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Dash Cafés

Dash Cafes Revolution17

The Revolution17 series of of Dash Cafés explored the lands, people, stories and cultures of the Post Soviet States - searching for a deep understanding of the region before, during and since the Soviet Union. The conversations that emerged in the Dash Cafes exploded with new perspectives and presented extraordinary artists, as a culmination of Dash Arts artistic journey of development.

Five Years with Dash Arts in the Post-Soviet World

22 November 2017 | Rich Mix, London | FREE

The November Cafe  reflected on Dash Arts' five-year journey through the Post-Soviet world. This last Revolution17 Dash Café looked back on these last five years with a group of exceptional colleagues and friends including journalist Oliver Bullough and playwright Natalia Vorozhbit who will help us explore how politics and the arts have changed over the period. Plus there’ll be live music from our great collaborators Mazaika and Sasha Ilyukevich and tunes from DJ Mourrka who have performed with us many times since 2012. 

Revolution - 100 Years On

25 October  2017 | Rich Mix, London | FREE

Held on the anniversary of the October Revolution a century ago, October's Dash Cafe explored the impact on the revolutionary events of 1917 on Russia today. Participating artists, activists and writers included Charlotte Hobson, award-winning novelist, translator and journalist, and author of "Black Earth City" and "The Vanishing Futurist", and Vladimir Ashurkov, Russian dissident and colleague of anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny to look back and reflect on the potential for a future Russian Revolution that might shake the world.

The talks were accompanied by music from unmissable Russian singer-songwriter Lena Kaufman,  Based between Moscow and Paris, composing and performing both as a soloist and in collaboration with groups including Bristol-based "White Bully", "Truffle", "Triangle Sun" and top-10 Russian band “Би-2”/"Bedva", Lena also composes music for theatre including Moscow's Meyerhold Theatre.

Lena Kaufman

On Meyerhold

27 September 2017 | Rich Mix, London | FREE

September's Dash Cafe celebrated the life, work and exceptional influence of Vsevolod Meyerhold. When the Bolsheviks took power in Russia in October 1917 the young theatre director was the radical, star pupil of the great Stanislavski. Meyerhold's productions shook up classical theatres and his plans for actor training were a century ahead of their time. Like many artists he supported the revolution and put his full creative weight behind some of most exciting propaganda the world has ever seen. The shocking narrative of his tragic demise makes for an archetypal parable of the artist and the state. Featuring guest speakers Dr. Amy Skinner of the University of Hull, Director Oleg Mirochnikov, and cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Beatriz Calvo-Merino.

Disgraced Monuments, Iconoclasm and Soviet Dreams

26 July 2017 | Rich Mix, London | FREE

Our July Cafe explored the creation of icons in Soviet times and the significance of their existence and destruction in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union. The evening will include a screening of Laura Mulvey's 1994 poignant film Disgraced Monuments which looked at the sudden changes to political and cultural life in the former Soviet Union through the prism of its classic icons as well as music and conversation with Mulvey and writers Zinovy Zinik and Owen Hatherley.  To round off the night - and our last Cafe of the summer - the comparable DJ Sasha Ilyukevich will play tunes to keep us dancing until late.

The Revolution that Changed The World  

28 June 2017 | Rich Mix, London

Our June Café, at the heart of our REVOLUTION17 year, will be a probing investigation into the gripping events of 1917 in Petrograd, the year of revolutions that changed the world: what exactly happened between the less known February revolution and the iconic October uprising. Located within the pop-up installation of the Dacha at Rich Mix, the evening will feature exciting conversation between special guests including historian and writer Orlando Figes, art curator and Courtauld Institute of Art lecturer Natalia Murray and Russian art expert and curator Elena Zaytseva. The lively conversation will be accompanied by film clips compiled by our friends from Obskura, music and, as always, our brilliant audience.

The Émigré Flight from Russia

24 May 2017 | Rich Mix,  London

Our May Café will focus on the writers and artists caught up in the chaos of the Russian Revolution and subsequent Civil War. Many writers went on to settle in Paris, Berlin and elsewhere and forged new lives in exile. We’ll explore the wonderful Nadezhda Teffi, the hugely popular and funny story writer and author of Pushkin Press’ Memories, From Moscow to the Black Sea’ and stories by the more famous émigré writers, Vladimir Nabokov and Ivan Bunin with speakers and readers including Robert Chandler, Bryan Karetnyk, Dr Maria Rubins and Dash artistic director Josephine Burton. Plus there'll be wonderful live music to accompany our conversation and bring the words to life thanks to the brilliant Sasha Ilukyevich and Rochelle Swanson.

Clouded Lands and a New Cold War

Wednesday 26 April 2017 Rich Mix, London

Our April Dash Café takes place within Food of War’s Clouded Lands exhibition at Rich Mix, a show of photography, installation, painting, gastro-performance, sculpture and filming that explores the impact of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, precisely 31 years on.  As part of our Clouded Lands Cafe, we’ll sample the gastro-performance and discuss the work and wider issues with several of the participating artists from Food of War including Zinaida Lihacheva, Hernan Barros and Omar Castaneda inspired by Noble prize winner Svetlana Alexeivich's Chernobyl Prayer, plus BBC journalist Lucy Ash and Peter Conradi author of the very newly published Who Lost Russia? How the World Entered a New Cold War. Additionally there'll be hauntingly beautiful live music from Ukrainian songstress Iryna Muha.

Exposure - Soviet Politics on Film with Kino Klassika

Wednesday 22 March 2017 | Rich Mix, London

Dash Arts and Kino Klassika present Exposure: The Politics of Soviet Filmmaking Industry as our March Dash Cafe. We'll show clips from across the decades that take in representations of early Soviet social realism, war patriotism and the impact of tight censorship on the industry with lively debate with experts including Orlando Figes and Vlad Strukov, Associate Professor in Film and Digital Culture at the University of Leeds. Plus there will be live music from the brilliant Mazaika Duo, who’ll play a set drawn from and inspired by the phenomenal film music hits. 

Odessa a City of Rogues and Schnorrers

22 February 2017 | Rich Mix, London

In February’s Café, we’ll delve into the world of Isaac Babel's Odessa. We’ll explore his tales of the dark underbelly of the city, filled with gangsters, prostitutes, beggars and smugglers and everyday Jewish life. Our Café will include the first part of Michale Boganim’s documentary Odessa Odessa (2005) which captures the former yiddish stars of Odessa living out their last days in deep poverty in the crumbling city, readings from the Boris Dralyuk’s new translation of Babel’s Odessa stories published this year by Pushkin Press and songs from Russian / Yiddish maestro Polina Shepherd and London Yiddish Choir. 

Ukraine - An Artist’s View

25 January 2017 | Rich Mix, London

Our January café explores contemporary Ukraine through the eyes of its some of its most dynamic artists. It will feature live music from the wonderful Ukrainian singer and songwriter Olesya Zdorovetska who will launch her new project Telling Sounds, a sonic journey across the landscape of contemporary Ukrainian poetry, award winning visual artist Nikita Kadan from Ukrainian contemporary art collective R.E.P (revolutionary experimental space), director of the Ukrainian Institute Marina Pesenti and contributions from Royal Court playwright Natalia Vorozhbit on her project Theatre of the Displaced that tells the stories of people who have lost their homes in Eastern Ukraine.

Photo Gallery >

Kolyada and Karachun: A Russian Winter Solstice Party

21 December 2016 | Rich Mix, London

Our December Cafe falls on the Winter solstice, hosted by the Slavic gods of Karachun and Koliada. Dash Arts Artistic Director Tim Supple will host an evening of food, conversation with chef Katrina Kollegaeva, storyteller Emily Hennessy with Russian fairytales, and live music from the fabulous Mazaika Duo, packed with talk of bears, snow on birch trees, mysterious Slavic rituals and steaming mugs of soup.

