Lassana and Janka Susso who will be featured on the upcoming EP
Lassana and Janka Susso who will be featured on the upcoming EP

The music project bringing the sounds of the world to Cardiff’s Riverside

The River Music Project aims to celebrate the diverse community of the neighbourhood while creating opportunities for new artists

A COMMUNITY project in Riverside is putting together a collection of songs which aims to bring people together by celebrating the sounds of the world.

It will feature voices and instruments from around the globe, representing the multicultural community of Riverside while also bringing fresh opportunities to less experienced artists.

The River Music Project was set up by Riverside local Nick Lewis around three years ago after he noticed that there were a lot of young people hanging around on the streets.

He wanted to give them somewhere positive to go where they could engage with the community through the arts.

The community-based organisation hosts a range of activities such as drum, Bollywood singing and art classes free of charge thanks to funding from organisations such as the PRS Foundation and Arts Council of Wales.

The forthcoming collection of songs reflecting the diversity of Riverside is the latest project and is due to be released in the Spring on digital, CD, cassette and on Bandcamp.

Portuguese rapper Madi Sumare, who lives in Cardiff, is one of the voices featured in the project.

The track, Open Your Heart, features melodies by Welsh instrumentalist Bob Evans and rhythms by Mark O’Connor inspired by Portuguese letters written by Mr Sumare.

Madi Sumare working on Open Your Heart in the studio

“My words represent Portuguese culture with the combination of violin and guitar,” said Mr Sumare.

He said that other inspirations included love songs and a combination of elements and instruments from different cultures such as the West African kora which can be heard on the track.

Mr Sumare described the project as a valuable experience to learn about new aspects of music production.

“I wanted to learn to do something other than writing, I’ve never had any help like this before and I’d like to learn even more,” he said.

“I hope to work on more songs that bring together the whole community. The project never stops!”

Portuguese rapper Madi Sumare who features on the track Open Your Heart

Nick Lewis, who runs the Project, is heavily involved in the collection of tracks and said that one of its key aims is to help develop artists in the community.

“The common factor running through all the projects is developing things,” said Mr Lewis.

“The music represents our community. It’s a mix of cultures including Indian, African, Welsh and Kurdish.

“For our next recording, the vocals will be done in India, so it’s becoming a transatlantic thing.”

Another motivation behind the project was the struggle to fund the arts.

“Imagine if you didn’t know how the system works or didn’t speak the language,” he said.

“We’re trying to give those people a voice.”

Lassana Susso, who performed at The Riverside Festival over the summer, will also be featured alongside Janka Susso on another track called Sing Holiday.

Janka Susso will be featured on the track Sing Holiday with Lassana Susso

While the main focus is on music, the centre also aims to tackle the gap by providing activities for younger people.

“We’re working more and more in conjunction with galleries in Cardiff trying to get kids to come down and try new things,” said Mr Lewis.

“I’m happy with where the project is going, it’s a lot of work but it’s really good work.

“We are back in the studio in the next few weeks with more sounds from Riverside and the world.”

You can find out more about upcoming projects and how to get involved over at their website.