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Issue:- 19 May 2011

Sounding out the city

NEW research has revealed music continues to be one of the major cultural driving forces in Liverpool. As part of Liverpool’s UNESCO City of Music Bid, which is set to be submitted in the next few months, a study has shown the wealth of music on offer is outstanding. On average, 320 music events take place in the city every week, with around 1,150 musicians performing to an audience in the region of 68,000. This equates to an impressive 1,700 hours - the equivalent of 71 days of non-stop music! The results came in as a Young People’s music provision in Liverpool consultation event took place on Wednesday, 18 May 2011, which will also be part of the shape the final bidding document.

The project began last year with detailed research into the access children and teenagers have to music - whether as part of their formal education or looking at what facilities are in place outside of school. The aim is to look at what is currently provided and develop this over the next five years.

A map has been drawn up which gives a picture of the resources available in the city - from community centres and music organisations to youth centres and schools. It also details those schools which work with Liverpool Philharmonic or Liverpool’s Music Support Service to expand on their music provision.

The mapping exercise has so far found:-

► 77 primary schools and 12 secondary schools in the city council area worked with Liverpool Philharmonic between 2008 to 2010

► 100 primary schools and 23 secondary schools in the city council area engaged with Liverpool Music Support Service between 2008 to 2010

► 48 youth and community centres either offer, or would like to get involved with, musical activities

► 22 music organisations have events targeted at young people - but this figure is expected to increase as the project continues and more youth organisations are integrated into the music network

The event held on Wednesday, 18 May 2011, was a special consultation event, at the Liverpool Contemporary Urban Centre to discuss young people’s access to music. Representatives from the city council and Youth Music hosted sessions, along with heads of music from Liverpool’s schools and colleges, music organisations, members of the music industry and a group a young people.

The event not only let the youngsters join in the discussions, they also perform throughout the afternoon. Taking to the stage was Earthworm - a four-piece rock group made up of 16 year olds; Rockin’ Beats - a guitar group consisting of 48 eight to nine year olds; and an ensemble of musicians from the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for culture and leisure, Councillor Wendy Simon, just be for the event told us:- "It’s important to never underestimate the value of music education. Studies have found that music plays an essential role in the development of young children academically, physically and emotionally. This is an extremely important consultation and although the map itself is still in development, it gives everyone a broad idea of what provision young people have access to. This is not only a key part of our UNESCO City of Music bid, but it is also part of the city’s commitment to improving music provision at all levels and making sure young people have access to the highest quality and broadest range of music possible. Wednesday’s event will be a valuable forum where experts within the music industry to join young people and have their say on the current situation and what changes could be made in Liverpool in the future."

The consultation event comes following the Henley Review of Music Education - commissioned by the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove - and looks forward to the National Plan for Music Education which is expected to be published later this year.

Simon Glinn, Chairman of the UNESCO City of Music Management Group and Executive Director at Liverpool Philharmonic, which is leading the UNESCO bid on behalf of the city said:- "Music is inherent in Liverpool, entwined with the city’s history, present and future. This is the latest, and final, part of a research process to enable us to relate this musicality as part of our bid to UNESCO, in which we have looked at ways of quantifying and mapping musical activity in all its forms. The story is even more powerful than is first apparent, both in extent and in quality, with groundbreaking music education projects such as In Harmony in West Everton, bringing the acclaimed Venezuelan El Sistema model to England. This is a leading national example led by colleagues at Liverpool Philharmonic."

Liverpool City Council commissioned Creative Universe Ltd. to carry out the mapping exercise which can be seen at:-

Director of Creative Universe, Gordon Ross, who is also working on the bid, said:- "When we began co-ordinating Liverpool's UNESCO City of Music bid and we were happily surprised by just how much live music is performed in the city centre every week. As we began to look at how young people engage with music, we were amazed at the variety of activity taking place. Working with all the partners we hope that, through events like tomorrow's consultation with over 100 representatives of music organisations and activities, we'll be able to build an effective network to improve how young people participate in music training and development in the future."

Also involved in the project are the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Liverpool Music Support Service, Liverpool Youth and Play Service, Youth Music and Arts Culture and Media Enterprise.

FACT announces first Liverpool Arabic Film Festival

FACT is delighted to announce the first ever Liverpool Arabic Film Festival (LAFF) in collaboration with the city’s long-running annual multi-arts event Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival.

