Take Five with Sonny Dhanowa

 

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Photo credit: Hans van der Linden

Meet Sonny Dhanowa from Trowbridge in the UK.

 

After studying Biological and Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Exeter, then working for ten years, Sonny (pictured right) decided on a total change of field and direction and pursued a new career in music and business. If you are familiar with the social media of Antwerp’s vibrant music scene, you may have noticed Casa De Sonny events on your feed. These evenings take place for free in Sonny’s stylish Italiëlei apartment, and showcase local and visiting musicians. 

Having been to one of these, I was curious to learn about what inspired Sonny to do this here in Antwerp …

So who are you and what are you doing here in Antwerp?

I’m Sonny Dhanowa from Trowbridge, UK (nearish to Bristol). I was living in Barcelona, Spain for thirteen years before coming here three years ago, and before that I was in London. I’m a DJ/ producer and general music lover. I’m using Antwerp as a base of operations while I kick start different music related projects.

 I went to a Casa de Sonny evening, and would love to come again. It seemed a very unusual event -what prompts someone to open the doors of their home for free and making no profit, as a hang-out for people who they do not know?

I’ve been promoting nights- on and off- for most of my adult life; from the standard party with DJs to more elaborate and unusual nights involving different cultural aspects such as bands /film /dance/spoken word. I was extremely fortunate to move into a nice large loft-style apartment when I arrived in Antwerp, so the decision was basically made for me. And as I’ve found Antwerp to be quite an expensive city, it was easy not-charging people entrance and tell them to bring their own drinks. I believe in uniting people through community projects regardless of age, race, gender, language … but also regardless of wealth. I also LOVE meeting new people!

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What should we be looking out for at Casa de Sonny, or on the Antwerp music scene in the near future?

As per usual, I’ll be holding an eclectic mix of events over the following months: singer-songwriters, comedy nights, African music nights, and even album launches from local hip-hop artists. From an Antwerp perspective, there is way too much going on, I actually have a hard time keeping up with everything!

My next night is on the 14th of July – Ants Jeffares (NZ) & Jo Laureys (BE)

What are your favourite Antwerp hang-outs and venues & why?

My favourite hang-out is my flat! But apart from the obvious, I love chilled out bars, Crossroads Café is a personal favourite -mainly because it’s the closest bar to where I live, but also because they have live music events and jam sessions.

 

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logo design by Zwarfprod

What are your current (or near-future) projects and aspirations?

I’m gearing up to release an album in September on a small record and apparel label I’m in the process of setting up: Blue Ghost Records and Apparel. 

With my long-time collaborator, Daniel Roberts, we form the duo, “Dekalog”. Our first release, “Een: Bread and Circuses”, is with Antwerp jazz singer, Fien Desmet, and Ghent/London based rapper Amazumi, and also features contributions from musicians from various parts of the world.

 

Intrigued? Check out these links to find out more:

Casa de Sonny on Facebook and on Instagram

Blue Ghost Records on Instagram

With many thanks to Sonny Dhanowa for this interview and for the images used in this post.

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This Weekend in Antwerp: 25th, 26th & 27th May

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It’s Antwerp Art Weekend all weekend. Take the opportunity to discover some of the many galleries  and art spaces around the city. Here is the agenda for the weekend, and don’t forget to swing by de Studio, which functions as a hub for the event, and provides information and directions about what is happening as part of Antwerp Art Weekend.

Here’s the Google map you need for this weekend!

Friday

Critical Mass assembles on Theaterplein at 6pm to mark 20 Years of Critical Mass in Belgium with an hour’s cycling through the city.

Flying Pig is on Grote Markt from 5pm

Saturday

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 22.14.26At Bocadero (Waagnatie) it’s Feria Andaluza -a festival of Spanish culture, which is free to enter, and which continues on Sunday. It’s open from 12- 12. Enjoy traditional music, dance, food and drink from Spain.

Also showcasing its national -the Thai Embassy are hosting a Thai Weekend on Groenplaats, also over both days from 10am – 7pm. Dance, music, food and handmade Thai products will be available at over 70 stands on Saturday and Sunday.

It’s the ABC-markt (Antiek, Boeken, Brocante & Curiosa) at Den Beulebak from 11am -5pm.

If you are feeling energetic, it’s the Rivierenhof Run 2018 and if you did not register, you can do so on the day between 12 and 3pm. Kids run for free.

And London Calling celebrates all things Morrisssey and The Smiths at Ampere. Come and enjoy the tunes of England’s favourite musical curmudgeon, along with other Britpop tracks.

