LSE Arts and World Bank event
Date: Monday 6 June 2011
Venue: Shaw Library, Old Building
Speaker: Rhian Benson
Chair: Emma Warren
An exclusive live acoustic performance by award-winning artist and LSE alumna Rhian Benson, followed by a conversation with journalist Emma Warren, discussing Rhian's time as a student at LSE, as well as her subsequent musical achievements and her involvement with World Bank’s ‘Young Africans Talk Development’ initiative.
When Welsh/Ghanaian singer and songwriter Rhian Benson released her first album, ‘Gold Coast’, in 2003, the buzz that followed was not confined to the Western Press. Africa was equally enamoured by the sultry and soulful tones of a woman who had spent her formative years in Ghana.
Educated at LSE and Harvard, Rhian worked at an investment bank briefly before leaving to care for her ailing mother. During that difficult time Rhian found healing and inspiration in her long-held passion for songwriting. She eventually signed to small independent record label in California, DKG Music, and commenced recording her debut album. Described as ‘One of R&B’s Best Bets’ by USA Today, Rhian toured extensively with artists ranging from Brian McKnight, Raphael Saadiq, Lemar to Angela Bofill. The album, produced by James Poyser (D’Angelo, Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill) and Bob Power (Tribe Called Quest, Erykah Badu) spawned Rhian’s first US R&B Top 10 hit and went on to sell in excess of 100,000 copies worldwide.
Fast-forward to 2011 and the MOBO Award winner, having taken some time away from the scene, has released her sophomore album, 'Hands Clean'. Rhian has described this album as a brave venture into a sonic terrain that is a fresh and bold, a fusion of eclectic electronica beats and sultry soul. These confessional tales of love and life represent a new direction for this singular artist as she journeys beyond the ‘Gold Coast’.
From the title of her critically acclaimed debut album, ‘Gold Coast’, to her successful Pre-Album Launch Party held in Accra, Ghana last year to celebrate the release of her new album, ‘Hands Clean’, to her recent segment on CNN’s ‘African Voices’ program; it has always been clear that Rhian Benson never shies away from celebrating her African roots with pride. Rhian was very honoured to have been invited by the World Bank to take part in the ‘Young Africans Talk Development’ series. The goals of this initiative are to inspire Africans across the globe to challenge the status quo and help move Africa to a sustainably higher level of economic development.
A drinks reception will take place after the event and be open to ticket holders.
To purchase a copy of Rhian Benson's new album Hands Clean, please visit Rhian Benson's website.
Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #lserhianbenson
A podcast of this event is available to download from Rhian Benson Returns to the LSE: Music, Conversation, African Inspiration.
Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.
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