Platonov - in words, film, performance and conversation

30 November 2016 | Rich Mix, London

Join us to explore the life and extraordinary works of Soviet novelist and playwright Andrei Platonov through conversation with poet and his translator Robert Chandler, composer Gerard Mc Burney and actress Vladislava Lemesevska, live readings, recordings and live music from the wonderful Iryna Muha. 

Mugam Central Asia - Live Music and Conversation
Part of the Open Central Asia International Festival 2016

19 October 2016 | Rich Mix, London

October’s Dash Café presents Mugam Central Asia & ÖH3, a group bringing the most celebrated Central Asian musical tradition, Mugam, to East London this autumn as part of London’s first ever International Open Central Asia Cultural Festival. A discussion around contemporary Central Asian theatre and arts with visiting playwright and theatre Director Sultan Raev (Kyrgyzstan), Theatre Director Ovlyakuli Khodjakuli (Turkmenistan), Actor and winner of People's artists Award Nasira Mambetova (Kyrgyzstan) and actor, Director and founder of Orzu Arts Yuldosh Juraboev (London, UK) hosted by Dash Arts Artistic Director Josephine Burton will follow the gig.

Putsch Yourself - 25 Years on from the August Putsch

21 September 2016 | Rich Mix, London

25 years ago, as the world watched on enthralled, hardline members of the Soviet Union’s communist party wrestled control from President Mikhail Gorbachev in a coup d'état attempt known now as the August Putsch. Putsch Yourself brings witnesses Russian journalist Artem Troitsky, British journalist Lucy Ash, the then British Ambassador to the Soviet Union Sir Rodric Braithwaite and Putsch Yourself Creators together for an evening set to explore the experiences of ordinary people at an extraordinary time, featuring Putsch Yourself’s  interactive documentary project constructed from video interviews with individuals who witnessed and participated in the Soviet coup d'état of August 1991. Dash Artistic Director Josephine Burton hosts the event featuring film, discussion, and the notorious tunes of DJ Troitsky. 

Tsyganie – Russka Roma Culture in the Post-Soviet Spaces

20 July 2016 | Rich Mix, London

At this Cafe Dash Arts hosted an evening of Russka Roma culture - featuring Saeeda Kasym and Yagury Fire, live music by the Cafe's co-curator Elena Dana, a filmic retrospective of gypsies on screen by Obskura Cinema Club, and a conversation with Roma poet Valdemar Kalinin and anthropologist Michael Stewart. The Cafe explored romance, nostalgia and stereotypes through the film, music, dance, poetry and experiences of Romany people across the Soviet and Post-Soviet space.

A Beautiful Game? Footie and the Post-Soviet countries

22 June 2016 | Rich Mix, London

On the eve of the EU referendum and in the heat of the Euro-cup, our Dash Cafe will tackled Europe, Eurasia, Russia, Brexit, Brexin and football with an audio-visual mash-up of goals and football highlights from both sides of the Iron Curtain with our fearless filmic friends Obskura and the fabulous tunes of DJ Sasha. PLUS a couple of live free matches interspersed throughout the evening on the big-screen.

The Bear Next Door: Living WIth Russia As Your Neigbour

20 April 2016 | Rich Mix, London

25 years after the end of the Soviet Union, how does Russia look from over the garden fence? Another probing Dash Cafe asked the hard and human questions about post Soviet regional politics. Artists from Ukraine, Belarus, the Caucusus and Central Asia discussed the good, the bad and the ugly in their homeland's relationship with Russia.  The evening began with a set by London-based Belarusian troubadour Sasha Ilyukevich followed by a discussion hosted by Dash Co-Artistic director Tim Supple. Our guests included, alongside Sasha, Romany dancer Saeeda Kasym from Kyrgyzstan, actor/director David Papava from Georgia, and Lubov Mikhailova, founder of the Ukrainian arts space IZOLYATSIA in Donetsk. We enjoyed a lively conversation accompanied by the usual Dash Cafe cocktail of live music, a good drink, a late dance, and some tunes from across the region by DJ Sepina.

Ali & Nino in Baku

16 March 2016 | Rich Mix, London

An evening inspired by Kurban Said’s novel set at the crossroads between Europe and Asia in Baku, at the start of the twentieth century. The love story of Ali Khan, a Muslim prince, with Nino Kipiani, a Georgian princess, is the subject of the forthcoming feature film, adapted from the novel by Christopher Hampton and directed by oscar-nominated director Asif Kapadia. 

Teresa Cherfas’s film ‘Baku: the city of Ali and Nino’, made as a companion piece to the feature, tells the story of the real-life historical events that form the backdrop to the novel; the oil boom years followed by war and revolution that toppled dynasties and changed the whole world order. This screening of the documentary was be followed by a discussion with Teresa Cherfas and Caucasus expert Thomas de Waal, hosted by Dash Artistic Director Josephine Burton.

'There is no sex in the Soviet Union...'

17 February 2016 | Rich Mix, London

This unintentionally intriguing comment by a Russian guest on a live US TV link provided a playful starting point for a real question. Dash Artistic director Tim Supple hosted a conversation about how sex was viewed and what kind of role it played in Soviet times and continues to play today. The result was a revealing film presentation by Obskura Cinema Club, a rousing debate with Olga Andreyeskikh, Irina Brown, Susan Larsen, and Peter Pomerantsev, followed by a steamy set by DJ Mourrka - the perfect alternative Valentine's event.


20 January 2016 | Rich Mix, London

An exploration of Russians in London with writer Owen Matthews, writer and journalist Michael Idov, novelist Vesna Goldsworthy and Dash Artistic Director Josephine Burton. We screened the first episode of new Russian drama Londongrad (with English subtitles) and discussed the making and conceiving of the show and explored the wider theme of storytelling and the different perceptions of London as seen through the eyes of migrant tellers. 


2nd December 2015 | Rich Mix, London

An evening celebrating the life and work of Russian poet, actor and singer-songwriter Vladimir Vysotsky. We had live music from Igor Outkine, films from Obskura, conversation with Vysotsky experts Alex Kan and Polly McMichael and a headline set from Sasha Ilyukevich and the Highly Skilled Migrants. With over 250 people in the audience this was a night to remember. 

The Tatars of Crimea

4 November 2015 | Rich Mix, London

Presented in collaboration with the British Ukrainian Society, we screened Haytarma, a film that tells the story of Crimean Tatar test pilot and hero of the Soviet Union Amet-khan Sultan who witnesses the 1944 deportation of the Crimean Tatars.  The film was followed by a moving and thought provoking discussion about the film and the current plight of the Tatars with Dash co-Artistic director Josephine Burton, Lily Hyde and Melek Maksudoglu. 

Dash Arts and the British Ukrainian Society would like to thank the director of Haytarma, Akhtem Seitablaev, for his permission to screen the film.

Georgia on Film

7 October 2015 | Rich Mix, London

As part of the Life Through Cinema 4th London Georgian Film Festival, celebrated Georgian film directors Tinatin Kajrashvili (Brides) and Zaza Urashadze (Tangerines) joined Josephine Burton to discuss making films in Georgia. Before the discussion we screened Ferris Wheel, a new film by Uta Beria and heard beautiful Georgian music by Tamta Turmandize and friends.

Find out more about the Film Festival at

Like Mama Used to Make It

2 September 2015 | Rich Mix, London

In September we welcomed Ukrainian chef Olia Hercules and Food Anthropologist Katrina Kollegaeva to the kitchen table to share their favourite family recipes and, along with artist Yuldosh Juraboev and Dash Arts Artistic Director Josephine Burton, e shared stories and discussed how family recipes have evolved since the fall of the Soviet Union.

With cooking demonstrations from Olia and Katrina and some rousing and nostalgic tunes from DJ Sasha, this cafe transported us with smells and sounds to a very different time and place. 

Anton Maskeliade - Electro Magic and Musical Wizadry

1 July 2015 | Rich Mix, London

In July we welcomeed to the Dash Cafe Russian musician and producer, Anton Maskeliade. Fresh from his set at Glastonbury, Anton chatted about his innovative approach to audio-visual music-making and performed his captivating live set. Highly talented musical genius and creative geek, Anton Maskeliade is one of the first artists in the world to create live electronica with gesture control technology leap motion. Anton has developed a unique technique by using his body, movements and gestures to stimulate different devices to create intoxicating music and eye-popping visuals. These audio and video effects synchronize into new stunning soundscapes as he experiments and samples genres from electronica to contemporary pop.

