Music, Art & Cinema

Kazakh Dancing, Kara Jorga Style!

Қара Жорға (Qara Jorga) is a popular dance song in Kazakhstan. My first connection with it is when my infant host brother was trained to perform it for houseguests. Snapping his little fingers and moving around, he’d dance around on his little toes and everyone would clap and give him candy. At the time (three years ago) I understood that the repeating “bolmasa” means “if there’s not,” but didn’t get the poetic language at all. Here’s a modern version of the song:


March 27, 2013 5 comments

Meet Guillaume, designer and champion of made in Britain

Continuing our local business series on People of the World, today we’re talking to Guillaume Lyons, founder of Kaigami Ltd, a UK company which produces innovative folding lampshades. Kaigami’s designs are loosely inspired by the Japanese art of origami, but the company also aims to “maintain Britain’s reputation for producing classic designs”.

Guillaume in his workshop

Please tell us a bit about yourself

From a young age I have always been a creative person, I can remember whilst in primary school picking up elastic bands and other bits from the playground and arranging them to form some kind of mechanical toy.


March 14, 2013 Comments disabled

Rangoli – colourful Indian chalk paintings

The word comes from the Sanskrit word Rangaavali – which itself is a combination of two words – Rang, meaning colour and Aavali meaning creepers or lines. Rangaavali, or Rangoli, as we call it today, thus, literally translates into ‘coloured lines’ and that is what it essentially is – lines drawn in colour – inside or outside the house. It could be a celebration of a festival, an expression of happiness, a sign of welcome, a symbol of cleanliness and purity… but all it is, essentially, is lines of colour.

Rangolis are something you can see in every corner of India, no matter where you go. It is mostly a Hindu tradition, but I have seen Rangolis outside churches in southern India too, and some of my Muslim friends are as adept at it as I am!

A typical Rangoli pattern


December 5, 2012 4 comments

Giuseppe Boschetti – portrait of the artist

Although he does not sell his paintings, Giuseppe Boschetti is well known in his native Romagna (a region of North East Italy). His paintings are so much a part of him that he prefers to keep them on display in his house for family and friends, where they almost completely cover the walls of his apartment in Santarcangelo’s historic centre.

Giuseppe Boschetti exhibition

The artist’s studio is as chock full of detail as one of his paintings. A small, low table next to the easel is filled with paintbrushes in jam jars. Other surfaces are crammed with knickknacks: the top of one cupboard is crowded with empty glass bottles, another with wooden models. Look around and you see a vintage radio, an arrangement of seashells in a basket. A collection of modern art books sits inside one of the bookcases, pencil sketches hang on the walls. Light enters through skylights in the sloping roof, which ‘Pino’ warns us not to bang our head on.


September 28, 2012 1 comment

Behind the scenes in a Georgian bakery

You don’t need to understand Georgian to experience the atmosphere in this short film called ‘The Baker’. I love the way it starts behind the scenes, finally moving outside to the street to see the bakery from the customer’s perspective.


September 7, 2012 Comments disabled

What buttons can tell you about Italian society

When I was a child, one of my favourite pastimes was playing with my grandma’s button tin. Over the years she had collected hundreds of buttons, and I used to tip them out onto the carpet and spend hours arranging and admiring them.

Giorgio Galavotti, founder, owner and curator of the Museo del Bottone (Button museum), has spent a lifetime playing with buttons. For years he ran a button shop, setting up the museum when he retired, so he could share his passion with others. The buttons on display are mostly from the shop, as well as buttons brought along by friends and locals who raided their own button tins after he opened the museum. When I ask Giorgio if he has favourites he looks a bit schocked. “They are all my children” he says.

I learn that my grandma’s button tin was not unique “every house had one, and it’s a classic childhood story, playing with the button tin”


August 29, 2012 1 comment