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Sat, 25 Feb



Rooted Harmony - with voice leader Fran André & mbira from Kennedy Chinyere

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Rooted Harmony - with voice leader Fran André & mbira from Kennedy Chinyere
Rooted Harmony - with voice leader Fran André & mbira from Kennedy Chinyere

Time & Location

25 Feb 2023, 10:30 – 17:00

Totnes, Bowden House, Totnes TQ9 7PW, UK

About the event

Rooted We Rise - Singing Circles for People of Colour and Mixed Heritage

*These events are for people of colour and mixed heritage from all cultural backgrounds. The leaders on this particular series are all from African diaspora backgrounds (although Fran is part Mauritian which has roots in both African and Indian lineages), and yet people from all lineages of colour are warmly welcomed and included.

These circles will be a space where we, as people of colour and mixed heritage can simply come together and sing!

These spaces are for people of colour and mixed heritage only, to provide the opportunity for us be in a space with others who may look and feel more like us than we experience in the every day. An opportunity to meet in the shared power of collective song with other black and brown folks like us.

These sessions are part supported by National Lottery funding.  This means that donation tickets are available at a hugely discounted rate, which hopefully makes these events accessible to all.  If you are not in a position to purchase a donation ticket at all, you are more than welcome to book a completely free place for yourself.  These events are designed as a haven for us all, and for those able to donate more this very much supports the work continuing and thriving, however for those who cannot afford to pay at all, your participation is still very much welcomed and wanted.

With voice leader and enquiry facilitator Fran André, with mbira from Kennedy Chinyere and sitar from Tommy Khosla.

Fran André has a passion for teaching music of the African diaspora, and alongside this raising awareness of the increased need for the full cultural honouring of music from other cultures.  Fran is a bringer of truly joyful song medicine and her singing leading contains both a blend of uplifting energy and a reflective tone.  At this moment in time she is particularly feeling called to create spaces for people of colour and mixed heritage to sing and be together.  As well as these one day events Fran is currently developing a series of retreats and workshops which will range from simply singing and connecting for the joy of it for People of Colour and Mixed Heritage, to more in depth enquiry retreats for People of Colour and Mixed Heritage and anti-racism retreats using song as vehicle for heart opening for white folks.  She will also be running online and in person non residential sharing sessions.

Kennedy Chinyere is a musician and craftsman from Zimbabwe. He grew up in a traditional rural village and has been playing mbira music in ceremonial spaces for over twenty years.   Kennedy is passionate about the healing power of the mbira, which has been played for thousands of generations as a tool for connection and healing.

Tommy Khosla is a contemporary sitar player, composer and independent artist. Featured recently in Songlines magazine, their debut LP Vignettes was released earlier this year to critical acclaim and has received airtime on BBC Asian Network.  Winning the UK Awards for Young Musicians at age 17, Tommy has since gone on to develop a unique voice in music, placing the sitar in contemporary contexts. Taking inspiration from lo-fi, electronic music, and bossa nova, Tommy is challenging stereotypes about the musical space sitar can be played in. Tommy recently completed an MA Music at SOAS, London, and is continuing his lifelong Sitar training with Ricky Romain and Anoushka Shankar.


There is so much that we have experienced in our lives due to our cultural difference that often we have not had spaces to share about together. These singing session are intended to meet the need for simple communion for those who have this slight difference which sometimes can feel small, and sometimes can feel huge.   This is a space to marinate together into all parts of us.  To simply sing together as people of colour and mixed heritage.

There is a Zimbabwean saying “if you can walk you can dance, if you can talk you can sing”. This is very much at the heart of these events. Singing is our birth right. We sing because we live. You do not need to be good at singing. You do not need any previous experience. Bringing your heart and voice simply as they are is the invitation here. You are welcomed into the tribe just as you, being you!

Singing is such a deeply intrinsic part of community life for so many non-Western cultures. For example, among African-American people, and the struggle for freedom carried by the singing of the spirituals through the Civil Rights era. There is also the devotional singing of Indian culture through bhajans and kirtan, indigenous people’s such as the Baka, the rainforest people of Cameroon with their deep affinity with the forest through song and sound. First Nations people of both the US, and Australia, and of course the many different cultures of Africa, consider musical expression a key part of community life, and connection with the divine spiritual realm. Singing in such cultures is often ceremonial and something that is done simply because we are human.

The hope is that these sessions can provide a space for us to simply be together as people of colour and mixed heritage and also to taste a way of singing in which the collective experience is more important than the individual.

If this invitation resonates with you, please know you are hugely welcome to come along. No previous singing experience is necessary. Songs will be taught by ear and will be simple to learn.

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