Brookes staff performance explores the concept of home at OutBurst 2017

Thursday, 13 April 2017

HOME/LESS OutBurst 2017

Three members of Oxford Brookes University staff have collaborated to bring an evening of live entertainment, inspired by their different cultures, to this year’s OutBurst festival.

The unique performance, entitled HOME/LESS, combines Palestine stories with Finnish folk songs and explores the concept of roots, home and migration.

Members of the group include writer and director Ahmed Masoud and Finnish singer songwriter Laura Ryhänen, both of whom also work in Oxford Brookes International. The pair is joined by Dr Mikko Kuisma, Senior Lecturer in International Relations who plays the harmonium throughout the performance.

The intricate concept of home and our quest to define what home is has been the core of our work, whether it is writing books, making music, singing or dancing.

Laura Ryhänen, International Exchange and Study Abroad Manager, Oxford Brookes University

Commenting about what brought the group together, Laura who will provide the vocals and play the Kantele in the performance said: “Although we are all from different sides of the globe, Ahmed, Mikko and I realised we all shared the same feelings and emotions about what home means to us – our art as individuals was identical, albeit in different languages and artistic genres.

“The intricate concept of home and our quest to define what home is has been the core of our work, whether it is writing books, making music, singing or dancing.

“We are very excited to share our combined performance with the OutBurst audience this year.”

During the performance, the audience can expect an evening packed with readings from Ahmed’s novel Vanished : The Mysterious Disappearance of Mustafa Ouda - a fictional story following a young boy trying to find his father, set against the political unrest in Palestine – alongside Laura’s interpretations of ancient Finnish songs.

The group have previously performed at the Oxford Human Rights Festival and at Reading International Festival.

The HOME/LESS performances will take place on Friday 5 May; HOME/LESS: Readings, Music and Song at 7.00pm and HOME/LESS: Dabke Dance Taster Session at 8.15pm, at Pegasus theatre, Magdalen Road as part of the OutBurst festival.

Tickets can be bought via the Pegasus website and Box Office.

OutBurst is an annual festival at the Pegasus theatre showcasing ideas, activities and entertainment inspired by the research and teaching at Oxford Brookes University. It takes place between the 4-6 May 2017. More information and the full programme of events can be found at

About HOME/LESS performers

Ahmed Masoud grew up in Palestine and moved to the UK in 2002. His theatre credits include Go to Gaza, Drink the Sea (London and Edinburgh 2009), Escape from Gaza (BBC Radio 4, 2011), Walaa Loyalty (London 2014, funded by Arts Council England).

Ahmed is the founder of Al Zaytouna Dance Theatre (2005) where he wrote and directed several productions in London, with subsequent European Tours.

After finishing his PhD research, Ahmed published many journals and articles including a chapter in Britain and the Muslim World: A historical Perspective (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011). An earlier version of Vanished won the Muslim Writers Awards (London 2011 supported by Penguin Books).

Laura Ryhänen moved to the UK in 2006. After moving to Germany in 1996, Laura became a founding member and lead singer of the FinnTango band Vaaralliset Huulet and folk trio Jääräpäät.

Since 2006 she has been the lead singer of the Finnish tango band Uusikuu. Laura has also been active in Finnish-Argentinian tango fusion projects collaborating with bandoneonist Marcelo Nisinman and singer Fernando Miceli. Laura’s other project is the group Kallaton, where she, together with Hungarian singer Katalin Horvath, explores the ancient Finno-Ugric culture. Kallaton was the finalist of German world music price Creole in southern Germany in 2013.

Laura’s key collaborators throughout the years have included Drum 'n' Bass producers Simon V and Resound and singer-songwriter Mäkkelä. In addition to recording and performing across Europe, Laura has been involved in film and theatre productions in Germany.

Her newest project is KAIHO – The State in Between together with the dance theatre Justice in Motion. It concentrates on stories of migrant women, their feelings and experiences combining modern dance and the rare Finnish tango.