Allsortz Open Mic @ Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (30/11/14)

Written by Ayshamar Atkins 

Sunday 30th November marked the sixth and final of the weekly Sunday sessions presented by Allsortz Open Mic at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. (See Video Below)

First to take to the stage were Rock band, A Danger To Us who performed a series of their original, upbeat pieces including “The Rest” and “Pretty Pictures”. The band that have only been a group for a matter of months rocked the stage and drew in a crowd of locals with their distinctive and unique style.

Allsortz @ Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

(‘A Danger to Us’)

Following this were the first wildcards of the day who go by the name of Kryptic and Kustic. The incredibly synchronized beat boxers blew the audience away with just a minute each to showcase their immense talent and skill, blasting through a range of styles and genres. Other Wildcards featuring on the day were a yet to be named fusion/ collaboration. Flor and Maya who sang alongside guitarist Ty, performed a beautiful acoustic version of Beyoncé’s – Drunk in Love and Bruno Mars’ – Locked Out of Heaven. Also to perform was local Jill Redman, who performed a stunning and emotive cover of Roberta Flack’s – First Time I Ever Saw Your Face.

Also performing that day was the dynamic rapper Drew Marshall who performed three pieces including his song titled “This One”. The informed rapper addressed issues that occur as a result of a broken social and justice system, specifically focusing on the job market, housing and class discrimination

Next in line was Allsortz’s first reggae artist of the six-week line up, Marvin Brown. The vocalist warmed audiences with his lyrical performance; his conscious lyrics touched upon appreciating life despite hardships and maintaining faith through tough times. Despite being under the weather the singer performed his original pieces – “Life Is A Rocky Road”, “Protected By”, and “Fountain” and still managed to stun the audience with his astounding voice.

Allsortz @ Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

(Billy Stone & Mr Dublin)

On stage next were gifted rappers Billy Stone and Mr. Dublin. Who performed their song “Chasing Dreams” and “Never Learn”, their characteristic style certainly left local audience members with a sense of determination and perseverance.

Next up on stage was the incredibly talented singer-songwriter Lani Bowerman, whose innocent and pure voice resounded throughout the park and amongst locals. The young singer performed he very own original acoustic songs “Here We Go Again” –highlighting the focus on changing the world instead of ourselves; she also performed her piece “Where We Are”.

Singer Shaquille then followed this with an emotive cover of “Thinking of you” – Ed Sheeran; the modest singer of outstanding abilities warmed the audience as the day became chilly.

Allsortz @ Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park


Following this, was a performance from… who brought the spirit of Christmas along and onto to the stage, the lively artist received maximum appreciation resulting in audience members singing and dancing along to her songs and later requesting and encore performance. Her pieces are titled “Go Elsewhere”, “Worthless” and “Hurry Hurry” – which was the first Christmas song of the Allsortz Sunday sessions and definitely put locals in a festive mood.

Next was Singer Adir Tov and his band who performed a mixture of covers and original works, the upbeat and energetic singer performed well-known pieces “Summertime Sadness” – Lana Del Ray and “Valerie” – Amy Winehouse. The singer’s lively sounds definitely created a buzz among the audience creating an atmosphere of fun and dance.

The final act to round of six-weeks of amazing talent was the one and only Miss Sha, whose silky vocals brought the day at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to a mellow close. The singer performed “My Type of Guy” one of her originals and a cover of  “Wake Me Up” – Avicii.

Allsortz Sunday Session @ Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (16/11/14)

Written by Ayshamar Atkins (@Aysha_nikita)

Last Sunday marked the fourth of the weekly sessions held by Allsortz under the AcelorMittal Orbit inside the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park promoting the amazing talent to found in London.

This week, the first on stage was singer-songwriter and entertainer Clinton Elvis, who gave locals a taste of his tropical vibes. The singer brightened the stage with his energetic performance of his original songs including his “Control My Mind” and a touching piece highlighting the struggles of a mother, titled “Momma Don’t Cry”.

Allsortz Sunday Session(J.E.T blowing the audience away with their Motown vibes)

Next to be introduced on stage was the refreshing Vocalist Ella CR, who performed a series of tracks from her E.P “Brand New Me” which was released last Friday. The lyrical singer performed a fascinating set using a drum pulse, and loop machine to record her vocals live on stage, then performing her original pieces on top, allowing the audience to witness the creative process when writing a song.

