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What does home mean? Where is it? Is it a physical place or a state of mind? Should we nurture our roots – could they otherwise die? Do we have only one home?
The intricate concept of home has shaped almost all of Ahmed Masoud’s and Laura Ryhänen’s art. Whether it is writing books, music, singing or dancing, the quest to define what home is has been the core of their work, searching for an identity that once clearly defined them. A Palestinian writer and director sharing the meaning of home with a Finnish singer and songwriter, realise that coming from different sides of the globe is no impediment to sharing the exact feelings and emotions to what home is. When the two first met, they realised that their work is identical albeit in a different language and in different artistic genres.
An evening packed with readings from Ahmed Masoud’s novel Vanished – The Mysterious Disappearance of Mustafa Ouda and Laura Ryhänen’s interpretations of ancient Finnish songs.
Ahmed Masoud is a writer and director who 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 is a Finnish singer and songwriter, who moved to the UK in 2006. Aftermoving 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 other 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. The 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.