed by a traditional Persian folk-dance performance.

Ukrainian Folk and Ballet Dances from dance groups Ukraina and Radist wowed audiences followed by an interactive West African dance workshop delivered by Movema that got people up and moving. The event came to a close with a performance of lively North African rhythms and song from Mo Shabaka and his Sudanese band.

In addition to the performances, there was pop-up photography exhibition by Knowsley Young Producer Oscar Hedge entitled “Tales of Culture and Refuge”. Oscar, with the support of Knowsley Young Producer Chris and the Knowsley Culture Team, has travelled across Knowsley and Liverpool City Region interviewing and photographing individuals who have found refuge in our region. They have shared their stories and experiences for the exhibition which will be available to view at the Culture Hub in Huyton Library until 14 July.

a line of easel's with photographs and text.

“Tales of Culture and Refuge” a photography exhibition by Oscar Hedge

Here’s what visitors to the event had to say:

“I thought the event was very good. It was great to see many different cultures in harmony enjoying this event. I felt inspired by the multi-cultural talent and I learnt about different cultures, their foods, dress, dances and music.”

“I liked meeting people from multiple nationalities. The Finding Refuge ballet performance was lovely and very emotional.”

“It was great to meet new people and feel like part of the community.”

Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council said “This was such a joyful day celebrating all of the amazing global communities we have here in Knowsley. It was powerful to see the meeting of different cultures and the sharing of experiences. I think everyone who attended on the day leaned something new about the many varied cultures we have here in Knowsley and saw how ultimately, we have more in common than separates us.”

You can view a gallery of the event here:

Global Roots Fest – A celebration of Knowsley’s diversity