Poles in the USSR with Katy Carr

3 June 2015 | Rich Mix, London

In June we explored Polish culture and the Soviet Union with renowned folk musician Katy Carr. Aided by some fantastic speakers and experts including author of 'Two Years in a Gulag,' Frank Pleszak, Academic and author ' Finding Poland: from Tavistock to Hruzdowa and back again' Dr Matthew Kelly and Danuta Gradosielska – Siberia survivor and veteran and hosted by Dash Arts Artistic  Director Josephine Burton, Katy Carr took us on a journey through the Siberian Gulag, forced relocation, Poland’s role within World War II into contemporary Polish relations with Russia, illustrated and intercut by her own beautiful live performance.

Family Affair  

6 May 2015 | Rich Mix, London

Dash Arts and the City of London Sinfonia presented an evening of live music and conversation as, we discussed the complex legacy of growing up in an artistic family.

Composer Russian-American viola-player Ljova, son of rock opera composer Alexander Zhurbin, Gabriel Prokofiev composer and grandson of Sergei Prokofiev and Elena Langer shared their experiences and fascinating insights. Throughour the conversation we were treated to live performances of their workby musicians from the CLS and guest soprano Anna Dennis.

Presented with the City of London Sinfonia

The Spirit of Tsoi

1 April 2015 | Rich Mix, London

Legendary rock singer Viktor Tsoi was a Soviet musician, film actor, songwriter and leader of the 80’s rock group Kino. Despite his untimely death, his spirit lives on in his music which remains hugely popular.

With Obskura Soviet Cinema Club we present Tsoi’s last film The Needle and with a pre film discussion featuring Alexander Titov, bassist from Kino and cultural historian Alexander Kan, we will explore Tsoi’s work and the influence his music still has.

The Needle (1989, Rashid Nugmanov) tells a fragmented and eclectic story of the hero nicknamed Moro (Viktor Tsoi), who comes to his hometown Alma-Ata to collect an old debt, and finds out that his ex-girlfriend Dina (Maria Smirnova) is on drugs. The title and the synopsis of the film falsely suggest a drama about drug abuse, however, the film is more sophisticated. Instead it presents the viewer with an aesthetically stylized world, achieved through spectacular cinematography, mis-en-scène, and the last performance of Viktor Tsoi. The Needle is accompanied by Tsoi’s music which is so integral to the film’s narrative that it almost becomes a character on its own.

Presented with Obskura Cinema Club


4 March 2015 | Rich Mix, London

In March we fêted the survival and flourishing of Armenian culture with film, music and dance with Armenian Institute.

2015 marks the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Turkish Government. This Dash Cafe explored the legacy of the Genocide and the diverse influences within Armenian culture. With a Parajanov film, songs inspired by Komitas, music, dance, Armenian refreshments and tasty morsels, this was the perfect introduction to this fascinating culture.

Writer Nouritza Matossian introduced her prize-winning short film Hrant Dink, Heart of Two Nations, 14mins. Dink, a brave champion of free speech and human rights in Turkey, editor of a weekly paper was murdered in 2007 but galvanized a growing liberal youth movement acknowledging the Genocide and demanding freedom of press.                       

Sergei Parajanov,  Armenian film director born in Georgia made a short film on fellow Tblisi Armenian portraitist Hakob Hovnatanyan (1806-1881) as a study rich in imagery for his famous Colour of Pomegranates. Parajanov was repeatedly jailed by Soviet authorities on trumped up charges, prevented from making films and finally he retired to Yerevan where his house is now a museum for his works of art.

The Oxford Armenian Choir was formed in 2013 by amateur musicians enthused by the sacred and folk music of Armenia.  The choir's repertoire this evening will focus on composer Komitas(1869-1935) who travelled through the country collecting over 400 songs and arranged them in western notation. Praised by Debussy, his music was famous in Paris and Istanbul. Komidas was arrested on 24 April 1915 along with Armenian notable intellectuals, most of whom were tortured and killed at the start of the Genocide campaign. He was rescued by foreign intervention but lost his mind and lived in an asylum in France for the rest of his life unable to compose.

Dalila Heath and Laurence Agopian-Djololian, two expert practitioners of Armenian Folk Dancing performed dances from the regions of Erzeroum and Zangezour. 

Presented by Dash Arts and the Armenian Institute

Nothing is True and Everything is Possible
Dash Arts Launches Peter Pomerantsev's new book

4 February 2015 | Rich Mix London

We launched Peter Pomerantsev’s new book Nothing is True and Everything is Possible with guest, Journalist Nick Cohen and music from Sasha Ilyukevich and the Highly Skilled migrants. 

At the end of the 20th century, Russia was only just emerging from the failure of the Soviet Union. And yet now, only a few decades later, there is the new Russia. Home to the new jet set: the richest, the most energetic, the most beautiful and the most dangerous.

In Nothing is True and Everything is Possible, Peter Pomerantsev takes the reader deep into the heart of modern Russia, a world transformed by money and power; from the ‘Gold-digger’ academies teaching women how to marry a millionaire, into the lives of Hells Angels, convinced they are messiahs, and the gangsters turned filmmakers. In this new world, home to a new form of authoritarianism under Putin, all values are changeable and everything is moving so fast it breaks all sense of reality. Peter Pomerantsev takes us on a wild ride into this political and ethical vacuum.

We hosted a conversation with Peter, Dash Arts Artistic Director Josephine Burton and Observer Journalist Nick Cohen followed by a raucous live set from London-based troubadour Sasha Ilyukevich and his British band ‘The Highly Skilled Migrants’ who created an incomparable brew of post punk energy and folk lyricism – the perfect music to complement this ‘electrifying and terrifying’ book.

HERITAGE - Visual Art & Live Performance for Georgia

7 January 2015 | Rich Mix, London

We were proud to partner with cARTveli to host the opening night for Heritage, contemporary art from Georgia. The evening included an opportunity to tour the exhibition and sample delicious Georgian wines, watch live performance from some of the featured artists, a discussion with the curator, Levan Mindiashvilli and some of the artists and the beautiful music of Paris-based Théko.

HERITAGE presented a collaboration between Georgian artists Levan Mindiashvili, Tato Akhalkatsishvili, Uta Bekaia, Irakli Bugiani and Argentinian Cristian Tonhaiser. Longtime collaborators, the artists embarked on an investigation into historical, social and cultural constructions and how these make up integral parts of the biological, mental and physical heritage of an individual.

The evening ended with a set by Paris-based singer and multi-instrumentalist THéKO who transported us to an intimate poetic landscape, shaped with tales and notes of her own human tragedies and quixotic moments, with ukulele, djembe and guitar adornments. Check out THéKO's soundcloud here.

Happystan - Chronicles of Life and Migration

3 December 2014 | Rich Mix, London

Between Heaven and Earth was a ground-breaking and timely exhibition which brought to UK audiences a strong sense of the overlooked, yet exceptionally vibrant contemporary art that is being made in the former Soviet Republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as in Afghanistan and Mongolia. As part of Dash Arts Central Asian Season, we teamed up with Calvert 22 who presented this exhibition an invited curator David Elliot to share some insights into his curatorial decisions and the scene in general with Dash Arts artistic director Josephine Burton. With music spun by DJ Mourrka, this was a lively and fascinating evening. 

Image by Almagul Menlibayeva.