Liverpool Arabic Film Festival is the UK's only film festival dedicated to film from the wider Arabic world. LAFF will examine the history and politics of the Arabic-speaking world through the eyes of renegade filmmakers such as the late great Egyptian director Youssef Chahine, as well as contemporaries such as Yousry Nasrallah, Marianne Khoury and Khaled El Hagar, whose films expose the culture and identity of the fluctuating Arabic-speaking countries.

Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival was co-founded by the Bluecoat and Liverpool Arabic Centre in 1998 and the first festival took place in 2002. It has become a hugely popular fixture at the heart of the city’s cultural calendar and remains the only one of its kind in the UK. Over the years the festival has grown to involve more partners from the city’s arts and Arabic communities. In 2011, the festival became completely independent, and appointed a guest curator, Eckhard Thiemann.

This years 7 day festival includes UK premieres of The Man Who Sold The World (2010) by Moroccan/Spanish siblings, The Noury Brothers, and Marianne Khoury and Mustapha Hasnaoui’s documentary, Zelal (2010), alongside re-mastered classics, Cairo Station (1958) and Alexandria, Why? (1979).

The programme also includes discussions with significant Arab filmmakers, such as Imad and Swel Noury,Khaled El Hagar, and
writers Malu Halassa, Brian Whitaker (The Guardian) and Omar El-Khairy.

Festival highlights include:-

Youssef Chahine’s The Land (1969), Cairo Station (1958) and Alexandria, Why? (1979)

A rare opportunity to see a trio of classics by late Egyptian director Youssef Chahine (1926 to 2008) in re-mastered 35mm. Chahine made spectacular melodramas that gave birth to modern Arabic cinema, but his films were controversial - confronting themes such as homosexuality and government corruption.

The UK premiere - Zelal (2010)

The first Arab film to explore mental illness, Marianne Khoury and Mustapha Hasnaoui’s documentary is a journey into two of Cairo’s locked-door hospitals - unveiling run-down psychiatric units and a state culture of neglect and disrepair. The screening will be accompanied by a talk from psychoanalyst, Helen Taylor Robinson.

Microphone (2010)

The North West premiere of Ahmad Abdalla’s award-winning feature length, uncovering the underground art and music scene in Alexandria, Egypt.

UK premiere - The Man Who Sold The World (2010)

An adaptation of Dostoevsky’s short story, A Faint Heart, Moroccan/Spanish siblings Imad and Swel Noury’s The Man That
Sold The World (pictured) is an experimental slice of art house cinema that pays homage to a mixture of European and Arabic influences.

Two Liverpool premieres

FACT presents the Liverpool premiere of Palestinian filmmaker, Michel Khleifi’s first fiction film in over a decade, Zindeeq (2010), as well as auteur Palestinian filmmaker, Elia Suleiman’s latest feature The Time That Remains (2009), which is presented on 35mm and accompanied by a special talk from Palestinian-born playwright, Omar El-Khairy.

FACT Film Programme Curator Omar Kholeif said:- "In a city that houses one of the largest Arab communities in the UK, and the country’s only annual Arabic multi-arts festival, it’s a great moment to launch a film festival showcasing Arabic cinematic talent. It is also especially timely - with the constant changes and restructures in the Arab world."

The 2011 event runs from 4 July to 10 July 2011 at FACT, Liverpool. For more information visit:-

Official partners including FACT are also the Liverpool Philharmonic and National Museums Liverpool.

15 arrested in money laundering investigation

OFFICERS from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) investigating suspected money laundering offences in excess of £200 million have arrested 15 people during early morning raids across the North West, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire on 18 May 2011.  Around 250 investigators from HMRC, assisted by officers from a number of police forces, carried out over 20 property searches in Rochdale, Manchester, Bradford, Southport and Nottingham as part of the enquiry. The arrests come as a result of a long-running HMRC investigation, codenamed Operation Enigma.  HMRC’s Deputy Director for criminal investigation Alan Lee comments:- "Operation Enigma is an HMRC-led investigation targeting money laundering offences. At various stages of the investigation, we have worked closely with colleagues from Greater Manchester Police and West Yorkshire & the Humber Police. Further details cannot be provided at this early stage, as our investigation is continuing. However, our activity today sends out a clear message to those involved in this type of criminality. Attempts to launder the proceeds of crime are treated extremely seriously by HMRC, and we will relentlessly pursue any individuals or crime gangs believed to be actively involved in money laundering."

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