To follow this were Wildcards J.E.T who began their slot with a cover of Boys II Men – “I’ll Make Love To You”, the trio of silky vocals had audience members in awe of the well-choreographed performance. The group also performed their original acapella song “Love Like You”.  Other wild cards of the day included Soul/RnB singer Deleelah who performed a few tracks from her latest Album, “Devine Evolution”; Young K who graced the stage with his precise lyricism and American style.  The final wildcard of the day was the incredibly gifted rapper Kayroe who shared some inspiring words with the locals of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Allsortz Sunday Session


(Deleelah belting out Whitney Houston’s ‘I will Always Love You’)

Singer Rajiv also performed a few of his captivating and upbeat tunes; a stinking feature of the talented singers pieces was the universality of the lyrics therefore grabbing the audience’s attention with its relatability. He also performed a very simple but beautiful rendition of Beyoncé’s “Sweet Dreams”.

Next in line was spoken word artist Jolade who stopped audiences in their tracks with some profound words exploring self-image, taking responsibility for actions and understanding that we control circumstance definitely stirring some thought amongst the park audience.

Kaisler was next to grace the stage with her quirky style and expressive vocal techniques, the singer began by livening the stage with a few of her original pieces generating an uplifting atmosphere and inspiring dance among locals.

The final main slot of the day to feature on stage was the multi-textured vocalist Kit Rice, who performed a series of tracks from single, yet to be released on the 24th November. The singer who sang with soul wrapped up the event nicely!

Don’t forget we’ll be in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park until the end of November so you’ve still got time to pop down and share your Talent! See our events page for more details

Allsortz Sunday Session @ Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (9/11/14)

By Ayshamar Atkins (@Aysha_nikita)

Last weekend saw Allsortz back at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with the third event of a six-week line up of Sunday sessions under the orbit. (See Video – Coming soon)

Introducing the first act to open the showcase was the five-piece band Blank Fiction. The very interactive group of musicians performed their captivating and multi-faceted pieces, which crossed genres including “Fire” and “Unclean Animals” successfully gathering the local crowd with their alternative style.

Allsortz Sunday Sessions 9/11/14

(Jones 2.0 taking to the stage)

American singer and wild card Adrian was next on stage; kindly accompanied by drummer Evan from Blank Fiction. This characteristic cover of One Republic’s “Apologize” definitely took locals by surprise! Other wild cards to perform on the day were singer-songwriter Ayshamar who performed a cover or “Twice” – Little Dragon; Nate Black, who performed a profound piece touching upon themes of self worth and also eight year old Melanie who warmed the audiences with her performance of “Let it Go” from the well known animation Frozen.

Also featuring on the day was singer-songwriter Marianna from North London who performed a graceful set with ease and wowed audiences with her remarkable vocal range and technique. The inspiring and uplifting artist performed original pieces from her recent E.P including “The Time is Now”; she finished her set with an emotive cover of Bob Marley’s “Song of Freedom”.

Next to take the stage was the glamorous singer from Essex, Pharella who is currently working the release of a ten-minute album. With the weather temperamental, Pharella’s summer-time vibe and energy warmed locals on the chilly afternoon. Her set included her pieces “Let’s Get Together” and “She Don’t Care About You”.

Allsortz Sunday Sessions 9/11/14

(Pharella on stage at Allsortz Sunday Session 9/11/14)

To follow this was rapper Jones 2.0 who performed an impressive rap variation of Frank Sinatra’s song “That’s Life”. This was followed by his pieces “Out of My Life” and “Rosé”, both of which featured catchy tunes displaying the rappers skill.

Subsequent to this was rapper 4i. The conscious rapper began with one of his unreleased tracks  “Midnight Moan”, the bouncy piece had locals participating and clapping along to the beat. The positive artist also performed a few tracks of his E.P “Soul Rich” scheduled for release later this week.

Folk acoustic singer-songwriter Alice was next to grace the stage with her latest piece – written only a week ago; “Angel Man”. The upbeat folk dance song created a unique atmosphere and engaged the audience of the park.

Next up was stand out rapper Strive, who gathered a nice audience with his festive vibe performing his catchy piece “More Time” from his debut E.P “Beginning of Beginning”. The rapper also performed his tracks “Brazil” and “Empire” which had the locals grooving and whistling along.

