Next Sheffield speaker
Kweku Sackey AKA K.O.G
“Everybody’s crazy. Sometimes that thing is what unlocks the dream.”
Kweku Sackey AKA K.O.G grew up in Ghana and loved music from a young age. From what began in church – “you can’t join a band in Ghana” – is now an internationally renowned career spanning music, art, and songwriting.“Where I come from inspires everything. All those stories matter. As soon as you accept you and what makes you different, that is when things happen.”“I had all these ideas. I had something in me I wanted the world to see. I realised i was doing things to please other people but when i came to the UK I found people who understood me.”“People heard me sing and said I should be doing it, so I left my job at the old people’s home and started performing. It was like a weight I couldn’t ignore. That thing you are scared of — that is the thing that unlocks the dream.”Kweku’s band K.O.G blends traditional African rhythms and storytelling with operative vocals, hard-hitting patios, live brass and percussion. The band has toured the UK, releasing its first album in 2019.Kweku plays the Balafon, Djembe, Kpanlogo, shekere. He collaborates and writes with many international artists including Wiyaala, a female Ghanaian pop star with a growing audience in the UK. In 2018 he won the prestigious Young Commonwealth Performer of the Year and performed for Nelson Mandela’s family in Melbourne Australia.“Surround yourself with people that inspire you. Find friends who when you tell them ideas they get excited.”Kweku’s mission is to bring the music, storytelling and culture of West Africa to all that he creates, effortlessly blending these rhythms and styles with hip hop, jazz, soul and funk. He has taught vocal and percussion workshops in schools, community centres and at festivals. He has collaborated with the Dr Afua Twum-Danso Imoh at the University of Sheffield for the Festival of the Mind, Sept 2018, to create a live performance to tell the story of colonial childhoods in Ghana.Live performances are where Kweku particularly excels – in both vocal delivery and in energy and style. Shows at Glastonbury, Shambala, Kendal Calling in the UK and across Europe are testimony to the infectious musical vibe that is created every time he takes the stage.“Base success on your peace of mind.”Words by Molly McGreevy.
January is ROOTS.
Simon Bray AKA Loved&Lost
“This project is about building empathy and understanding.”
Weston Park Museum is home to relics and art from Sheffield’s history, but for CreativeMornings Sheffield’s #CMLost, stories from the past of individuals, rather than the city, will be told.
Simon Bray AKA Loved&Lost is a documentary photographer who has been travelling the UK gathering stories and reliving memories with people who have lost loved ones. His exhibition Loved&Lost, brings together these stories at Weston Park Museum.
‘In a way this project is talking therapy.’
Loved&Lost began when Simon shared memories of his own father, who he lost to prostate cancer in 2009. He wanted to find a way to acknowledge and remember those people we have lost in a public way and to help people relive memories they shared.
Each person featured in the project shares photos of a treasured memory with Simon, before they return to that same place, with a camera. Simon takes pictures as memories, stories and anecdotes are shared. The person may no longer be there, but reminiscing brings their memory to life.
“It’s me and Paul, sitting on the steps together, and taking a selfie, and I chose that picture because we both look so stupidly happy in it, and we really were.”
Maike shares a picture of her and boyfriend Paul by the sea in Penzance. It wasn’t a special day, just an evening by the sea, for Maike, the photo is special because they’re so “wind swept and love swept”
Maike shares memories of Paul, of his geeky glasses that attracted her to him, and how she still carries around with her today, having had her own lenses put into them.
For Simon, Loved&Lost invites people to speak about loved ones they are grieving, it gives them space to share memories and in doing so, he hopes to help share the burden of bereavement. During his exhibition, Weston Park will host a Death Café, a place where people of all ages and backgrounds can gather to eat cake, drink tea and talk about death.
“Even though the pain of the loss may remain, may this go some way in relieving the hurt and the stigma of death and act as a public declaration that death has lost its sting.”
Loved&Lost is being exhibited at Weston Park Museum until 19 April 2020.
Rene Meijer AKA Food Works
“Food has value and so do you.”
Rene Meijer AKA Food Works was first inspired to start Food Works Sheffield – until recently, known as Real Junk Food Project – four and a half years ago. He wanted to make a positive contribution to society, and do something about a third of food going to waste.“If food waste was a country, it would be the third biggest carbon creator in the world. Yet one in six people find themselves going hungry.”Food Works takes food that would otherwise end up in landfill and makes sure it doesn’t go to waste. Through their warehouse market, their bistro nights or their buffets for weddings and events Food Works saves tonnes of food and drink from the bin each year.“People struggle to engage with the food we provide if we call it waste, so we call it surplus.”Food isn’t always out of date or unsellable, often it’s merely a result of poor planning or logistics by the supermarkets, and because of the cost of logistics, the cheapest option is to throw it away.Food Works’ warehouse is sometimes filled with expensive whiskey or fancy chocolates – online shopping orders that the customer wasn’t at home to accept. That food is then available to anyone who would like it, at a price they choose based on what they can afford.“You can’t just ask poor people to have the leftovers. We are not a poverty organisation.”Rene finds using surplus food to feed poor people disrespectful, he believes people, and the food they eat, has value, and that we shouldn’t expect those les fortunate to eat what isn’t wanted. At Food Works’ bistro nights the surplus produce taken in by Food Works is used to create fine dining menus, to be enjoyed by all.For Rene, there’s two things he wants the CM Sheffield crowd to take home from his talk. 1) a croissant for later, because there’s some leftover. 2) For people to rethink who they are in Sheffield. Are you a consumer or are you a citizen of the community? The choices you make are citizen choices, if you think about it that way you may make different choices.“We’re all so programmed into having choice and abundance. We very easily forgot what the impact of those choices are. Choice isn’t free”Words by Molly McGreevy.
October is FLOW