Aisha Orazbayeva presents a night of Kazakh music

5 November 2014 | Rich Mix, London

Acclaimed violinist Aisha Orazbayeva presented an evening of Kazakh culture, through the prism of her own experiences, coming of age in a predominantly Russian speaking family in early 90s Almaty. She created a video collage and performed a unique improvisation with her violin, especially for this evening, reflecting on the eclectic culture of the country with its Russian, Soviet and Western influences. Our Cafe presented her own personal take on Kazakhstan, incorporating old propaganda films, folk, contemporary classical repertoire, some Soviet footage and a few contemporary video clips.The evening was opened by Kazakh actor and filmstar Gulnara Dusmatova, performing work by the Soviet poet and activist Oljas Suleimenov.

For more information about Aisha do check out her website

To Get To Heaven First You Have To Die (cert. 15)

A film by Tajik director Djamshed Usmonov

1 October 2014 | Rich Mix, London

“A jolting journey towards a swaggering notion of manhood, directed with assured expertise by Djamshed Usmonov” David Gritten, The Telegraph

The Dash Art's Central Asian Season continued with the striking and poetic TO GET TO HEAVEN FIRST YOU HAVE TO DIE. Sparer, bleaker and much more unsettling than his previous films, it stars Khurched Golibekov as the sullen, wide-eyed Kamal, who has been married for a few months, but is unable to consummate his marriage. Learning that there is nothing physically wrong with him after visiting a doctor, Kamal sets off to the city in an attempt to cure his impotence. With his child-like, country-boy naiveté, he struggles to meet anyone until a chance encounter on a bus when he picks up a young married Russian factory worker. This accidental meeting takes him on a far more troubling and darker journey than he was counting on…

Likened by critics to Krzysztof Kieslowski’s 'A Short Film About Love', Usmonov's absolutely sure-footed direction and storytelling make for a film that gently, gradually pulls the rug out from under our feet, in a classic example of less-is-more film-making.

This bold film reflects issues of national identity and cultural politics across Central Asia. The interplay between Russian and Tajik culture and languages, spoken throughout the film, helps to present a challenging world that pushes protagonist Kamal to search out the unfamiliar as cultures collide around him.

As part of the event we hosted a pre-show conversation with Dr. Shirin Akiner which helped to set the scene and put the film in context.


A Film Screening and post-Film discussion

3 September 2014 | Rich Mix, London

We kicked off Dash Art's Central Asian Season with Dzhamilya, a romantic fable based on the great Kyrghiz writer, Chingiz Aitmatov. The story, filmed and set on the harsh steppes of Kyrghizstan, reflects the wistful memories of Seit, a New York based painter as he reminisces about his youthful, innocent love affair with Jamilia during the 1940's. Jamilia was beautiful, the best horseback rider in town and unfortunately, married to his older brother in an arranged ceremony.

A discussion took place after the film hosted by Dash Arts Artistic Director Josephine Burton with Rahima Abduvalieva from the Aitmatove Academy.

Produced in partnership with the Aitmatov Academy

Lilith Guegamian

2 July 2014 | Rich Mix, London

In July we launched our Dash Blaze series of events by presenting Armenian singer songewriter Lilith Guegamian live in concert in association with Music of Armenia. 

Guegamian is an accomplished Armenian folk singer with a fairy–tale voice, full of delicacy and imagination.
You can hear her bewitching sounds here 

The Colour of Pomegranates

4 June 2014 | Rich Mix, London

In collaboration with the British Georgian Society we presented The Colour of Pomegranates; a biography of the Armenian troubadour Sayat Nova (King of Song). One of the greatest masterpieces of the 20th century, Sergei Parajanov's film reveals the poet's life depicting the poet's coming of age, discovery of the female form, falling in love, entering a monastery and dying, all framed through both Sergei Parajanov's imagination and Sayat Nova's poems. The film was illicitly smuggled out of the Soviet Union in 70s for its UK premiere at the ICA. As part of a pre-show chat, we explored this story with Bill McAllister and Donald Rayfield.

As an opener to this amazing film, alternative singer and multi-instrumentalist THéKO transported us into an intimate poetic landscape shaped with tales and notes of her own human tragedies and quixotic moments, with ukulele, djembe and guitar adornments.

Brodsky Night: A celebration of the work of Joseph Brodsky

7 May 2014 | Rich Mix London

"The energy and precision of a master and the moral authority of a prophet"
Washington Post

Dash Arts served up a first rate evening of poetry, prose, music, discussion and film that explored the remarkable work and life of Russian poet, Soviet dissident and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Brodsky. This was an evening for both those who knew nothing of Brodsky and those who knew everything. The evening kicked off with a rabble rousing set from Nigel Burch and the Flea Pit Orchestra and prgressed to a fascinating debate hosted by Dash Artistic Director Tim Supple with Glyn Maxwell and Valentina Polukhina with readngs from Michael Pennington.
Throughout the evening we raised money for the Stephen Spender/Joseph Brodsky prize for translation. 

You can hear a recording of the event here

The Dash Arts Cosmonaut's Party

2 April 2014 | Rich Mix, London

On 12 April 1961, Yuri Gagarin made the first human flight in space. In April, Dash Arts, Russian Revels, Obskura Films and Radio Gagarin celebrated his achievements by presenting an evening inspired by the Soviet Space Programme. We dined on Leica Hot Dogs and watched some classic and unusual Soviet space cinema and then danced to extra terrestrial tunes as DJ Mourrka took to the decks.   

Theatrical chefs Katrina and Karina from Russian Revels will provided a cosmic menu and we enjoyed our Hot Dog or Hot Cat (veggie version) whilst watching Obskura's selection of fascinating films. Lyda Kavina then performed an astonishing set on her Theremin. 

It was an out of this world party.

Ukraine: A Flight Over the Black Sea

5 March 2014 | Rich Mix, London

The Dash Cafe, the British Ukrainian Society and English PEN presented the work of Ukrainian poet Ihor Pavlyuk. Ihor’s work paints an extraordinary and complex picture of Ukraine and we used it as inspiration to begin a conversation about the country today. The evening featured the haunting and soulful music of Olesya Zdorovetska and a panel chaired by Dash Artistic Director Josephine Burton with Journalist Annabelle Chapman, translator Steve Komanyckyj and Ihor himself. This was a celebration of Ukrainian voices that gave us a unique perspective on the current political situation. 

About Ihor Pavlyuk and A Flight Over the Black Sea
Ihor Pavlyuk was born in the Volyn region of Ukraine in January 1967 and studied at the St Petersburg Military University, which he left in order to pursue his career as a writer. He was, as a result, sentenced to a period of hard labour in the Taiga working on but regained his liberty in the chaos accompanying the fall of the Soviet Union. He was able subsequently to complete his education and become a Doctor of Social Communication.  His numerous poetry collections include Islands of youth (Ukrainian Острови юності) (1990), Magma (Ukrainian Магма)  (2005), Ukraine at smoke (Ukrainian Україна  в диму) (2009), Masculine fortunetelling (Ukrainian Чоловічe ворожіння) (2013). His work has been translated into several languages including English, French, Polish, Russian and Japanese.

A Flight over the Black Sea is translated from Ukrainian by Stephen Komarnyckj and published by Waterloo Press . The book consists of 75 of Ihor's poems in translation. The poems create a powerful mythic world in some ways akin to the confessional poetry of Sylvia Plath but with a focus on questions of language, empire and identity. Pavlyuk's poetic world, the internal cosmos he created in exile in St. Petersburg has resulted in a subjective, confessional poetry in a Slavic language. A Flight Over the Black Sea received an English PEN Writers in Translation award for 2014. English PEN promotes both the freedom to read and the freedom to write and campaigns for persecuted writers around the world. PEN’s Translation programme aims to celebrate books of outstanding literary value, dedication to free speech and inter-cultural understanding.

The Dash Café presents: Hammer & Tickle

5 February 2014 | Rich Mix, London

Inspired by Ben Lewis’ excellent documentary ‘Hammer and Tickle’ we will show choice scenes and jokes from the film and explore why humour and art more generally was so scary for the authorities in the Soviet Union.  Hosted by Dash Arts Artistic Director Josephine Burton, Ben will talk a little about his research and journeys across the FSU region and eastern bloc in pursuit of punch-lines and history, writer and comedian David Schneider will share suppressive soviet insights from his forthcoming play 'Making Stalin Laugh’ and journalist and writer Vitali Vitaliev will offer his experiences of life as a writer under the Soviet Regime.

