Soca News: Sunshine’s Ray welcome back

We were welcomed back at Soca News for another interview – below is the article, or you can view it on the Soca News website here.

Warm welcome from Sunshine’s Ray in Coldharbour Lane

By Stephen Spark

Can it really be a year since Soca News popped along to the opening of C.A.F.E.? Apparently so, for C.A.F.E.’s founder, Ray Mahabir – better known to many of us as the leader of Sunshine International Arts mas band and the designer who brought South Connection many notable successes – is celebrating the venue’s first anniversary with a series of events between 28th April and 12th May.

Studio 5, 209a Coldhabour Lane, is a seething cauldron of creativity under the railway spaghetti tangle of Loughborough Junction. It’s fair to say that LJ hasn’t yet acquired the same sort of cutting-edgy grime-glam of Hoxton or Brixton, but Ray is working on it – just as, 50 years ago, pioneers from Trinidad used their creative flair to transform sum-riddled Notting Hill into one of the most desirable areas of the capital.

Over the past 12 months Ray has built C.A.F.E. into a true community resource. It hasn’t been easy, he admitted – how could it be in the worst economic recession for a century? – but he and his team have persevered. Just getting this far is well worth a celebration, and it all kicks off on Sunday 28th April with Brixton Underground Film Factory’s ‘Lyrics 4 Love, Food ‘n Film’, which will include a showing of Love Jones, lyricists OneNess and Bro Breis and of course Caribbean food.

Forget the diet for a day or two, because cakes seem to be a theme – there will be a free cake with all drinks during 1st May’s knitting session. And free cake and cream all day is the way Ray plans to lure you in to celebrate C.A.F.E.’s first birthday on Friday 3rd May. If that’s not enough, Creative Unity Steel Band will be playing in the evening, when Caribbean food and rum punch will be available. More cakes feature in the kids’ craft project on Saturday morning, while in the afternoon there’s a free cake when you buy a hot drink, which should provide some sort of creative stimulus if you decide to join the group crocheting flowers for the café’s garden. Thursdays are dedicated to the arts and craft of Carnival, while for those inspired by BBC’s ‘Great British Sewing Bee’ series there are sewing and alteration classes every Friday.

After a week of cake you’ll certainly need C.A.F.E.’s ‘Sunday Morning Stretch Out with Ali Juice’ on 5th May, though maybe the Moroccan lunch will undo all the good work.

The following Sunday, 12th May (and the second Sunday of the month thereafter), is the big one – Sunday Soca @ De Arches – when C.A.F.E.’s countdown to Carnival begins. From 6pm to midnight there’ll be music by Dokta Myx, a chance to look at this year’s costumes and, Ray promises, a great Caribbean atmosphere. And did we mention the food?

• C.A.F.E. is opposite Loughborough Junction station, and the 35, 45, 345 and P4 buses run past the door. Details of opening hours, events and ticket prices at www.sunshineiarts.co.uk, or email: admin@sunshineiarts.co.uk, or phone Ray on 07881 571743.

Categories: Press