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Sarajevo MESS Festival

Last week The Paper Cinema whizzed over to Bosnia to take part in the MESS Festival, to deliver a workshop and perform a show. The festival itself began in the sixties and is a monument to the determination and spirit of the organisers and participants - each October it presents around 50 productions from all over the world. During the siege of Sarajevo the festival continued, which is an overwhelming thought.

I had not visited Bosnia before so was amazed and awed in equal measure at the history of the city. Seeing Ottoman buildings in all their glory, and then walking ten minutes further on to see a wall covered in gunshots, is not something I will forget.

Our show was at maximum capacity and had sold out two weeks previously, which was tremendously exciting for us. The festival organisers encouraged people to attend with or without tickets, and when showtime arrived there were many people squeezed and huddled in, sat in every corner of the room possible, with no floor left bare! It made for a pretty electric atmosphere. I really appreciated the zeal and spirit the audience provided.

Here is myself and guitarist Celestino outside the theatre after our fist day setting up, and also myself as a puppet! Thank you to everyone at MESS Festival, all the audience and workshops participants, and The British Council for making it happen. We really hope we can visit again.

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Brazil and Back

I recently spent five weeks in Brazil with The Paper Cinema, touring through Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Jundiai and Sao Jose de Rio Preto. It was an incredible trip!  The amount of amazing places we visited was inspiring and stunning, alongside a healthy dose of hard work, hot weather and tour cabin-fever.  Here are a few visual delights:

"We are So Shanghai right now"

Touchdown! After our trip in September 2014, the new touring team of Paper Cinema had the fantastic opportunity to visit China once again, preceded with  a week in Taiwan. What incredible places! During June we visited Kaohsiung, Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai, performing at various venues. The audiences were very warm and receptive, and we had some stimulating Q&A's after many shows and a great workshop in Kaohsiung.

A highlight for me had to be attending a folk music concert with the incredible Qing Ge-le, a horse-head violinist extraordinaire! Finally, I had the chance not only to hear and watch the instrument being performed live, but also to meet the Master backstage, and have a try of the horse head violin. WOW!  Needless to say - I was dreadful, as it is far more tricky than it looks.

Thank you China and Taiwan for an amazing trip.

Dear Serge...with Collectress

Was great to catch up with my old sisters Collectress this week in London, after a flying visit to Poland with Paper Cinema.

We rehearsed for Dear Serge, a range of eclectic live performances taking place this Saturday at the De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill. Brilliant to play with Quinta and Rebecca again!  We worked on material form their album Mondegreen, a few snippets of which I played many moons ago.

Next week I set sail for Taiwan and China with The Paper Cinema. My little violin is ready for the East once more!

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R2 Folk Awards

It was with great pleasure I watched the 10 Mewn Bws gang perform at the Radio 2 Folk Awards last month, held in Cardiff. They were able to honour the life of Meredydd Evans who sadly passed away in February, without whose knowledge and passion our journey into Welsh folk music would have been lacking a vital source and fire. Well done #10MewnBws!!! Here is a lovely photo of us all taken at the Eisteddfod in 2013, alongside his lovely wife Phyllis and fellow musicologist Roy Sauer:

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It was a fantastic night also for fellow Welsh (super)-group 9Bach, who won the Album of the Year for their work Tincian. I hope that we can all perform there again! Exciting times, and brilliant to see such a range of folk performers from all over UK and beyond.

You can read a great article about the night here:

http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2015/apr/23/bbc-folk-awards-wales-homegrown-talent-9bach-meredydd-evans-nancy-kerr-sam-sweeney