About Hammer & Tickle
What would happen if they introduced Communism to Saudi Arabia? Nothing at first but soon there would be a shortage of sand. Under the oppressive Communist regimes of the Soviet Union and its satellites, ordinary people told thousands of jokes about the society they lived in and the political system they suffered under. Denied free speech, and confronted daily with the gap between political propaganda and everyday reality, jokes became the language of truth in the world of Communism. They were a way for ordinary people to resist the regime – but the Communist regimes also used jokes to diffuse opposition. Jokes were thus the real battleground between state and people under Communism.

Using this unique folkloric archive, this funny and insightful feature-length documentary tells the real history of Communism through the jokes. Uncovering extraordinary stories never before told on television, director Ben Lewis met the man who collected jokes for Ronald Reagan, the Polish prankster who gave away toilet paper to deprived fellow citizens, and the Romanian amateur statistician who collected and analysed Communist jokes scientifically to reveal the part they played in the downfall of the system.

The Dash Café with Radio Gagarin present: Necrorealism

4th December 2013 | Rich Mix, London

In darkest December the Dash Cafe conspired with Radio Gagarin to bring you, literally, a night to die for.

We explored all things deathly with an evening inspired by St. Petersburg's underground enfant terrible: Necrorealism. An exquisitely disturbing selection of films was screened, followed by a conversation on Death with necro-experts and aficionados:

Chaired by Dash Arts Artistic Director Tim Supple with:
Ivan Gololobov: Doctor of Philosophy, Associate Research Fellow, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick
Alexander Kan: Arts and Culture Correspondent for the BBC World Service
Inese Strupule: Founder and editor in chief of Obskura Soviet cinema club and portal

After the discussion songs of death, decadence and decapitation rung out from the banjolele-wielding bard Nigel Burch, accompanied by his Flea-Pit Orchestra: Dylan Bates the fragrant fiddler and the infernal double-bassist Richard Lee

DJ Mourrka: London's only Russian gangster cat closed the night playing her finest selection of soul-destroying melodies which made out hearts weep andour feet skip. 

The Dash Café and Pushkin House present Russian on the International Stage

6th November 2013 | Rich Mix, London

Looking ahead to 2014's much feted UK/Russia Year of Culture, we held a discussion on Russian Culture on the International Stage with music impresario Olga Balakleets, journalist Peter Pomeranzev and London-based Russian artist Alexei Blinov chaired by Dash Arts' artistic director Josephine Burton plus London-based troubadour Sasha Ilyukevich and his British band ‘The Highly Skilled Migrants’ created an incomparable brew of post punk electric energy and folk lyricism.

About our Guests

Olga Balakleets
Born in the south of Russia and trained from an early age as a professional pianist, Olga has studied at the prestigious St. Petersburg Conservatory and later as a postgraduate at the Royal College of Music, performing as a soloist with many world famous orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, and Belorussian State Orchestra. She founded Ensemble Productions in 1998, producing events including Russian Festival Maslenitsa on Trafalgar Square 2011-2013 and a series of ballet galas - Russian Ballet Icons Galas (2006 - 2013) at the Royal Opera House.

Olga  acts as an adviser on cultural matters to various governments and Ministries of Culture and works closely with the Mayor of London, British Parliament, Russian State Duma and Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. Olga has been an Artistic Director of the British-Russian Cultural Association, and is now the Head of the Culture and Governmental Communications Session of the Russian Speaking Council in the UK.  For her services to Russia she has been given a number of prestigious awards including a Special Medal from President Medvedev (September 2010) and an Order "For the Services to the Fatherhood" of St. Prince Dmitry Donskoi and St. Sergey Radonezhsky" (December 2010). In October 2013 she was awarded by the Russian Union of Merchants and Industrialists an Order “For the Glory of Motherland”.

Peter Pomeranzev
Peter Pomerantsev is a British author and documentary producer. His writing on Russia features regularly in the London Review of Books, Newsweek/Daily Beast, openDemocracy, Le Monde Diplomatique and other European and US publications. He has also worked as a consultant on EU and World Bank development projects in the former USSR. He is the winner of the SOPA (Society of Press in Asia) award for writing about Mongolia and was a fellow of the 'Russia in Global Dialogue' programme at the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM) in Vienna. His first book on society and politics in 21st Century Russia will be published by Faber in 2013.

Alexei Blinov
Alexei Blinov was born 1964 in Russia and is a London-based electronic engineer and new media artist. He was trained as a doctor before moving to the UK. In the early 1990s he specialised in large scale high quality laser projections. Since the late 1990s he has produced a wide variety of interactive audio-visual installations. Over the past few years, he has been the creative force behind many interactive audio-visual art projects in the UK. As founder of experimental new media organisation "Raylab" he has collaborated with a number of creative artists including Jamie Reid. Since 1997 Alexei has worked mainly in the UK creating interactive audio-visual installations at a number of important art galleries including the ICA and the Barbican Art Centre, London.

Sasha and the Highly Skilled Migrants
London-based Belarusian troubadour Sasha Ilyukevich and his British band ‘The Highly Skilled Migrants’ create an incomparable brew of post punk electric energy and folk lyricism. This is one of those rare bands, which transcends their inspirations to create powerful and original music of its own, ‘Belarusian Rock ’n’ Roll’. Ilyukevich sings in Russian, his lyrics play on images from Eastern Slavic Folklore and Russian Literature, the characters of his songs, brimming with satirical and provocative mischief. His vocals swoop from soft whispered melodies to raucous screams, defying language barriers to deliver songs that are uplifting, intelligent, macabre, romantic and melancholic.

Founded in the 1950s, Pushkin House has become the leading centre for showcasing Russian culture in London. With a focus on Anglo-Russian exchange, Pushkin House provides education and information, events and a centre for networking by individuals and institutions interested and involvement in Russian culture and its place within British society.

The Dash Café and The British Georgian Society present 'My Grandmother'

2nd October  2013 | Rich Mix, London

Imagine Harold Lloyd starring in Terry Gilliam's BRAZIL and you'll start to get an idea of what MY GRANDMOTHER is like.

As part of the 3rd British Georgian Society Film Festival we were thrilled to present this fascinating film with live accompaniment. 

MY GRANDMOTHER (1929) is a Soviet Georgian silent film by director Kote Mikaberidze. It was banned upon release and the director banished to Siberia by the Soviet Regime for its anti-bureaucratic content.

Forgotten for a half-century, Kote Mikaberidze’s MY GRANDMOTHER (CHEMI BEBIA/1929) is a delightful example of the Soviet Eccentric Cinema movement as well as an irreverent satire of the then still-young Soviet State system. Noted for its anarchic styles—which include stop-motion, puppetry, exaggerated camera angles, animation and constructivist sets—the film unspools the foibles and follies that abound when a Georgian paper pusher, modelled on American silent comic Harold Lloyd, loses his job.

Along with the British Georgian Society, we welcomed Reso Kiknadze and the Reso Kiknadze trio who performed their new score for this wonderful film.  

Reso Kiknadze performs all over the world both as saxophone-player and computer musician in various forms of jazz, contemporary music and free improvisation. He is a composer and co-author of many projects collaborating with dance, visual arts, poetry, theatre and cinema. Reso is currently professor for Electroacoustic Music at the Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia since 2008 and rector of the Tbilisi State Conservatoire since 2011. His film work includes Gzajvaredini (Crossroad) 1991 dir. Levan Kitia, Khakhvis cremlebi (Onion Tears) 2002 dir, Levan Glonti - shown at the BGS Georgian Film Festival 2005, Shin da ukan (Home And Back) 2004 dir. Levan Glonti, Das Elternhaus (Parents’ House) 2005 dir. Hening Timm, Guchis dgheebi (Street Days) 2010 dir. Levan Koguashvili (which opened the 2nd BGS Georgian Film Festival) and Jim Shvanthe (Salt for Svaneti) 1930, dir. Mikhail Kalatozov - Reso's 2010 score had it's World premiere at the 2nd BGS Film Festival.

