Spotlight on Music – Supporting refugees through music

Refugee Support, an international volunteer organisation helping refugees rebuild their lives by providing short-term, essential aid is staging a festival fundraiser in Balham on November 3.

The charity’s popular Dignify Festival will be returning this year to the Bedford pub in Bedford Hill, Balham.

Sarah Jane Morris

The event will bring established and upcoming music and comedy acts to raise funds to support the resettlement of Afghan refugees in the UK with essential food and hygiene items.

This year’s Dignify line-up includes singer Sarah Jane Morris,  a regular performer at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, who is known for her astonishing vocal range.

She first made an impact singing the low bits on The Communards’s 1986 cover hit Don’t Leave Me This Way.

She has performed with many groups over the years, from rock to soul to African blues, with classical orchestras, a 100 cello ensemble, with acoustic guitars and jazz big bands.

Her voice, her versatility, and her emotional intelligence – the absolute authenticity of feeling which she conveys – make her a compelling performer.

Also on the bill are:

North London alternative R&B artist, Catching Cario – she has worked on Chase and Status’ label MTA and SHY FX’s Digital Soundboy.

Catching Cairo

She has had radio support from MistaJam, Annie Mac, Friction, David Rodigan and Beats 1, Capital Xtra, BBC R1, 1Xtra and BBC R6.

She specialises in lyrical vulnerability and clarity, a lucid British sultry vocal combined with new-fashioned production.

Welsh jazz singer Ian Shaw has hosted the BBC Radio 2 show Big Band Special, a jazz show on BBC South with Charlie Crocker.

He won in the Best Jazz Vocalist category at the BBC Jazz Awards in 2004 and 2007.

Contemporary R&B British-French artist, Gracie Convert, labelled an emerging talent by Notion and Guap.

Her love of R&B, Hip-Hop and Rap is demonstrated through her radio show on Soho Radio Multinational Solar Strides, an indie rock band formed from the outskirts of London.

Influenced by an array of genres, from 1960s British rock to R&B and soul, the band blends nostalgic tones with contemporary songwriting for an authentically dynamic sound.

Gracie Convert

There is also classic rock guitarist, Karma Sheen and music band, S.O.L Collective, who released their debut album just before lockdown.

Blingo – Hip Hop Bingo will provide the evening’s entertainment with lip sync battles and dance-offs.

In addition to money raised from the event’s tickets, Refugee Support will benefit from further funds raised through drinks sales as a result of a donation by Jack Daniels, who have offered to supply alcohol for the event.

Karma Sheen is a Hindustani classical Raaga infused music with an aromatic fragrance of rock’n’roll.

The Sound of London (SOL) Collective. An exciting, London-based musical collective and collaboration, figure-headed by rising stars, guitarist Ollie Clark and percussionist James Larter.

A unique mix of Brazilian, Blues, classical and Latin American music.

SOL Collective

Paul Hutchings, co-founder of Refugee Support, said: “Aid With Dignity is at the heart of everything we do at Refugee Support.

Refugees must be respected as individuals and given the right to lead normal lives where they can exercise their own choices.

“Our work is only possible through the donations we receive from generous members of the public and corporate sponsors who recognise that refugees have a right to dignity.

“We are thrilled that Dignify is back again for another year at The Bedford and hugely grateful to Jack Daniels for their generous donation.”


For more information on Dignify or to buy tickets for the event, go to  
For information on the charity, visit



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