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London Calling at Ampere

 

Sunday

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Feria Andalusa is open from 12 -10pm (see above).

Thai weekend continues on Groenplaats.

Billed as a ‘slice of New Orleans on The Schelde’ Brasspartij 3 takes place at Harmonie Park thought other styles will also be represented:  funk, balkan, ska, drum’n’bass … as five Belgian bands battle for the winning title, from 1.30pm onwards.

 

 

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Photo by Murat Ustuntas on Unsplash

Kite flying enthusiasts will enjoy this Vlieger Happening on Linkeroever from 1.30pm featuring some professional kiteflying stunts, kids entertainment and the chance to make your own kite if you do not have one. Vlieger Happening takes place on the Middenvijver (August van Cauwelaertlaan).

And art lovers will be pleased to know that Lambermontmatre is starting up again for the summer. This monthly art market showcases and offers for sale the work of local artists, painters and photographers. There’s a Ricard bar, as well as other drinks and snacks. There’s also always live music (2.30pm and 5pm) and a relaxed atmosphere, just right for a warm Sunday afternoon.

Finally, best wishes and congratulations to Grade 12 students of Antwerp International School for the graduation ceremony today!

The weather is predicted to be warm again (21 -22 degrees) though with some clouds. There may be a little rain on Friday.

Beyond Nessascityblog

It’s been really great to have worked with other interesting people recently. I’ve been pretty busy!

Firstly I wrote  Three Great Spots For When The Sun Is Shining which was published on the Stad Antwerpen website and optimistically describes three places in the city you might want to check out if the weather holds out …

Next I wrote this guest post  about 5 Antwerp destinations for the blog Discovering Belgium.

NonnativeblueyellowLast Monday, I was delighted to publish a guest post by Laura Soave of Nonnative – a must-read if you are new or recently arrived in Antwerp.

I also thoroughly enjoyed myself in conversation with comedian Nigel Williams  of Stand Up Antwerp. You can hear the podcast of that conversation here. It is the first of a new series of weekly podcasts that Nigel is working called “Babbel Without A Cause” about members of the expat community inAntwerp.

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Stand- Up Antwerp

I was also interviewed for The Bulletin and look forward to sharing that soon.

Anyway, this all serves of a reminder of how nice it is to work with others, so if you have an Antwerp idea for Nessascityblog that you would like to contribute, or something you would like written for your own publication, please get in touch.

Miscellaneous

Next Wednesday is the last of the month, so Antwerp city museums are free on that day (30th May)

Sinksenfoor (annual funfair) is underway in Park Spoor Oost and it is HUGE. We went last weekend and had a great time. It’s on until 24th June. And you can print out some vouchers for deals and reductions on rides & food here.

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This weekend: 21st, 22nd & 23rd April

NEXT POST: THURSDAY 27TH APRIL, FOR THE MAY DAY WEEKEND (LABOUR DAY) IN ANTWERP

Here’s the GOOGLE MAP FOR THIS WEEKEND

Friday

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Jacqueline van Castre #2 by Sacha Eckes

Last chance to catch the Life Will Be Great Soon exhibition at Praetoria Gallery: the finissage is this evening from 6-9pm

Saturday

It’s Record Store Day! In Antwerp Coffee & Vinyl, Fatkat Records, Wally’s Groove World, and Tune Up Records will be taking part. See their individual pages for details about events and live performances in-store. Record stores are marked with the Record Store Day logo on the Google Map.

More for music fans at Rock Berchem Festival (free).

At Antwerp Airport in Deurne it’s Luchtvaartdag (Aviation Day).

Sunday

It’s the Antwerp 10 Miles & Marathon Here’s the program; the first run begins at 9am.

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The Red Star Line Museum

It’s Heritage Day across Flanders. You can do a search of the many activities. The theme of this year’s Heritage Day is Care. So for, example, the Red Star Line Museum offer a guided tour which focuses on the role of the medical checks to which emigrants were subjected before departing Antwerp in Have You Been To The Doctor Yet? All city run museums are free on Heritage Day, and the Plantin Moretus museum will be holding a mini-food truck festival, with drinks and dishes prepared using herbs from their herb garden.

There’s a Vegan Pot Luck from 1pm at Cargo Summer Bar in Park Spoor Noord. Bring your vegan picnic with dishes to share in order to join in.

From 11 until 1pm kids aged 6-12 can enjoy some creative play at the library making pictures with a food theme.

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There’s an Easter Egg Hunt for kids over in the Militair Domein (Groen Kwartier) from 11am it is free but you have to register on a form in the Groen Kwartier Delhaize or in the bakery there.

