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Concert to aid Syrian refugees

Drummer and local resident, Jamie Harris, has lately been directing his energy and inspiration into organising a concert at The Roomz, in aid of refugees from Syria. HOT’s Zelly Restorick asked him some questions to find out more.

What inspired you to put this gig together, Jamie? What’s your connection with this particular cause?

I don’t personally have any particular connection with this cause. A while ago, I was watching a documentary about what is happening to ordinary people in Syria, because of the conflict there. I couldn’t reasonably find an excuse for not trying to help in some very small way.

All the proceeds are going to the refugees, is that right? 

100% of the door money will be donated to UNICEF. I’ve asked that it all goes to their programme for the camps in countries surrounding Syria.

How will the money get there, where is it going and what will it provide? i.e. will it be of direct benefit to the people it’s intended for?

I don’t have any previous experience of working with any big charities. To my knowledge, there aren’t any small charities working in this situation. I understand that one major criticism people have of big charities is that money donated to them disappears into an amorphous pot, out of which much is extracted to pay for things which aren’t directly related to alleviating suffering. UNICEF are working to provide children – of which there are currently around a million – in the refugee camps, with clean water, food, medical care and warm clothing. When I contacted UNICEF about the event, I asked that everything we donate go to this cause.

Who are the refugees and what’s their history? How did they get to be refugees?

People are leaving Syria in droves on a daily basis. There are currently around two million Syrians living in refugee camps set up in countries outside of their home land. The Civil war in Syria means that many many ordinary people are having their homes and livelihoods destroyed .

Who’s involved with the gig?

Syrian Refugee Gig

I’m a musician and I decided to ask some of my friends to join in with a fund-and-awareness-raising concert for Syrian refugees.

Roger Carey has been playing music in this town for something like 40 years. He’s a phenomenal bass player and also a very good singer. He has an international reputation for his long collaboration with his wife, Lianne Carroll .

Rob Leake is a great jazz tenor saxophonist, but will be appearing at The Roomz with his new band Flywheel, playing bass clarinet.

I played with Geoff Sapsford, as I did with both Rob and Roger, in Trevor Watts’ Celebration Band. Geoff’s actually an old Punk and Indie Rocker, who gives a real dynamism to his renditions of songs by Dylan and the like.

And I’m part of a duo, playing hand percussion and singing with Ken Beattie, who plays tenor saxophone and keyboard. We perform our own material, influenced by what some people call ‘World Music’.

We’ll be starting early at 7pm as there are four acts to play between then and when we finish at 11pm… we wanted to have as much time as possible for people to come along and bring their money to give to this cause. We’re asking a £5 flat rate on the door, which isn’t bad to see four acts and do a little good.

Concert to Aid Syrian Refugees

The Roomz on Western Rd, St Leonards this coming Thursday 12 Sept.


Posted 10:25 Monday, Sep 9, 2013 In: Music & Sound

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