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Heroes Festival
February 2-17 2023


Certain Blacks,  returns for our 9th festival this February having been awarded Arts Council England Notional Portfolio funding specifically to support diverse-led organisations.


Heroes presents performances from artists that inspire, entertain and educate including a night supporting female musicians and an evening curated by the legendry Ruff Sqwad. The festival includes a rare visit from LT Beauchamp (AKA Chicago Beau), an esteemed Chicago blues and jazz innovator who played on the 1970 album Certain Blacks by the Art Ensemble of Chicago from which the London organisation takes its name.

Four very different shows at Bethnal Green’s Rich Mix from 2-17 February incorporate adventures in sound and performance, stand-up, theatre, hip hop, spoken word and grime.


Thursday 2 February

Launching Heroes is an evening of beguiling, female musicians including Helen Adove Hawk, a multifaceted artist and vocal musician who works with loop stations (made famous by artists such as Ed Sheeran) resulting in a dreamy fusion of sound, dance and performance.

On the same night Daphna Sadeh & Eastern Strings Quartet join forces. Daphna Sadeh is an internationally renowned double bassist and composer whose take on classical, jazz and middle eastern music result in evocative compositions.

At Heroes, Sadeh will be complemented by Bristol-based Eastern Strings. The line-up also features  electronic artist Maria Uzor whose new single Over This blends seductive beats with gritty, energised elements of avant pop, dub and elcectro. Maria Uzor is a half Barbadian, half Nigerian electronic artist and producer based in Norwich.  Also included on this special night DJ Steene  £10/8 8pm An evening of music from outstanding female musicians features Helen Adove Hawk.

Friday 3 February
The Mix Race Mix Tapes John-Paul Zaccarini, HOMO-FUNKY, STREET SPUNKY- A stand-up, hip-hop, spoken word journey of passion, hope and humour taking audiences on a lush poetic journey through everyday racism, homophobia and classism. Zaccarino explores the political and emotional minefield of Intersectionality with verbal dexterity and poignancy in this highly personal and provocative performance. John-Paul Zaccarini, Ph.D., is Professor in Performing Arts at Stockholm University of the Arts, an award-winning solo theatre artist and a poet.

As if this isn’t enough, he is also a ‘Dragademic’, working class, queer hip-hop, drama clown queen of colour. Homo-funky and street spunky, serving up South London shade and immigrant working class realness, he blends the brains with the bitch and the spectacular with the serious. Tickets £10/8 8pm


Saturday 4 February 8pm – 12am
Ruff Sqwad presents Lights Up
Founded by Grime Legends Prince Owusu-Agyekum (aka Rapid) and Ebenezer Ayerh (aka Slix), the Ruff Sqwad Arts Foundation (RSAF) was set up in 2017 to help young people reach their full potential in creative careers and life. RSAF formalises and develops the work that Prince and Ebs have been doing since 2014.  The evening will include spoken word, rap, Grime, dance, and some musical and performative surprises from Ruff Swad members. The evening will include performance leading emerging artists Cassie Rytz and BZ and support comes courtesy of Tofi the Poet, The Hitrz and Kween Deekay £10/8


Friday 17 February 7.30 pm (10pm end)
L T Beauchamp
L T Beauchamp aka Chicago Beau a contributor to the band and album Certain Blacks after which the organisation is named. Chicago Beau (L Beauchamp) was born on the southside of Chicago on 13 February 1949, into a house of music. The recordings of Dinah Washington, Coleman Hawkins, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Ivory Joe Hunter, Ruth Brown, and others were a part of his childhood world from the beginning.

From the age of 10 until 15, Beau studied tap dancing with the great Afro-Cuban dancer and choreographer, Jimmy Payne. He participated in many Cabaret-type shows that were popular during that era. A show could consist of performances by Afro-Cuban dancers, magicians, tap dancers, Jazz and Blues performers, and drill teams. These shows gave young people the opportunity to participate with professionals in a community setting. There was little distinction in the taste of the audience, people of all ages appreciated the same talent.

Beau will be backed by a band of leading UK musicians led by bass player Miles Danso and the evening will include a blues performance from Beau, readings from his work and a Q and A opportunity to discover more about his work with Arts Ensemble of Chicago and the making of the seminal recording Certain Blacks.

Getting Here

Rich Mix is located in the heart of the East End, Close to the City with excellent transport links on the doorstep of Shoreditch High Street Station.

Box Office 020 7613 7498

Venue –Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA

Supported by