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By Paul Ainsworth

THE Lower Ormeau has hosted the first ever performance by migrant Roma musicians playing alongside Belfast artists at the inaugural Love Music Hate Racism event.

Held at the An Droichead centre last Saturday, organisers hailed the show as an “unparalleled night of world music”.

The event was held to combat negative racial issues arousing from a community meeting last year where  racist abuse was hurled at members of the Roma community.

In what was hailed as a “significant step”, organiser Gordon Hewitt described how the night saw a varied range of musical styles enjoyed by the crowd.

“This was the first time in Belfast Roma musicians have performed at a non-Roma event,” he said. “It was very well received and has inspired us to look at a future busking event involving Roma performers which we hope to organise over the next month.”

Meanwhile, Love Music Hate Racism’s Charlotte Dryden said demand was high for future performances from those who took part.

“Already since Saturday we have been asked to organise further activities, and we have had enquiries as to the availability of the Roma musicians,” she said.

“We feel already that barriers are being broken which will lead to much more understanding among the diverse elements of our local community. After this success there will be a follow up in March.”


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