The final WildCard and act of yet another day of quality talent was the massively energetic Clinton Elvis, the very animated and tropical singer-songwriter, musician and performer, shared his good vibes with his tracks “Control Your Mind” and “My Angel”.

Don’t forget we’ll be in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park until the end of November so you’ve still got time to pop down and share your Talent! See our events page for more details

Allsortz Sunday Sessions @ Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (2/11/14)

By Ayshamar Atkins (@Aysha_nikita)

This weekend consisted of another exciting event from Allsortz Open Mic, which took place under the ArcelorMittal Orbit at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as a part of a six-week representation of some of the best emerging talent in London. Despite the whether being somewhat dreary, the event went ahead and with successful results! (See Video below)

The first act to warm the locals last Sunday was the stylish Miss Sha with her silvery vocals. The singer performed a mixture of covers, also featuring her very own “Take The Blame” and a Jazz version of Sam Smith’s “La La La”, stopping passers on their way to the Orbit.

Allsortz Sunday Session 2/11/14


(J.E.T taking on the WildCard challenge)

Next to perform was singer Cleo, who arrived on stage with a massive smile on her face while radiating with energy. Her acoustic movement consisted of her original works “Drive” and “Unlucky Girl”, which had a powerful and alternative feel. Cleo who displayed an impressive vocal range on the day had locals participating in her cover of the well-known song “Burn” by Ellie Goulding.

Up next was the up and coming Samuel King, who performed a set of political pieces in relation to the social structure in Britain. His first piece titled “Powerless” featured a description of power and the effect it can have on an individual depending on their context; the informative piece also focused on the deception of power and how simply taking control life can redirect power in your favor. The poet also performed two other pieces also relevant to the theme of being trapped within a system; suggesting in order to break free, one must first self-assess and identify their own morals and beliefs.

Singer Eleni C was next on stage, with a reflective cover or Emile Sandé’s – “Clown”, following this emotive performance was her original song “Building Castles”. In this piece the powerful vocalist explored the definition of beauty, raising the fact that many try to hide with outward appearances, consequently forgetting about the importance of inner beauty.

Allsortz Sunday Sessions 2/11/14

(Maureen and Lynette taking to the stage after a shift at work)

The next act to feature on stage was rapper Lemzi, who began with cleverly placed lyrical rhymes in his original song “Push Push”, highlighting the struggles of being successful. The talented artist gathered a nice crowd with his next piece; a cover of the well-known track  “Paradise” – Cold Play, with his own creative spin on the song; clearly demonstrating his gift with words.

Also to perform on stage was Tolu, the rapper began with an inspiring piece about his own personal journey, highlighting themes of determination and perseverance; making the best of a situation in order to be successful. His set also featured his short and sweet piece “Insanity”.

Connie Craven was the next artist to be welcomed on to the stage. The singer-song writer performed a simple set and illustrated impressive musical skill, creating the perfect chilled atmosphere for a Sunday afternoon.

Wild card Dhark Knyte was up next with his piece “Jordan’s”, challenging stereotypes about up and coming rappers, being from the “hood”, gang culture, difficulties in school and being judged based up on skin color and the problems this may entail. This compelling performance left a powerful message resounding among the locals of Queen Elizabeth Park.

Following this was the talented Izara B with her compelling pieces “Materialistic Society” and “Resurrection”. Both pieces were delivered with passion, stopping many and encouraging them to listen to her wise words.

After this was a lively performance from L-Reece. The informed rapper began with his original track from his first E.P “Positive to Negative” which focused on changing perspectives. The dynamic and confident rapper had audience members enthused with his uplifting performance.

Group J.E.T. were up next with their soulful a capella, the group performed an original piece with an old school Motown feel and after a positive response, the trio performed an encore of Miguel’s “How Many Drinks”. After such a successful performance, it is evident the well-synchronized group are extremely talented individually and work well together!

Penultimate act Shay D, began with a few pieces exploring the justice system and how this relates to her own personal struggles, the moving performance raised many relevant issues including housing, unity as a community and youth, leaving the audience deep in thought.

Last on stage where the colorful duo Maureen and Lynette, both local workers who provided a fun ending to the showcase with their cover of Lauren Hill’s “Killing me softly”.

