Joy Miessi – Music From The Middle

27th July 2018 6:30pm – 10:00pm

Music From The Middle is a collaborative, musical response to Joy Miessi’s debut solo exhibition — Do You Know Your Middle?at 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning. Curated by sibling creative collectives, Touching Bass and Finding Soul, the evening will explore the sonic roots of Joy’s Central African heritage in a warm, living room setting reminiscent of home.

Live performances come via two of London’s brightest wordsmiths: rapper, spoken word artist and Steam Down family member Brother Portrait and BORN::FREE co-founder, Belinda Zhawi, backed by an equally incredible Afro-Caribbean rhythm section Ahnanse (Steam Down), Shirley Tetteh (Nerija, Maisha) and Onome (KOKOROKO). Touching Bass selectors Alex Rita and Andwot bookend the performances with sounds of the African diaspora from the lobby area.

Joy Miessi’s ‘Do You Know Your Middle?’ is open from 6-27 July. This event has been made possible thanks to Yetu Management and Raw Material

Please Note: This event is free to attend but spaces are extremely limited so only RSVP if you can absolutely make it. If you can no longer come, please email so we can allocate spare tickets appropriately.


Ahnanse — Saxophone

Belinda Zhawi — Poet

Brother Portrait — Poet/Rapper

Shirley Tetteh — Guitar

Onome  — Percussion

Andwot (Touching Bass) — DJ

Alex Rita (Touching Bass) — DJ



6:30pm — Doors open

7pm — DJs start

8:15pm — Session starts

9pm — DJs start

10pm — End





Joy Miessi is an artist based in London. Joy translates moments, conversations, feelings and intimate thoughts into visual pieces for reflection. Inspired by shop fronts in Kinshasa to punk posters in Camden, Joy Miessi takes inspiration from everyday life. Socio-political themes are reoccurring in Joy’s present work and are translated through abstract shapes, figures and writing.



Finding Soul is the artistic collaboration between interdisciplinary artist Rohan Ayinde, curator Yewande “YoYo” Odunubi and filmmaker Tayo Rapoport – three strands of the multi-vibrational movement of soul-vibe-bringers, Touching Bass. In 2017, the group hosted their first exhibition of the same name; rooted in a deep respect for the texture, or ‘soul’ of our intertwined communities of London creatives, the exhibition used photography, poetry, film and spatial design to offer a unique reflection of the energy that unites people.



Andwot and Alex Rita (Sounds Of The Universe/Steam Down) are the two leading lights behind London’s Touching Bass: a movement of London-based soul disciples who hold down a biweekly NTS Radio residency, an innovative discussion/live music series called Speaking In Sound which explores the past, present and future of black-oriented music as well as a regular dance (communicated via texting service) among other creative endeavours.

Over the last three years, the Touching Bass dance has become a playground for soulful music of all kinds; a space unbounded by genre and lead by feeling instead. The pair have been slowly taking this approach across London and international dancefloors, with a debut Australian/Japan tour in March 2018 and appearances at Field Day 2018 (warming up for Erykah Badu) plus multiple appearances at cultural institutions including the BFI (at the official UK Premiere of Black Panther), ICA and TATE Britain/Modern.



Ahnanse is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer born in London from Caribbean heritage. His musical development has been tied in with questions of how creativity contributes to the world and society. Is music just for entertainment and enjoyment or is there capacity for more within this creative form?

As a prominent member of the London music scene, he has worked with the likes of Shabaka Hutchings, Yussef Kamaal, 2000Black, the Outlook Orchestra, Jordan Rakei and Melt Yourself Down, to name a few.

In late 2017 Ahnansé set up a weekly music event called Steam Down. It has since become one of South London’s most spoken about events: an event where some of the finest musicians in town come to let loose. It’s about dance. It’s about knowledge. It’s about community and of course – the music.



Belinda Zhawi is a Zimbabwean born writer and educator who lives and works in London. Her work mostly focuses on memories of living in rural and urban Zimbabwe. She has performed across the UK in numerous venues, festivals and events including at Africa Writes, Bestival, TATE with her work published in the anthologies Liminal Animals and Casagrande: Rain Of Poems. In 2013, Zhawi featured on Channel 4’s Random Acts and has also co-founded the monthly poetry night, BORN::FREE. Zhawi was recently shortlisted for 2015/16 Young Poet Laureate’s London role.



Brother Portrait writes and that; words falling into form in poetry, prose, musings and music. Before Steam Down you might have seen him at a Shop Floor Sessions jam, with Vulpes Vulpes or maybe with the Naew Funk poets or trading bars with his Black/Other brothers.



Onome is the percussionist in London based, Afrobeat 8-piece band, KOKOROKO. They play music they love, grew up to and their parents got funky to. Inspired by Fela Kuti, Ebo Taylor, Tony Allen and the great sounds that come out of West Africa, we put on a performance to honour the masters that taught us. He also manages his family charity, Kori, which looks to support the development of children and young people aged 5-25 years; especially those facing temporary or permanent exclusion and those seeking international learning and volunteering opportunities across Europe and Africa.



Guitarist Shirley Tetteh began her journey into jazz with Tomorrow’s Warriors. In demand as a player, she currently features in Jazz Jamaica, Groundation, female collective Nérija (Jazz FM Awards nominee for Breakthrough Act of the Year), Maisha, Huw Marc Bennett Quintet and many more. Tetteh has publishing and record deals with Lucky Number Music and is keen to explore the ways of combining jazz and left field pop, while forging ahead with bands Nerija and Maisha, who present high-quality original improvised music to a younger, wider audience.


This event is proudly supported by: