Cool as a cucumber: Welcome Home to cultural diversity

Sofia steals the show: photograph by Martyna Kamecka

The pictures say it all.  There were many magical moments at the first Welcome Home open stage night – Sofia’s grin, Maria’s love letters, Gordon’s poetry, Lotus Leaf’s jazz – and the second event promises many more.  Come to the Fort Community Wing on Monday 21st February for a whole-hearted celebration of Leith’s cultural diversity.  And please bring a plate of food that reminds you of home.

“It sounds like it will be an interesting night”, emails Kasia Raszewska, one of the Welcome Home organisers.  That sounds like an understatement.  The night’s event  includes a poet from Iraq, musicians from Tibet, Philippines and Africa along with African, Polish and Tibetan stalls selling arts and crafts.

Gordon reads poetry, Maria reads love letters at the first Welcome Home open stage night in November 2010 (photographs by Pawel Drozd)

This time there is perhaps an even greater emphasis on music. The headline band of the night is Lorraine McCauley and The Borderlands.  The DJ is DJ Waapa and Mad Caravan.  Kasia also tells us that the African stall is by Bongayi Kutywayo Patty of Zimbabwe from AB African Collections. The Himalayan stall is by Reke Rose Gawa  from the Himalaya Cafe and Anna Sznajder from Swietlica has made the crafts for the Polish ethnographic crafts. “We will also have a guest performance from Wilson Warmheart (Scotland),” says Kasia, ” He is one of the people behind Himalaya Gatherings, a huge inspiration for Welcome Home”.

And don’t forget the food. As always food is a central part of the celebration and in the heat of the kitchen at the Fort, the team of volunteers will be writing lists and labels for different foods representing different cultures (we’re told that Cathy McNaughton from Multi-Cultural Family Base is planning to bring cucumber sandwiches so no prizes for guessing where Cathy is from).

Three cheers for Welcome Home – and hooray  for Swietlica for creating such an imaginative way of bringing people together. ‘Multicultural’ has become a loaded word but Welcome Home puts the fun back into cultural diversity with nothing more intoxicating than music, poetry, art, food and soft drink. All completely free of charge.  Oh, and yes, guests are invited to bring candles or fairy lights to add a bit of sparkle.

Welcome Home Open Stage Night is from 6pm – 9pm at Fort Community Wing, North Fort Street, EH6 4HF. FREE [lots more pictures on their Facebook page]

Lotus Leaf: photograph by Maria Kozaczek

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