Don’t forget we’ll be in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park until the end of November so you’ve still got time to pop down and share your Talent! See our events page for more details

Allsortz Open Mic does Friday Tonic with MasterCard

Written by Ayshamar Atkins

October was a busy month for Allsortz! As well as our usual monthly gig at Rich Mix we crossed the river to embraced the audience at the Southbank Centre: Queen Elizabeth Hall as a part of the “WHY? Festival” supported by Mischon de Reya. We took over a special Friday Tonic with MasterCard session and showcased our own unique brand of entertaining tonic!

Allsortz Open Mic takeover Friday Tonic with MasterCard at Southbank Centre
Allsortz Open Mic takeover Friday Tonic with MasterCard at Southbank Centre (Mila Falls)

The first act to grace the stage was the up and coming Mila falls and her three piece band; beginning with a set of stripped back covers including Waves by Mr. Probz and Wake Me Up by Avicii ft. Aloe BlaccAs she took centre stage under the luminous reddish purple light, her unique and distinctive vocals became apparent, combined with her lively and spirited stage presence, immediately captivating the audience’s attention and inspiring dance throughout the venue.

Next to be introduced to the stage was spoken word artist Izara B with her compelling piece Materialistic Society, exploring our view of society, it’s structure and the impact this has on us as individuals. This was then followed by an exclusive performance of her latest piece entitled “Kiss of Death”; not only was this piece contrasting in terms of style and theme, it also retained an immensely honest, open and moving message leaving the audience in silence throughout the powerful deliverance of the piece.

Narko @SouthbankCentre
Allsortz Open Mic takeover Friday Tonic with MasterCard at Southbank Centre (Narko)

Rapper Narko then engaged the audience shortly afterwards by diving straight into his first song. One aspect of his performance that was really striking was his natural sense of stage presence, and this became more evident after a conversation with an audience member, which led straight into his final piece leaving us swept away by his authentic lyrical rhymes once again.

Following Narko, the charismatic duo: Sister Sidney took to the stage, skillfully charming the audience with their soulfully expressive voices. After performing two of their original pieces, the pair then moved on to perform a colorful acoustic version of Rita Ora’s – Just how we do.

To switch up the evening a little were the wild cards; for those unfamiliar with the concept, this allows anyone one who is feeling inspired take over the stage for a few minutes and to share their talent.

Allsortz Open Mic takeover Friday Tonic with MasterCard at Southbank Centre
Allsortz Open Mic takeover Friday Tonic with MasterCard at Southbank Centre

First up was Laura who presented a graceful medley of well-known songs including Stand Still and Look Pretty by The Wreckers; which she later explained represents a time in her life. Also to appear on stage was Milly, a young performer who instantly had the audience entertained with her quirky sense of style and explorative vocal techniques. The next wild card was Kyroe, who radiated confidence while rapping about the struggles of being successful and the thought of wanting something much bigger. We also had the pleasure of welcoming spoken word artist Kayrond to the stage with his humble, honest number tackling the issue of self expression and the path to self discovery. Next up was Germ Adan a member of the Adan project – a Scottish/ Haitian group based in the states, the dynamic singer serenaded the audience with a song reflecting on the trials of being in a long distance relationship, and to make the piece even more special it was sang in French Creole and accompanied by a steel string ukulele!

Moving back to the Main performance slots, young Shaquille, was next in line with his incredibly mellow voice. The singer and his two guitarists performed two classic covers – Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone and an all time favorite by Bob Marley, this originally interpreted acoustic cover definitely had the audience enjoying themselves to the maximum!

 DC Scribbla was next up with his old school American flow, including his original songs 98 Flows and Summertime, as usual the youthful artist had the audiences’ heads bobbing and singing along. One of the great things about this performance was his explanation behind the pieces, making it that much more relatable! DC Scribbla also performed a track off of his debut project called Girls, creating a different kind of energy.

Allsortz Open Mic takeover Friday Tonic with MasterCard at Southbank Centre
Allsortz Open Mic takeover Friday Tonic with MasterCard at Southbank Centre (DC SCRIBBLA)

The penultimate act and final wild card of an evening of immense talent, was Adrian Benjamin Haeske who had flown in from Germany to meet his long distance love. While walking south of the riverbank the young couple discovered Allsortz Open Mic taking place and romantically Adrian decided to dedicate a song to his love, Gressa.  Pompeii – Bastille. This acoustic cover was not only a beautiful second to last performance with the spotlight surrounding Gressa, but to finish the gifted artist announced his love.