The Dash Café with Russian Revels present a Pop-Up Siberian Canteen

4th September 2013 | Rich Mix, London

In September we teamed up with theatrical chefs Katrina and Karina from Russian Revels to bring you an entirely unique Soviet Dining Experience.  

We transformed the main space at Rich Mix into a Soviet Factory Canteen. Our audience were treated to a feast for all the senses with the evening hosted by esteemed Factory Director DJ Max Reinhardt and with fantastic live music from Elena Dana and Igor Outkine.
This was a night to forget the worker blues and celebrate some Russian hospitality.

Our workers dined on the freshest Siberian dishes such as:
home-made pelmeni (dumplings) with free-range pork and juicy beef
Ode to a Buterbrod’
(open sandwiches with such toppings as aromatic sprats, potato and caraway bread with roasted garlic, Kamchatka crab and sweet cucumber pickle)
Siberian pinenuts, cowberries and condensed milk Mess

Katrina and Karina from Russian Revels are two Russians who want to revolutionise the image of Russian food, by serving light, luscious and sexy Slavic dishes at characterful venues across London. Check out their website for their next culinary adventures

You can see images and film clips from our Dash Cafes on our Facebook page. 

The Dash Café with the British Georgian Society
Film screening of “Lucky Village”

3rd July 2013 | Rich Mix, London

The Dash Café presented this special event in partnership with the British Georgian Society: a rare screening of the fascinating 1993 Georgian film “Lucky Village”, directed by 

Giorgi Levashov-Tumanishvili and starring Tim Pigott-Smith, Zurab Kipshidze and Shota Kristeshasvili.

The ward of the Narcotics Unit of the Tbilisi mental hospital, Georgia, is an unexpected safe haven

 from the civil war which rages beyond the bars and walls of the hospital. A new patient is admitted - a middle-aged alcoholic. As a voluntary inmate of ’Lucky Village’ he pieces together the fragments of his childhood in the streets of Stalin's Georgia. Into this world arrives Michael, a British diplomat, with the DTs. “Lucky Village” began filming in Georgia in May 1991 and was completed in extraordinary conditions of counter-revolution and imperial collapse, military take-over and civil war.

The screening was accompanied by a Q&A with Marina Tsitsishvilli, co-producer of Lucky Village.

The Maspindzeli Choir preceeded the film and sung songs from the ancient polyphonic tradition of Georgia.

The Dash Café, in partnership with English PEN and the PEN Atlas and the British Ukrainian Society, presents a literary evening with Oksana Zabuzhko

5th June 2013 | Rich Mix, London

We brought famed Ukrainian author Oksana Zabuzhko to London, for this event in collaboration with English PEN, to discuss her latest novel The Museum of Abandoned Secrets (English translation by Nina Shevchuk-Murray, published by AmazonCrossing, October 2012).

Spanning sixty tumultuous years of Ukrainian history, this multigenerational saga weaves a dramatic and intricate web of love, sex, friendship, and death. At its centre: three women linked by the abandoned secrets of the past—secrets that refuse to remain hidden. From the dim days of World War II to the eve of Orange Revolution, The Museum of Abandoned Secrets is an “epic of enlightening force” that explores the enduring power of the dead over the living.

Oksana participated in a panel discussion with Igor Pomerantsev and Dr Andrew Wilson: exploring the historical and politicial context of modern Ukrainian literature, and the role of fiction writers in determining the country’s contemporary identity.

Oksana Zabuzhko is Ukraine’s leading contemporary author. She has worked as a Research Associate for the Institute of Philosophy of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, lectured in the US on Ukrainian culture (at Penn State University, 1992, Harvard University, and University of Pittsburgh, 1994), and worked as a columnist for some of the Ukraine's major journals. Her 1996 novel Field Work in Ukrainian Sex was described as “the most influential Ukrainian book for the 15 years of independence”.

Poet and writer Igor Pomerantsev was born in 1948 in Saratov, and grew up in Ukraine. In 1970 he graduated from the Faculty of Philology at Chernovtsy State University. He emigrated to Germany in 1978. He has worked for the BBC Russian Service, and for Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty as a broadcaster and presenter of Russian cultural programme “Above the Barriers”. He is the prize-winning author of numerous books of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, which have been published in Russian and in translation, and has been a guest at the International Writers' Festival in Prague.

Dr Andrew Wilson is senior Lecturer in Ukrainian Studies at SSEES, UCL. He has written extensively on politics and culture in independent Ukraine, and on the comparative politics of post-Soviet democracy, particularly its corruption by so-called 'political technology'. Recent publications include Ukraine's Orange Revolution (Yale University Press 2005); Virtual Politics: Faking Democracy in the Post-Soviet World (Yale University Press 2005); and The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation (Yale University Press 2000, revised paperback edition 2002).

This Café also featured music from Ukrainian performer and composer Olesya Zdorovetska, whose deep love of musical expression transcends genre and style. Recent solo projects include explorations of traditional music from her native Ukraine, investigations of Spanish poetry from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century, and ‘Texts for Nothing’, based on the work of Samuel Beckett. Collaboratively, she sings with celebrated Salsa band ‘Dislocados’ and electro-acoustic chamber ensemble, Sefiroth Ensemble.

English PEN is the founding centre of a global literary network. They work to defend and promote free expression, and to remove barriers to literature.

The PEN Atlas, a project of English PEN, acts as a gateway to a world of literature, posting weekly literary dispatches from around the world and showcasing the very best international writers.

A not-for-profit organisation, the British Ukrainian Society seeks to raise the profile of Ukraine in Great Britain and strengthen relations at all levels between the United Kingdom and Ukraine. It provides a network for people from both countries to interact and cooperate.

Photos and video clips from the event can be seen on our Facebook page.

The Dash Café – A Rocking Live Gig with Abdelkader Saadoun and Band

30 May 2013 | Rich Mix, London

The Dash Café presented the second of two special events in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, to mark their new focus on the countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean including Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.

This event took place at the EBRD’s headquarters at One Exchange Square, London EC2A 2JN.

Following our screening in March of the tender, funny, quietly revolutionary Egyptian film ‘Microphone’, we presented a live concert from one of the most celebrated names in modern North African roots music, Abdelkader Saadoun. Abdelkader led his band of musicians, who hail from across the countries of the southern Mediterranean, in a dynamic musical journey through the traditional and modern sounds of their homelands. This show presented a narrative of the origins of the diverse musical traditions of the region, and their evolution and resonances in the modern day.

Algerian-born Abdelkader Saadoun is a renowned master of RAI music – which originates from traditional Algerian music (Chaabi, Kabil, and Chawia) and also encompasses Pop, Jazz, Funk, Rock, Reggae, Fusion, and Blues. Based in London, he is a formidable band leader with a great track record in bringing together musicians from diverse cultures to create dynamic live gigs which combine these different musical stylings to extraordinary effect.

The Dash Café with Radio Gagarin

1 May 2013 | Rich Mix, London

Our latest get-together with experimental nomadic arts pioneers Radio Gagarin follows last December’s festive Gagarin special, which featured live music, film and performance art all with a decidedly feminist spin.

Now, we unite with Radio Gagarin again to bring you an eclectic evening of post-Soviet sounds – featuring music and experimental audio performance from concretist/electronic music collective Langham Research Centre; a roof-raising live set from “Belarusian Rock’n’Roll” band Sasha Ilyukevich and The Highly Skilled Migrants; and a DJ set from Max Reinhardt.

Langham Research Centre are a British musique concrete group who give authentic performances of classic electronic music, and compose new music from an instrumentarium of vintage analogue devices. Founded in 2003, LRC employ open-reel tapes, oscillators and homemade instruments to conjure an extraordinary soundworld. Their performance for the Dash Café will feature a selection of archive Belarusian electronic music, together with new material inspired by Radio Moscow; re-mixed versions of Soviet military music and Communist party speeches; and new soundscapes which draw on secret Soviet coded messages and space transmissions.

