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New “Crossing Borders” music festival for Brighton and Hove

CB posterSanctuary on Sea are proud to announce today Crossing Borders an exciting new festival that will take place in Brighton and Hove on 18 – 26 June. A week-long series of lunchtime and evening music concerts in venues across the city will showcase musicians and music by composers who have been forced to seek sanctuary in a foreign country.


Claire Martin & Ian Shaw

Brighton Jazz singer and BBC 3 presenter Claire Martin said, “Ian and I are incredibly pleased to be part of this important concert series.  We care deeply about the refugee situation and Ian has spent many months in Calais over the last year seeing first-hand how our efforts can help. Here’s to a successful week of music”.

Origins of the festival

Cellist Siriol Hugh-Jones, also a Brighton resident, was inspired to organise Crossing Borders when she attended the launch of Sanctuary on Sea last year:

Studio photos by Katie Vandyck 004

Siriol Hugh-Jones

“I decided I wanted to do something during Refugee Week to celebrate seekers of sanctuary and the music of exile. I thought it would be fun to cross musical and cultural borders, too, so that people coming would experience something new and different.”

Sanctuary on Sea vice chair Richard Williams said, “For months now, our television screens have been filled with scenes of utter misery and horror as refugees have struggled to reach safety in Europe. This festival is a reminder of how much our city and our lives are enriched by the people who seek sanctuary here.”


Among those appearing in the festival will be:

  • Brighton jazz favourites Herbie Flowers, Claire Martin and Ian Shaw, with special guest, Alice Russell;
  • Classical music stars the London Soloists Ensemble (John Lenehan, Lorraine McAslan and Karine Georgian), Tra Nguyen, Elizabeth Mucha, Krassimira Jeliazkova, the Brighton Chamber Ensemble and the Regent’s Orchestra;
  • Performers from across the globe, from kora maestros Jali Burama Mbye and Jali Fily Cissokho, playing with guitarist Natureboy, to Kurdish folk band Raye and instrumentalists Heval Akram and Zewa, and from the fusion of Cuban/Congolese band Grupo Lokito to the strange brew created by Dr Spira.
Tra Nguyen Promotional Picture 2

Tra Nguyen

As well as music, Crossing Borders will feature theatre and art. Actors Beth Fitzgerald and Michael Sheldon will give a rehearsed reading of Jessica Duchen’s play “A Walk through the End of Time”, inspired by Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time”, which was written and first composed in 1941 in Stalag VIII-A.

Suna Alan

Suna Alan, Raye

Accompanying some of the performances will be temporary exhibitions by Bern O’Donoghue and Annelies Clarke. Bern O’Donoghue created the art project “Refugees Crossing” as a way to inform people about the challenges facing refugees and migrants. The tiny paper boats she creates serve as a public reminder of the various struggles facing refugees in Europe, especially to those who may harbour or express feelings of prejudice or fear toward them. Annelies Clarke was born in Holland and trained in Florence. She specialises in virtuoso figurative paintings.

The full programme of events and details for booking tickets can be found on the Crossing Borders festival site at this link.