Travel & Design Blog - BY YASMIN METZ-JOHNSON

Friday, 30 May 2014

Sasha Keable @ Birthdays, Dalston - Bank Holiday Monday 26/5/2014


I first heard of Sasha Keable when she performed in BBC Radio 1 and 1xtra’s live lounge. It was early last year with the electro house duo Disclosure on a track she features in ‘Voices’ on their highly acclaimed album ‘Settle’. Sasha’s consistently high yet controlled tone is what captured me as for her generous debut EP ‘Black Book’ which includes 8 songs. The EP honestly showcases her songwriting skills and range in what she can do like no other. Black Book is definitely a must listen EP of 2013 alongside the new EP Lemongrass and Limeleaves. If you are into mixed genre music such as Neo Soul meets House and crosses slightly with some Jazz/RnB you will love her mellow but upbeat sound. I would categorise her as modern soul.


Myself and Sasha
Despite the long wait for Miss Keable she certainly made the show worthwhile wearing a dainty white shift dress only she could pull off in killer open toed heels. She commenced with Disclosure’s song before going into her own material with her band of three, who truly created a soothing vibe and experience for the cramped fans. After performing her featuring track she effortlessly belted 2 of her tunes from the first EP ‘Asking for more’ and ‘Careless over you’. An element of the evening I appreciated was how the harmonious singer would reveal the meaning of the song and its thought process before beginning each song making not only her sound more relatable but allowing the audience in to her mind a little, especially as she performed her heart felt song ' Memory'. Midway throughout the gig Sasha elegantly sang a beautiful cover of Anita Baker’s 80's classic 'Sweet Love' before surprising everyone with a spontaneous garage mix of the same cover. It went down a storm with the crowd at the sold out venue as everybody was soon enough dancing. At this point I seriously didn't want the night to end anytime soon but I can't help but feel as if my thought jinxed things as she then mentioned she was performing her last song, a new song 'Living without you' from the recently released Lemongrass and Limeleaves.


I loved the show but when it came to the end I couldn’t help but feel as if I paid £1 per song. I wish she performed more of her material, however saying that without a doubt we did get our money’s worth. Not many artists can pull off a decent garage mix of an 80's track, a big highlight of the night for me. Amazing show, keep it up Sasha!



Asking for more..

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Thursday, 29 May 2014

My short stay in Freetown.


Before I made my return to the UK I was able to stay in Freetown, Sierra Leone for a couple of days before taking my connecting flight. Sierra Leone is only an hour away via plane from Dakar. I have visited Salone many times in the past as I am of Sierra Leonean descent with many family members still living there. What I mostly admire about my motherland is the scenery and layout of everlasting mountains (Serra de Leāo is translated as Lioness Mountains by Portuguese explorer Pedro de Sintra when discovering the now Freetown harbour). During my short stay I was able to see some of my friends and family as well as buy a red velvet cheesecake or Oreo milkshake (my favorites!) from the new and popular dessert house ‘Gina’s.  Sunday I spent the whole day at Sussex (40 minutes away from the capital city, Freetown). I went to the Seafood restaurant Franco’s with family friends and once again I found myself mesmerized by the radiant sunset as we enjoyed the grand portions of shrimps over a few glasses of wine. Until next time Salone!




Unfinished church
Mango Season!



The view of Sussex outside at Franco's seafood restaurant.

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WIS: My weekend in Saint Louis



This post is a little overdue but here it is, a photo collection of my time in Saint Louis! I spent my last weekend in Saint Louis, Senegal which is located in the northwest of the country. I went with two friends I made and met in Dakar. It is 5 hours away from the capital and we took a coach there and back, a journey I will never do again in the space of a weekend. I wished I had spent longer than the weekend as I feel there was still so much to see of the town and in fact I had only seen a marginalized sector of the area also known as 'Ndar' in the native language Wolof.


We walked around the colourful coast which is famous for its fish and salt exporting. I immediately noticed the difference between the city life of Dakar and Saint Louis in terms of transportation. Here in S. Louis the taxi driver will fill the taxi with multiple passengers whereas the taxis in Dakar are rightfully, to yourself until you have reached your chosen destination. Also they use the horse and carriage mode of transport which I had not seen since I saw the chariots on my visit to Keur Katim, Koulack. As we walked through the old suburb I admired the faded and historic look of the houses alongside their distorted look. During my short stay I ate at Hotel Sindone. The food was great and the venue had indoor and outdoor seating however regardless of where we chose to sit and eat there was no escaping the mosquitos. We also swam at Hotel Mermoz which was refreshingly calm due to its location.

During our walk around the town the following day, we randomly visited a Dak'art exhibition called 'Meissa Fall'. This is where two artists had created a room filled with recycled features from mostly abandoned bikes. This was a captivating view as they cleverly compiled it on the surrounding walls alongside other souvenir figures made out of the same material. Saint Louis I am sorry I didn't come earlier in my stay but better late than never!






















Hotel Mermoz


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Monday, 19 May 2014

The things I will miss about Dakar/ Why you should visit Dakar!


  Colours :
I have never seen so much use of colour in one place! From the street walls, to the buses, it really is a sight.




   Hospitality:
 Senegalese people are the most friendly people as a nation I have come across, regardless of language barriers. For example it would be considered odd/strange if you didn’t greet the person you barely knew.




Café Touba: 
A colleague during my internship introduced me to this drink, I am not a coffee drinker but I love café Touba (especially with lemon/citron). In Dakar it is easy to find a man who sells it as they are usually carrying low metal steam pot with them instead of the N’est café cartes.



Food Senegalese dishes and fruits:
 As you can imagine the fruit here tastes amazing, especially the mangoes, (its currently mango season). Unlike a lot of West Afican countries, the Senegalese do not use hot pepper spices and if they do it is usually on the side. Saying that  the food still has a remarkable taste.



Coffee come’s to you:
 Ok it doesn’t come to you but it come’s close enough! I love this element of Dakar that you will never look to hard to spot a man and his coffee carte.



Ataaya: 
Ataaya is a traditional Senegal tea including mint and herbs, it
is usually taken after lunch and is very high in sugar. As my pictures show I could drink it for days!





New friends:
I’ve made some amazing new friends from different places around the world, seriously, I can not actually believe the amount of nationalies of people I encountered with (who I would not have met if I did not travel here otherwise.



 Peaceful
They have really nice and calm beach resorts as well as being a generally safe country.


Mamelle beach
  No such thing as ‘right place, right time’:
This is one element I really admire about the people of Senegal, the devotion to their faith and religion. As soon as prayer time arrives it doesn’t matter where they are indoors or outside they will pray despite wherever they are. Another example is the photo I took below of these men casually playing Chess near my work. Something I would never see people doing in the UK, well not outside.




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