‘With a terminal diagnosis, you suddenly think, ‘What do I really want to do with my time?’
These are the words of Belinda Sykes, founder of the wonderful medieval-music group Joglaresa. And she has no doubt of her answer. ‘Gigging with Joglaresa is what I live for, and I want my remaining time to be spent performing and sharing the music I love with as many people as I can.’
Belinda has terminal leiomyosarcoma, yet has just finished a superb run of Christmas concerts with Joglaresa. And along with performing, Belinda’s other wish is to fundraise for the charity Sarcoma UK.
As a friend and colleague of Belinda’s and a big fan of Joglaresa’s joyful music-making, I am determined to make sure that Londoners have another chance to hear Joglaresa perform while Belinda is in such good form. In early 2020 Joglaresa is touring their ‘Enchantress of Seville’ programme - a gorgeous mix of Arabic ballads, Judeo-Spanish romanzas and ancient Christian chant. But there are no London dates planned - and I believe that Londoners need to hear this rich and life-affirming music!
So, I’ve booked a venue (St Mary-at-Finchley, Hendon Lane, London) for Saturday 25 April 2020.Now I need to cover the cost of having the six Joglaresa musicians perform. That way, all of the money raised at the concert will be used to fulfil Belinda’s second wish: to fundraise for Sarcoma UK.
Belinda is an exceptional musician whose knowledge of European medieval music, and that of the Ottoman and Arabic Empires, is huge. She formed her band Joglaresa 27 years ago, bringing together musicians in programmes with such fabulous titles as ‘Boogie Knights’ and ‘Nuns and Roses’. As Belinda says, ‘I’ve spent decades finding characterful singers who can be both divas and team players. The greatest joy I have in life is standing among these singers.’ Joglaresa are early music’s ‘bit of rough’ – a rebellious medieval/folk ensemble who have a sound that is at once traditional and contemporary, and both extrovert and intimate. It is an intoxicating mix, and in my view, to hear them is a unique and moving musical experience.Any contribution you may be able to make towards enabling us all to hear Belinda and her band in concert would be fantastic. Thank you very much for reading this, and for your support. I hope to see you in the audience on 25 April!
(Photo credit: Graham Wood)