And the garage sale at Steegsken 6 continues; Sundays throughout April (11am- 6pm) until May 7th.

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Miscellaneous

The weather should be mild with a slight chance of showers on Saturday morning, but Sunday is predicted to be dry. Temperatures of around 11 degrees, at best.

This English-speaking comedy night on Wednesdays is on my to-do list. Have you been?

Also, don’t forget that the last Wednedsay of the month means free entry to city museums (Plantin Moretus,  Museum Mayer van den Bergh,  Rockox, MAS and The Red Star Line Museum).

Don’t forget to find and follow Nessascityblog on …

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This Weekend: 13th, 14th & 15th May

It’s Pentecost weekend, so maybe you have a long weekend due to Whit Monday, which is a public holiday in Belgium. Once again there are a few events occurring over the whole weekend (and some on Monday too). These include:-

BarriocantinaTRUCKpic– The Barrio Cantina Food Trucks Festival at Steen. This is a great location for this event, although some of the food is pricey -if you are planning on going with your family, it will be expensive if you are all eating the equivalent of a meal. However, it is OK for a snack, and there are usually some nice kids activities (last year they had cupcake decorating and face painting). Also on Monday.

– Five Years of MAS (also until Monday)- Follow the link to order tickets for the whole weekend which will get you access to all museum rooms for 3 days for 5 euros (free to under- 12s). There will be other events on the square around the museum. As you are probably aware, I am keen on recycling/ upcycling and eco events, so I am going to particularly draw your attention to an Upcycling Workshop from Het Vindingrijk at 5pm on the Saturday!

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Plein Publiek

 

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– ‘Fierensweekend’ at Plein Publiek -DJs, exhibitions, brunch, music, second hand market….

– And Sinksenfoor – Antwerp’s annual funfair-held previously at the Zuiderdokken -which will be on until 19th June at Spoor Oost.

 

 

Friday

Do you need your bike fixed? Take it along to the  Repair Café at ‘t Werkhuys from 5pm.

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A-Tower

 

Klub Goud is opening on the 21st floor of the A-Tower (11pm) Tickets are 10 euros on the door or order online beforehand. Alternatively at the same location there is Bar Gloed on the 4th floor, which has been open for a couple of weeks now for food and drinks. It has a nice terrace (complete with sand pit for kids) with views of the station building and of Meir, and Pretbederf from 9pm.

 

 

Another summer bar, Bocadero opens today at midday (near Waagnatie) by the river, until the 4th September.

 

 

 

Saturday

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Café Storm & MAS

 

International Fair Trade Day will be marked in the Oxfam ‘Wereldwinkel’ on Minderbroedersrui and focuses on the sugar trade.

Concept store st vincents opens its doors at 3pm for a festival of food, design, fashion, music and gin on Kleine Markt.

This weekend’s fleamarket can be found on Sint Jansplein, 9am -6pm.

Café Storm at MAS (also celebrating its 5 year birthday, as previously mentioned) celebrates six years with a party -free entry before midnight.

 

 

Sunday

Permeke Library has its regular monthly Sunday book market on De Coninckplein and at the same time there will be a  piano marathon taking place (10am -6pm). Both the book fair and its musical accompaniment are free.

The PVDA have a full schedule on offer at their 2016 Diversity Festival in Park Spoor Noord from 2pm

 

sun-159378_640Alas, the weather is unlikely to be as good as last weekend. Friday likely to be warmest, but with a high chance of showers. Saturday and Sunday predicted to be mild and cloudy, with some sunny spells on Sunday. Showers possible.
(image: Pixabay)

 

 

Miscellaneous

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basketball on Sint- Andriesplaats

Still three more chances to get free basketball sessions for your 6+ kids in various squares around the city (2-4pm; 3-5pm on Sint Jansplein).

 

Born in Antwerp is a Stad Antwerpen supported creative initiative taking place until October of this year. An app will keep you informed of events, or you can follow the agenda online.

 

 

 

50If you’d like to see some free midweek stand- up comedy, then head to Kelly’s Irish Pub on Keyserlei on alternate Thursday nights (starting this week). They are starting a program of international comedy acts, starting with Jason Waddell, described as “straight outta Texas with jokes and a certain je-ne-sais-quoi. What that exactly is, is something for you to find out during the show!”

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…Yes, I know it has a new logo, but no one likes it!

 

!!! New for Nessascity: The blog is now on Instagram -Give us a follow for additional pictures of weekend events which are mentioned here- as they happen, or shortly afterwards.

 

…And of course, Nessascityblog is still on Twitter.

 

 

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