London-based troubadour Sasha Ilyukevich and his British band ‘The Highly Skilled Migrants’ create an incomparable brew of post punk electric energy and folk lyricism. Sasha’s latest rebellious single ‘KOLYA’, rocks against the repression in his home country Belarus. This is one of those rare bands that transcends its inspirations to create powerful and original music of its own, ‘Belarusian Rock ’n’ Roll’.

Growing up behind the iron curtain, Sasha Ilyukevich later settled in the UK and his songs explore the contrast between the climate of repression in Belarus and the greater possibilities for the individual in the West.

Sasha Ilyukevich and 'The Highly Skilled Migrants' are currently touring with the film 'The Nonsense Express', which documents their eye-opening recent tour of Russia and Belarus.

Max Reinhardt is one of the regular presenters on that voyage into uncharted waters that is Radio 3's Late Junction. He has been known to crop up on the BBC World Service intermittently, also as music consultant/co-scriptwriter on Radio 2's South African music series Freedom Sounds, and has featured in a Radio 4 documentary on his theatre piece 'Ketubah'. In summer 2009 Max curated the huge Late Night Radio Event at Tate Britain, and he worked on a commission for the 2010 Spitalfields Festival.

Radio Gagarin is an occasional, travelling, Eastern-European, supra-socialist club night in London.

The Dash Café: Oliver Bullough in conversation with Orlando Figes

3rd April 2013 | Rich Mix, London

Dash Arts presents an evening of literature and conversation, to celebrate the publication of Oliver Bullough’s much-anticipated new non-fiction work, The Last Man in Russia, and to bring Oliver together with one of the leading historians of the Soviet Union, Orlando Figes.

From Oliver Bullough, the acclaimed author of the Orwell Prize-shortlisted Let Our Fame Be Great, comes a new study - part travelogue, part political analysis - of a nation in crisis.

In the 1960s, while the Soviet Union was building 'heaven on earth', the Russian nation began to drink itself to death. For a while, government income from vodka surpassed their income from oil. Fifty years later, with the Soviet state dismantled, this is still a country where Muscovites might drink a bottle of vodka before breakfast and demographers look with astonishment as the population of the world's largest country continues to fall, far beyond the rate of decline in the West.

In The Last Man in Russia, award-winning writer Bullough uses the life of Father Dmitry, an extraordinary Orthodox priest, to find out why. Through diaries and sermons Bullough reconstructs the world he experienced:  famine, occupation, war, the frozen wastes of the Gulag, the collapse of communism and the giddy excesses that followed it. While the story of Russia's self-destruction is shrouded in secrecy and denial, Dmitry's words give an insight into life in a totalitarian state, unmediated and raw, exposing the spiritual sickness at the heart of the country's long communist experiment.

Oliver Bullough will read extracts from the book, and be joined in a panel conversation with celebrated writer and historian Orlando Figes, whose works on Russia include Just Send Me Word: A True Story of Love and Survival in the Gulag, The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia, Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia, and the prize-winning A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891-1924. The talk will be chaired by Dash Arts’ co- Director Tim Supple, and will discuss themes arising from both authors’ work: the act of reconstructing history from personal testimony and memory;  alcoholism in contemporary culture; the impact of totalitarian government on private life; and the political landscape of Russia today.

The evening also features music from the Kibbitz Ensemble, with acclaimed Ukrainian songstress Iryna Muha on vocals, guitar and hurdy-gurdy, and Abel Chaude on accordion. Kibbitz is a folk ensemble playing Ukrainian, Russian, Serbian, French, and Bulgarian traditional melodies; firing Klezmer tunes and borderless Gypsy music.

The Dash Café with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development:
Film screening: Microphone (2010)

7th March 2013 | Rich Mix, London

The Dash Café presents the first of two special events in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, to mark their new focus on the countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean including Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.

A free screening of celebrated Egyptian film “Microphone”:

When Khaled (Khaled Abol Naga) returns to his native Alexandria after years of travel he finds a much-changed city. Khaled tries to restore ties with both his father and his former lover but soon realises that his efforts are in vain. While walking the streets of Alexandria, he stumbles across the underground art scene with its street musicians, skateboarders and graffiti artists. It’s not long before their story intertwines with Khaled’s and he discovers himself once again through the world of art and music.

“Microphone” is the second feature film by Egyptian film director, editor and screen writer Ahmad Abdalla. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival 2010 and has since received many international awards including the Golden Tulip from the Istanbul International Film Festival in 2011, the Best Arabic-language film Award from the Cairo International Film Festival  2010 and the Tanit d'Or from Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage 2010.

“Thought-provoking … an insight into the life of Alexandrian youth struggling to sing, perform and create art without the support and approval of the state.  … the film has a great and varied soundtrack of rap, hip-hop, rock and oriental vibes.” Arab British Centre

“Microphone is a bold and often engagingly freewheeling attempt to focus on modern-day subculture in Alexandria, looking at how young rappers, rockers and graffiti artists live alongside the more traditional aspects of this bustling Egyptian city.” ScreenDaily

Screening at 6:30pm in the EBRD’s Auditorium, followed by Q&A session with the director.

Film screening: How To Re-Establish a Vodka Empire
With music from Iryna Muha and the Kibbitz Ensemble

6th March 2013 | Rich Mix, London

The Dash Café presents an exclusive screening of the offbeat autobiographical documentary How To Re-Establish a Vodka Empire. The film charts the journey of film director Daniel Edelstyn as he tracks down his long lost Jewish Ukrainian heritage and then attempts to relaunch his great grandfather’s once glorious vodka empire.

Distinctive, funny and illuminating, the film constitutes a whirlwind journey through European and post-Soviet times and spaces. The story has it all, revolution and romance, exile and entrepreneurship, and at its heart lies a life changing discovery of a vodka distillery in Ukraine.

"A barnstorming tale of vodka and revolution” BBC Radio

"A tender, extraordinary underdog tale filled with humor, fear and above all, spirit. A heady delight of a documentary that will warm your cockles." *** Empire Magazine

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Daniel Edelstyn, chaired by Dash Arts' co-Artistic Director Josephine Burton.

The evening also features music from acclaimed Ukrainian songstress Iryna Muha, playing in dynamic trio The Kibbitz Ensemble. Kibbitz is a folk ensemble playing Ukrainian, Russian, Serbian, French, and Bulgarian traditional melodies; firing Klezmer tunes and borderless Gypsy music. They will please your ears with old tunes  that over the years have been  passed from ear to ear, from  accordion to clarinet, now  rearranged through the filter of the Kibbitz members' diverse cultures.

The Kibbitz Ensemble are:
Abel Chaude – clarinet, accordion (France)
Melina Saxena – soprano saxophone (Norway)
Iryna Muha – double bass, hurdy-gurdy, vocals (Ukraine)

Music and Film from Pop-Up Circus

6th February 2013 | Rich Mix, London

The Dash Café presents a night of music and film with Pop-Up Circus. The evening will be a mix of contemporary and traditional music and short films from Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Russia, and other former Soviet Union states. Featuring a new musical ensemble comprising Aisha Orazbayeva on violin, Gregor Riddell on cello, Kit Downes on keyboards and Simon Roth on drums and percussion.

This new collective unites four highly regarded London-based musicians, two from the contemporary classical idiom and two improvising musicians. Music will vary from Russian folk ballads to group arrangements of virtuosic solo violin repertoire.

Pop-Up Circus is a multi-disciplinary platform for artistic things happening now. They promote and stage music, art, film, theatre, writing, food and photography in traditional and non-traditional venues throughout London.

The Dash Café with the Open Society Foundations:
Celebrating Muslim Cultures Across Europe

31st January 2013 | Rich Mix, London

The Dash Café presents an evening of film and music, celebrating the cultural diversity of Europe's Muslim communities. This event is in partnership with the Open Society Foundations – to celebrate their At Home In Europe Project, which explores the diverse experiences of Muslim communities throughout Europe.