Finally to wrap up the event, Mila Falls returned to close the show with a number of originals. This successful and impressionable set included her lively and energetic performances of her songs including Voices and Remember me.

You can follow us on Twitter (@Allsortz1) to keep up to dart with all of our events!

Allsortz Open Mic 13th October 2014

Written by Izara B (@Izara_B)

Just before we headed off for a few special gigs at Queen Elizabeth Hall and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, we had our regular open mic night at Rich Mix and what a night it was!!
We had the pleasure of welcoming on stage 14 year old spoken word artist DiAndre, who had the audience in deep thought and in awe. An artist to definitely watch!
Up on stage we also had rapper Lanre F with his unique beats and flow; Taliaa Jay who performed a few covers and spoken word artist Anastasia who engaged the audience through the depth of her words.
As well as our main acts, we also encourage artists to sign up as a WildCard on the night. This particular evening, we had a stand out performance by Shaquille and his 2 guitarists. His young yet soulful voice filled the main space and even got the crowd wanting more…yup, we officially had the 2nd encore of 2014.
Shaquille Brown
(Shaquille Brown)
We had a few more WildCards take to the stage; Milly gave us a touch of pop with a twist, rapper Dark Knight had the crowd bopping their heads along to the beat and Genesis dropped an acapella.
Last but not least, we had rapper Lemzi take to the stage strapped with a backpack filled with his latest EP.
We have loads of up coming gigs, take a look at the dates and if you’re interested in performing get in touch!
Remember you can follow us on Twitter (@Allsortz1) or Instagram (AllsortzOpenMic) to keep up to date with all our events!
Got Talent? Share Your Talent!

Allsortz Open Mic does ‘Eargasm’ – August 2014

Written Ella Achola (@ella_achola)

“Vibrant, raw talent and enjoyable” is what Izara B, director and creative assistant of Allsortz Open Mic, hoped for Eargasm to be that night and full of talent it was indeed. Allsortz worked together with Lyrix Organix and 3 Styles to organise this event, bringing together a range of artists and designers to take over the Dalston Roof Park for a night of Eargasm. Host Dekan, Allsortz Open Mic founder, did not fail on his promise to showcase London’s best upcoming talent in exchange for love and support for the artists from the audience, which continuously filled the roof park as fears of rain and thunderstorms dwindled and the performers’ energy enveloped the beautiful roof space.

During the sound check I explored the fashion side of the event, swaying to the old school hip-hop tunes of DJ Olivia Au (gold). I left impressed by how many use fashion as a means to inspire and empower young people. Alongside The Bakery by Cakey, which uniquely combines cake, sweets and clothing, Strip Clothing, and Mayamada, an anime and manga inspired clothing brand, there was also Strut Daily, my favourite stall of the night. A female empowerment brand, Nadine and Toy go beyond pure fashion and also work with young girls in Hackney aged 13 to 16, facilitating so-called struta workshops in dance, drama and fashion to build the girls’ confidence.

Clinton Elvis(Clinton Elvis)

Clinton Elvis opened up the musical part of Eargasm with high notes and dance moves to the well-known hits of Michael Jackson. He was followed by the live human beatbox performance of Bass 6 who not only hit the audience with the most unusual of sounds but also personal beatboxed renditions of Benny Benassi’s ‘Satisfaction’ and Louis Armstrong’s ‘What A Wonderful World.’

The atmosphere got cosier as the sky turned darker and one half of Sister Sidney took the stage, lulling us all in a performance sounding no less soulful than when the sibling duo performed together at the Great British Carnival, Claire’s beautiful vocals warming up the chilly roof park.

Sister Sidney

(Sister Sidney)

Next up was Allsortz favourite Ayshamar who owned the stage with a soul performance that was simple but spoke volumes nonetheless. Ayshamar is a singer/songwriter who started playing the piano when she was three years old. Speaking to her she told me she was inspired by everyday things she sees, the people around her, and her personal life journey, using her music as an opportunity to engage with her identity and allow for others to relate to it.

