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Pawing the right chord

May 20 - 26 , 2020

Gulf Weekly Naman Arora
By Naman Arora

Gulf Weekly Pawing the right chord

In an effort to overcome the existential threat that animal shelters and rescue centres around the island are facing during the economic slowdown as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, the Bahrain Animal Rescue Centre (BARC) is organising a second virtual music festival next Monday, starting at 3pm.

BARC, formerly The Dogfather’s Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, co-founded and run now by Sandi Thom, held the first iteration of the online music festival, “Music to the Rescue” last month, attracting over 1,800 digital attendees.

The centre, which has one facility in Saar, with a second one under construction in Hamala, has seen a significant drop in donations, as it continues to care for approximately 400 animals, including providing food and paying vet fees.

Susan Cook, who helps organise fundraising events at BARC, said: “We had a good response to the first music festival and raised BD1000. We are hoping to raise even more during the second festival.

“We have added a line-up of new acts this time, including Jason and Lydia Carter, Sara Watson and Deborah Jones as well as a couple of artists from around the globe. We are grateful to the artists who have donated their time and talent to help us raise money and awareness about the centre’s activities during the Covid-19 lockdown, as well as the vets, companies and individual donors who have supported us through this difficult time.”

The initiative was inspired by “Rock the Lock Down,” an initiative started in Spain by Ollie Hughes and Lucy Pardoe, drawing 60 acts over two days.

“Music to the Rescue” will feature 20 musical acts, from 3pm to 9pm on its Facebook page, including Bahraini bass guitarist Ahmed AQ, Nigerian singer Faith, Colombian musician and Radio FM producer, DJ and host Milala as well as Bahraini soul-folk singer and songwriter Mo Zowayed.

Mo, who will open the show at 3pm on Monday, said: “As soon as Susan contacted me about joining the first Music to the Rescue to raise money for the Bahrain Animal Rescue Centre, I said yes without a moment of hesitation.  I’m a huge dog lover and thought it was a brilliant idea - using our live streams to benefit such a worthy cause.  It’s especially close to my heart as my wife, Sally, and I have had a couple of rescue dogs before.  The first event was a smashing success as we managed to raise more than BD1,000.

“I’m definitely looking forward to the next one.  I hope we’ll have an even bigger audience.”

“I’ll be playing a completely different set of original songs. I’ve been doing a lot of writing during this quarantine so I’ll be playing at least one, maybe two, brand new ones.  I’m really excited about that. I also can’t wait to hear how much money we’ll have raised by the end of the day.”

From around the world, professional violinist Beata Just from Poland, soul, R&B and jazz artist Clarissa from USA, singer-songwriter Cleatus Tauro from Kuwait and music composer Nikhil “Nik Uzi” Uzgare from Dubai will be playing their sets live, with the video stream available afterwards to watch and share.

There will also be donation options available online. The festival is being supported by several local companies including Clockwork, the organisers of the Bahrain Jazz Festival as well as a number of media outlets.

Nikhil told GulfWeekly: “I personally believe that if anyone deserves any charity in the world, it is animals. That school of thought has inspired me to work with different animal welfare organisations and contribute in whatever way I can.

“Bahrain has a very special place in my heart as I played two memorable gigs with my band Point of View in Bahrain in 2014 and 2017.

“We toured with our good friend Ron Bumblefoot Thal (formerly with Guns N Roses, Asia and Sons of Apollo). I personally loved the Bahrain music scene as it seemed much more appreciative and real as compared to the Dubai music scene.

“As for the BARC music festival, I have about 18 minutes of playtime. I am going to stick to an originals set with maybe one cover song.”

The event will be held next Monday at 3pm on the “Music to the Rescue” Facebook group.

Visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/856580771421265/ for more information.

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