Soul on Ice Festival 2024 presented by Certain Blacks

The Place and Rich Mix
Words: Sophia A Jackson
Published: Saturday 17th February 2024, 19:45pm


Soul on Ice Festival 2024 presented by Certain Blacks
Ari Brown, Katalyst Conversation by Darren Williams

Soul On Ice is the latest festival from Certain Blacks, the East London arts development organisation specialising in celebrating diversity. The programme is named after the seminal 1968 book by the writer, activist and Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver, challenging the way America understood the Civil Rights Movement and Black experience. 

Soul on Ice festival from Certain Blacks makes space for the new, alongside performances by established and pioneering artists. Certain Blacks invite audiences to enjoy a range of creative responses to questions about the human condition, diversity, identity and improvisationSoul on Ice presents five shows at Rich Mix, and opens at The Place.

The programme includes innovative new dance from Extended Play at The Place, music from jazz musicians brought together by Chicago’s Katalyst Conversation, cabaret from The Cocoa Butter Club and circus theatre from Hannah Finn. The festival also includes an afternoon of live art commissions from Bold Mellon Collective and Anna Mudeka‘s music theatre show, Mama Afrika, about Miriam Makeba.

See listings via our  What’s On page


Friday 1 & Saturday 2 March 7.30pm – The Place
How to Build a Universe by Extended Play Tickets £14-£18
Five people find themselves between worlds. Led by a mysterious voice, they set out on an adventure to create a new universe, one shape at a time. As they dance through a cosmic orientation, echoes of past creations rise and fall. New cast members arrive without a map or instructions and a new universe is brought to life, a journey where dance, art, and spontaneity come together. 

How To Build A Universe is the latest from Leeds-based choreographer Jamaal Burkmar. Formed of two parts, the piece showcases Extended Play’s striking movement to intoxicating music, plus improvisation via guest participants. Jamaal Burkmar’s work is about music, the world that music creates and the world that performers inhabit because of this. In 2021 Jamaal became one of ten new Workplace artists at The PlaceHow To Build A Universe is co-produced by The Place and co-commissioned by The Place and Certain Blacks.

Thursday 14 March 7.30pm – Rich Mix
The Katalyst Conversation with Vincent Davis, Ari Brown & Ed Wilkerson & Introducing Preyas Roy. Tickets £18-20
Certain Blacks welcomes Vincent Davis (percussion), Ari Brown (saxophone and flute) and Ed Wilkerson (saxophone and clarinet), free jazz pioneers and former members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) that flourished in Chicago in the late 1960s. Expect free flowing music and conversation from three greats of the international jazz scene with next generation virtuoso, Preyas Roy on vibraphone and marimba.

The Katalyst Conversation began in 2021 with concerts featuring Davis and Brown at The Katalyst Coffee Lounge & Music Gallery in Chicago, an extension of Katalyst Entertainment. As the concept of ‘The Conversation’ was established, Davis invited Wilkerson to join him and Brown as special guest. With these seasoned musicians sharing a common language, it seems natural for this trio to continue exploring a musical dialogue.

Friday 15 March 7.30pm – Rich Mix
The Cocoa Butter Club Tickets £12-15
The Cocoa Butter Club was born as a protest and challenge to the performing arts landscape. Frustrated with the lack of diversity, constant cultural appropriation and other limitations of the cabaret scene, they set out to fill a cultural void. Providing a voice for ‘The Other’, they celebrate performers of colour.

From queer voices often shunned from the mainstream LGBTQ+ zeitgeist to non-white creatives wanting to perform something outside of the expected box. The Cocoa Butter Club strive to ‘decolonise and moisturise’ stages, redistributing the narrative of bodies of colour, providing agency and autonomy in celebrating the capabilities of their artists.

Saturday 16 March 7.30pm – Rich Mix
Chochma – Hannah Finn Contortion Girl Tickets £10-12
Hannah Finn Contortion Girl uses stories of survival from her Jewish ancestors to empower and reconnect with her own strength. Chochma which translates from Hebrew as ‘wisdom and the potential to be’, tells the story of a grandmother’s intuition and migration under the looming shadow of war. Hannah’s work features innovative skills, as well as offering a new perspective on contortion, as she blends her passion, artistry and distinctive outlook.

Saturday 16 March 4pm – Rich Mix
Bold Mellon Collective
An afternoon of live art commissioned by Certain Blacks
Tickets £7-10 including entry to both performance and panel discussion
Give or Take and Trance-fixed in Wonderland: Stranger than Psy-Fi are new works commissioned by Certain Blacks first performed during Ensemble Festival in 2023. Performances will be followed by a panel discussion about how artists address and express issues of diversity, inclusion and identity.

Give or Take from Bold Mellon Collective is an interactive, intimate performance piece that considers gift giving as both an act of remembrance and a contract, bargain and transaction. Devised and performed by Tatar multidisciplinary artist and creative facilitator Emilia Nurmukhamet and queer artist and creative Dear AnnieGive or Take is inspired by Emilia’s memories of giving and receiving ‘sadaqah’, or voluntary offerings, at her Tatar family celebrations and days of remembrance. Combining elements of a live game with stylised storytelling, the piece features a sound score interwoven with live spoken text.

Sunday 17 March 7.30 pm – Rich Mix
Mama Afrika
as told by Anna Mudeka Tickets £10-12
Zimbabwean-born singer, musician and storyteller Anna Mudeka tells the remarkable life story of South African singer, songwriter and civil rights activist, Miriam Makeba, charting her rise from the townships of Johannesburg to global star, forced into exile for her stand against apartheid and marginalised for championing Black rights. Mama Afrika is a story of hope, determination and song, featuring many of Makeba’s best loved songs, including Mbube, Pata Pata and Soweto Blues.

A solo performance by Anna Mudeka produced for audiences of all ages, script is by Zimbabwean writer Tomas Lutuli Brickhill and musical direction by John Vigar at Totena Music with backing soundtrack recorded by Zimbabwean multi-instrumentalist Ziva Guveya. Directed by Tonia Daley-Campbell. Produced by Arts La’Olam. Originally co-commissioned by Norwich Arts Centre and supported by Arts Council England, The Makeba Foundation and Norwich Theatre.

Find out more 

About Certain Blacks
Certain Blacks is an arts development organisation supporting diverse performing artists. Certain Blacks present art from the margins to the mainstream with a wealth of experience producing work in venues and curating outdoor performances. Certain Blacks is based in the Royal Docks and is supported by Arts Council England, and has recently become a National Portfolio Organisation