India Graye filled the terrace with a voice that hit each note crystal clear as she was accompanied by nothing more than her ukulele and followed performances of rapper Raptum and singer Jem Cooke before another Allsortz favourite, DC SCRIBBLA, a young rapper, got the crowd clapping and grooving to his old school tunes that remind of a musical era unfortunately long gone. He had just flown in from Texas, deciding to kick jet lag and travel fatigue to the curb and join us on the roof park with an energy that easily matched that of the older (and more rested) performers of the night. DC started making music when he was ten years old and quotes his influences as Lupe Fiasco and Kanye West. His main genre is hip-hop, which he likes to mix with other genres as he is inspired by life in London and being young.

Izara B was the only spoken word artist of the night, performing her piece ‘Materialistic Society’, which criticises a society in which the rich get richer and the poor strive for an illusion built by capitalist society’s expectations of what it means to be happy. She rightfully reminds us that fulfilling our needs should not be equated to having it all, and that materialism is not crucial to survival. She excelled in capturing the audience with nothing more than her voice, delivering her lines with passion and energy.

Miss Sha(Miss Sha)

Miss Sha’s performed some beautiful slow tunes about love and relationships before Shemzy closed Eargasm with a bang, switching up his hip hop set with some acapella “to get people’s attention”, which he did indeed.

Allsortz Open Mic, Lyrix Organix and 3 Styles succeeded in putting together a night of music and fashion that was engaging, stimulating and showcased a wide range of upcoming talent. Make sure to catch their next events in September!

Allsortz Open Mic – August 2014

By Izara B

It was definitely no regular Sunday evening, it was an Allsortz night! (Yep – on a Sunday!).

As part of the Rich Mix Youth Takeover 2014 (link), we took over the building for the day with the help of talented emerging acts; beginning with our performance workshop in the early afternoon to a gig in the evening…

One of our first acts of the night was by Britain’s Got Talent 2012 finalist, Molly Rainford. The audience were in awe as her voice took over…did we mention she’s only 13?!?!

Allsortz Open Mic August Takeover 2014

With a long list of nothing but talent to get through, Samantha gracefully took the the stage as well as our first spoken word artist of the night, Samuel King.

Having been part of our performance workshop earlier on, some participants just couldn’t get enough. Jamie & Caitlin came back for more as well as Ayshamar, who all represented for the ‘takeover artists’.

Just like any other Allsortz night, we had a handful of Wildcards who took to the stage. India Graye captivated the audience (even without her ukulele), Imani showed us exactly how talented she was and Lord Apex owned the stage with his unique flow.

We also had the pleasure of welcoming Allsortz Open Mic regulars; spoken word artist Izara B who performed her latest piece ‘Resurrection’, DC SCRIBBLA who brought an old school flavour to the night and stand out performance of the night by the lyrical Narko.

Allsortz Open Mic August Takeover 2014

Last but not least, Ben Rivers band brought the night to a close with a touch of folk music.

We’ve got one more special date for you all this month (yes we’re spoiling you). The next date is Wednesday 27th August at Dalston Roof Park! (Flyer)

August 27th 2014
August 27th 2014

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Allsortz goes ‘Carnival Xtra’ for the Great British Carnival

Carnival Xtra Review, 27 July 2014

By Ella Achola

Pics of the day courtesy of Michael Wornell

Three stages. Five hosts. Close to 40 acts. Over 100 individual performers. This was the challenge Allsortz Open Mic mastered exceptionally well in order to curate the artistic programme of the youth element, CarnivalXtra, of the Great British Carnival at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford last Sunday. Against the backdrop of the Olympic Stadium and the ArcelorMittal Orbit observation tower, CarnivalXtra had an impressive skyline easily matched by the quality of performances.

Allsortz had three stages featuring different acts simultaneously; Ship of Fools, the Spoken Word Stage, and Carpenters Lock. With approximately 60,000 people passing through the Olympic Park on a regular day, it was not surprising that the park almost seemed to overspill at times, attracting many surprised visitors who stopped on bridges and sidewalks to catch a glimpse of the superb line-up Carnival Xtra had to offer.