We are proud to present, courtesy of Pathé International, an exclusive screening of acclaimed French film Hold Back (Rengaine). Directed by Rachid Djaïdani, the film thrilled audiences at Cannes and the London Film Festival last year. Set in modern-day Paris, it tells the story of Dorcy, a young Christian black man, who wants to marry Sabrina, a young Arab girl. It would be simple and easy if she didn’t have forty brothers, and if this carefree proposal didn’t raise all the taboos still heavily anchored in both communities. Slimane, the elder brother of Sabrina’s family and keeper of the traditions, will try to oppose their union by any means necessary…

A fearless, funny and provocative film, whose dynamic camerawork and editing bring alive the diverse and bustling back-streets of Paris, and carry the audience along from start to finish.

Winner of the Cineuropa Award, Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival 2012, and of the “Prix Nice Time” for best feature film in competition, Festival Tous Ecrans, Geneva, 2012.

“Brisk and brash, the latest twist on well-worn Romeo and Juliet/West Side Story themes has an irresistibly youthful zest that easily transcends and justifies the rough edges of its unvarnished approach. … It's a deceptively smart take on hot-button racial issues”
Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter

This Café also sees the return of two bands who have taken the Dash Café by storm in the past: the Yaz Fentazi Trio and Abdelkader Saadoun. Yaz Fentazi has previously fronted the Fantazia Duo who were the Dash Café’s regular house band during our Arabic Series from 2010-2012: now returning in the form of a trio, he and his band play a breathtakingly rootsy blend of Gnawa, Chaabi and Dance which draws on the vibrant rhythms and rich musical tradition of North Africa. Abdelkader Saadoun is known as the “King of Rai”: he and his band play the dynamic and danceable sound of Rai, which is rooted in the fast rhythms of traditional Algerian music and also encompasses Pop, Jazz, Funk, Salsa, Rock, Fusion and Blues.

A Radio Gagarin Special - The Women's Revolution!

5th December 2012 | Rich Mix, London

Ignite your inner babushka! And celebrate Radio Gagarin style – with our comradeship of live music, digital DJ prowess, performance art, cinema, drama, poetry, puppetry, poverty, posterity, sailors, mutineers, heart throbs, Laika, Belka, Strelka and vodka!

This time around the sputnik is being steered by the ladies. Featuring a screening of classic Soviet film work; and mind-blowing edible performance art and VJ sets from the legendary band of fearless art activists "The Gagarin Granddaughters" (London's somewhat more tasteful answer to Pussy Riot). Manning the ship will be the sweet-voiced Elena Dana, who will delight your ears with an array of feisty gypsy romances and glorious jazz melodies. All interlaced with the intoxicating tunes of DJ Mourrka – London's only Russian gangster cat DJ! And hosted by the renowned feminist, Lemez Lovas.

Dress code (encouraged): notable Soviet women.

Armenian Music with Tigran Aleksanyan

7th November 2012 | Rich Mix, London

The Dash Café presents the enchanting melodies of renowned Armenian duduk player Tigran Aleksanyan. Born in the Ararat Mountains of Armenia, Tigran settled in the UK in 2001. He is a celebrated master of traditional Armenian folk instruments including the duduk, zurna, Armenian folk flute or shepherd's flute; and his general musicianship and talent for improvisation are formidable. He has performed with the Armenian State Dance Ensemble's orchestra and with the Akhtamar Dance Group, and also has been an occasional member of the phenomenal band Daphna Sadeh & The Voyagers. He has performed at the South Bank Centre, at several Womad UK festivals and at numerous other venues on the British folk and world music scene, as well as having featured on BBC Radio 3, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

With accompaniment by acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Andrew Cronshaw, Tigran will give a flavour of the magical, soulful, jazz-inflected sounds of modern Armenian folk music.

New Documentary Films from the Caucasus region

3rd October 2012 | Rich Mix, London

Dash Arts presents an evening of new films, in collaboration with international arts charity Firefly International and documentary film producer Elhum Shakerifar.

A screening of documentary shorts from modern Georgia, will be followed by a conversation between Elhum and Daniel Gorman (Director of Firefly International) about the documentary film-making scene and the wider picture of modern culture in the region.

Films include:

When Clocks Stop by Tiko Nachkebia
A lyrical portrait of the changing face of the Georgian state television service, and its relationship with the immense political changes within the country since the channel was born.

Debt by Levan Koguashvili
Two illegal Georgian immigrants from the former Soviet Union fight for their survival on the unforgiving streets of Brooklyn, New York. Shot entirely with a digital still photo camera, The Debt gives viewers an honest look into a private and often unacknowledged world.

The April Chill by Tornike Bziava
On April 9th 1989, the Soviet troops violently quelled a peaceful demonstration in Tblisi. 22 innocent lives fell victim to this atrocious act. 'The April Chill' tells the story of the awakening of human instinct in a Soviet military service man, thanks to a young Georgian dancer.

Waiting for Mum by Nana Ekvtmishvili
A humorous short documentary about sons and their mothers. The film received a Special Mention at last year's Tblisi International Film Festival.

Speechless by Salome Jashi
An experimental short which uses an abstract, stylised approach to document the aftermath of the 2008 conflict; creating a different way for the audience to witness a tragedy it has never seen, but also offering moments of strange beauty.

Firefly International is a charity working to resolve conflict worldwide: they provide arts and culture initiatives to build links between communities everywhere and to support youth, community and grassroots activities. They organise the Reel Festivals: dedicated programmes of events and performances (film, music, poetry etc) which raise awareness of areas in conflict around the world.

Elhum Shakerifar is a documentary film maker who has produced works including Sean McAllister's THE RELUCTANT REVOLUTIONARY and Saeed Taji Farouky’s feature documentary THE RUNNER. Elhum is co-director of award-winning collective Postcode Films, which facilitates projects promoting active citizenship and social inclusion. Postcode Films recently set up Kino Futures, a series of workshops in the Black Sea region, and will be teaching at this year's Batumi Art House Film Festival in Georgia. Elhum is a Research Fellow in Anthropology at Goldsmiths, and teaches documentary at the University of East Anglia and The Free University of Berlin.

Dash Arts presents a new programme of Dash Cafés: an artistic exploration of the countries of the former Soviet Union with music, films, talks and discussions.

View photos from the event >

The Opener in collaboration with Pushkin House

5th September 2012 | Rich Mix, London

Dash Arts presents a new programme of Dash Cafés: an artistic exploration of the countries of the former Soviet Union, with music, films, talks and discussions.

We open with a lively panel discussion, focusing on the past year’s cultural and political happenings in the countries of the former Soviet Union, and providing a flavour, for new audiences, of the cultures and recent history of the region.

The panel is chaired by Julian Gallant, Director of Pushkin House, London’s independent centre of Russian culture. It includes Alexander Kan, Arts and Culture Correspondent for the BBC Russian Service; Svetlana Adjoubei, director of Russian cultural organisation Academia Rossica; and independent arts co-ordinator and director Alice Terekhova.

The evening will also feature music from the Mazaika Duo, who use violin, accordion and voice to create an intoxicating blend of Russian folk songs, jazz, tango, Gypsy fiddle and Balkan beats. Their performances are a feat of passion, musical subtlety and emotional depth.

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Live music from Téa and Mirella Hodžic, with Vanja Krawczyk

13 June 2012 | London

The Dash Café returns to Rich Mix as part of the East in East Festival, celebrating Eastern European culture during the Euro 2012 tournament, with the wonderful Téa and Mirella Hodžic. Born in Sarajevo, Bosnia, sisters Téa and Mirella Hodžic sing gorgeous close harmonies and haunting melodies. They will be accompanied by the Polish Roma virtuoso accordionist Vanja Krawczyk.

"Her voice haunted me for the rest of the day..." Clive Davies, The Times

Building on the success of the Balkan super-group Szapora, Téa and Mirella Hodžic create music that is intimate, passionate and irresistible.