Alex grew up in Telford, Shropshire, and is immensely grateful to that town for instilling within him a desire to move as far away as possible. That desire took Alex first to Manchester, where he attained a first-class honours degree in Music, and then on a 6 month trip around the world, starting in Delhi, India, and working his way across Southeast Asia, Australasia and South America.
It was thanks to this experience that Alex was named one of the Guardian Readers’ Travel Writers of the Year in 2010, an unexpected achievement which eventually led to London, where he joined the team at My Destination as a Travel Content Writer. Once here, Alex was able to indulge in his fascination with the written word, a fondness for referring to himself in the third person, and a deep infatuation with culture and the arts. When he’s not at work, Alex is either travelling to or from work, burning the frying pan, or getting distracted by social media, often at the same time.
Alex’s Top 5 Festival Picks…
1.Taste of India
It’s not just the taste of India you’ll find here, it’s the sights, sounds and smells, the essence of Indian life. There is no other event at Alchemy that will transport you to a different time and place quite so convincingly as this.
2. Pete Lockett Rajasthan Collaboration
In musical circles, Pete Lockett’s name is met with reverence and respect, a startlingly versatile percussionist whose skill and experience is rivalled by few. It’ll be fascinating to see the chemistry he’s established with this group of musicians from the villages north of Jaipur.
3.The Art of Listening
It’s easy to gravitate towards the familiar format of concerts and performances when it comes to the arts, but Alchemy is about so much more than that. The Art of Listening is a chance to learn about how to maximise the concert experience by focussing on how we engage with sound, a skill that is tragically neglected and underestimated by many.
4. Shiraz and the Sabri Ensemble
Combining mediums as only Southbank Centre can, this event will appeal to music and film lovers alike. In typical Indian fashion, it’ll stimulate the senses and inspire the heart, with genre-mixing music set against a visual backdrop that focuses on India’s greatest monument: the Taj Mahal.
When I first saw Shlomo, at a percussion festival in 2007, he completely transformed my concept of what a musician is, and blew my mind in a way that has never been equalled. Although I don’t know a great deal about the other performers, if they’re sharing the bill with Shlomo this event is guaranteed to be unmissable, no doubt a great opportunity to challenge preconceptions and absorb new ideas.