photo 3-2

Ship of Fools

Ship of Fools opened up with a little performance by the two hosts Don and Bowaa who reminded the audience to “go crazy, go bananas” and respect the artists since after all “every act is somebody’s child.” The audience complied when the first band, Blank Fiction, took the stage with what they describe as alternative rock “with a dash of pop and soul.” They played a great set, setting the festival vibe that characterised this stage for the remainder of the performances. I was back at this stage later in the day and was disappointed to find that I could only catch the end of the LC Collective, a group of four female MCs who I saw from afar had attracted a vibrant crowd that had so obviously enjoyed this collective’s engaging hip-hop performance. Another act I caught on Ship of Fools was Hanna’s Marines. Before this band had even begun the grass was packed with all kinds of people –families, couples and groups of friends – bopping their heads to the beats of the DJ. Singer Hanna kept the audience entertained with her music that she sums up as “KT Tunstall inspired by Paramore.” Cielo is a band that ties together pop, rap, hip-hop, funk and jazz with some Latin grooves and “catchy hooks.” Their energy was truly palpable and had the grass packed out once again. Filling the stage with some serious action, the lead singer got the crowd to join in the evident fun Cielo were having during their set, getting the crowd to put their hands in the air and cheering for what was an exceptional performance. Mila Falls closed this set of acts, singing pop music to a funky beat that even kept those members of the audience on their toes who had been dancing to the music on this stage for hours. She had one of the biggest presences of the day that was sustained by her full-blown supporting band. In the words of host Bowaa, “fresh, young talent” really did take over this stage today.

Allsortz does Carnival Xtra

Carpenter’s Lock

“Awesome, authentic, and original” are the three words Miss K, host of Carpenter’s Lock, used when I asked her to describe the acts that had performed on her stage. The first act I encountered here was Sylvia Mwenze who needed nothing more but a guitar, drums and a back-up singer to let her beautiful voice ring across the river that separated the stage from the audience. Sister Sidney was comprised of two lovely ladies who are actually sisters, Claire Louise and Indyanna Sydney, whose music is a mix of pop, rock and acoustic. They also kept instrumentals to a minimum, again highlighting the beauty of their voices that created a chilled atmosphere as Indyanna strummed her guitar. What stuck out at their performance was their cover of Rita Ora’s ‘How We Do’, which they completely made their own and had me hanging on to every note. I wasn’t surprised to see that DC Scribbla had the crowd on lock when I caught his rap performance of ‘Valentine’, a song I fell in love with during his last performance. Although it was just him on stage DC Scribbla commanded the space and owned it, visibly enjoying every minute of his performance. Next up were De’Vide who kept up DC Scribbla’s energy. Having previously been on The Voice, this duo of rapper and acoustic singer had a set of good music and vibes, also engaging with the audience. I stumbled across Anna Serrano’s performance during what was meant to be a short break, unable to keep myself from writing about her incredible vocals that were accompanied by nothing more than a keyboard. She came on strong with a cover of John Legend’s ‘All of Me’ as her voice took over the entire area and managed not only to keep the large audience that had gathered on the other side of the river entertained but also captivate passers-by who stopped to catch her equally impressive cover of Chaka Khan’s ‘Ain’t Nobody’.

Allsortz Open Mic does Carnival Xtra for Great British Carnival
Allsortz Open Mic does Carnival Xtra for Great British Carnival

Spoken Word Stage

The beauty of writing spoken word reviews is that they easily write themselves. “Consciously deep” and “passionate” are the words co-hosts Ace and Izara B used to sum up the acts on their stage; three words that can most definitely be applied to Farida Momtaz who drew a large crowd with her socially conscious poetry. Talking about her generation that she believes is flooded with Peter Pans – adult men still stuck in their youth and afraid to grow up – she problematized how we are losing out on so many young men’s potential and the “spectacular” destinies they could live out. MOAK was up next and he had the crowd intrigued, stopping passers-by who paused to listen to what he had to say. He brought back two of my favourites from the last Allsortz Open Mic, ‘Look Brother’ and ‘One Of The Guys’, and shared his experiences of navigating Ghanaian values in British culture, urging people to stay true to where they come from. Emmanuel Speaks pointed out that being free is not just measured in actual chains but equally requires escaping mental captivity while also touching on the topic of structural discrimination, important subjects that he tied up in a set of striking lyrics. Ellen Blane switched up the spoken word programme as she filled the air with a voice that instantly reminded me of Ellie Goulding. Her impressive vocals and obvious confidence far exceeded her sixteen years of age as she managed to retain the crowd’s interest throughout her entire 30-minute set. After missing her last performance I was particularly pleased to catch Izara B who captivated the audience. In her own words, her spoken word piece ‘Resurrection’ uses religion as a play on words and revisits her own journey of self-discovery that forced her to learn to acknowledge her entire self, inclusive of all flaws. Breaking with the spoken word tradition once again, the last act I saw on this stage was Gypsy Stars who were able to attract the largest crowd in this space today. Wearing colourful, traditional dresses, the women in the band put on a memorable performance both singing and dancing as the men joined in the singing at times and generally accompanied them on string instruments and an accordion. In addition to the spoken words artists programmed by Allsortz, there were also open mic slots throughout the day.

Generally, it weren’t just the acts that drew me in but I was equally impressed by all hosts across the different stages. On the Spoken Word Stage, host Ace gave the crowd a free lesson he emphasized is never taught in school, reminding the audience that our conscience and sub-conscience are in constant struggle with one another and it is repetition and positivity that truly transform a person as repetition becomes habit and habit becomes embedded into our sub-conscience, the true game changer that takes precedence over our conscience.

The Great British Carnival ended with a literal bang as everyone was brought together in an eruption of fireworks and parade, showcasing a plethora of different costumes and vibrant colours lighting up the darkening sky and giving Carnival Xtra the beautiful finale it truly deserved. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for this event again next year!

Allsortz Open Mic – July 2014

Allsortz Open Mic, 14 July 2014 

By Ella Achola

After attending my first Allsortz Open Mic tonight, I’m sitting here wondering how I could have missed out on such a great set of performances all this time. After having been continuously disappointed by too much mediocre spoken word all delivered in the same lame monotone, I willed myself to retain an open mind and was pleasantly surprised to stumble across so much talent in one evening.


First up was @AnnieAshia, a spoken word artist who was right down my street. She started out by voicing her fears about speaking but etched herself into my memory with some very memorable lines. Addressing how race and class oppression can eradicate all sense of self-esteem, she spoke herself into existence tonight and reminded us all that blackness is not a curse but a blessing, and we need to continue seeing the light in the darkness. Annie had an energy that drew power from her struggles. She used poetry to explore the conundrum of identity in a society that tries to compress heritage into a sentence that fits onto a dotted line when in reality identity is a much more complex phenomenon.


@KirtisFranklyn (pictured above) tied in with Annie in the way that both centred their work on identity. Kirtis pointed to the fact that despite how well you speak, and generally do well, this does not keep away the stereotyping in a white supremacist society. He criticised a system that claims to operate on a basis of meritocracy but in reality is ridden with oppression, and encouraged us all to decolonise our minds so we can be free.

@MOAK_TP also touched on identity and spoke about black masculinity and the pressures that come with it. He talked about love using the metaphor of tea, referring to one particular girl as the taste of that cup of tea with brown sugar you crave in the morning. Unfortunately, she turned out too hot to handle and life taught him he had to take his last sip.


Katie Louise (aka @KlastroLdn) and Charlotte made a good ensemble who first performed together before Charlotte took the stage in an Adele-like performance with a voice that wasn’t afraid to hit the tricky notes and sing of an alternative universe. She was also the backdrop to Katie’s poems, strumming on her guitar, while Katie talked about mankind and how stress and competitiveness disable us from enjoying the pleasures of life. Both lit up the stage with their positive attitude.

@IAmSamWay blew me away with the kind of sound that makes you envision yourself dancing under a clear blue sky on a sandy beach with no shoes on while he sings about love and turns the most mundane topic into a banger about eggs and base. Sam had the audience clapping to his sing-along tunes and his energy kept the audience entertained.


Among my favourite acts tonight was @DCSCRIBBLA whose old-school rap took me right back to a street in Brooklyn and into one of those hip-hop films we all love to watch. Bobbing our heads, he had us all join him in his song ‘Valentine’, which was definitely my highlight performance of the night. It had the right flow and I’m a sucker for love so his lines about kissing and hugging, and special connections struck a note.

@THEE_NARKO ’s open mic piece about relationships was surprisingly refreshing because it pointed to the fact that it’s not always the guy who does the girl wrong but the former can be just as hurt by actions of the latter. Other acts included Jason Pilley, who had a fierce energy throughout his entire performance and @BoyNash who closed the night with tracks of his new EP ‘God’s Image II’, rapping about his dreams and visions for the future.

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