Welcome to the first Newsletter of 2017. I do try to highlight one or two aspects of town life which may not have featured in past issues and the photograph on this page relates to an annual event which is establishing itself in the cultural calendar: our Multicultural Festival staged in Alexandra Park. World music fans will have noticed in 2014 a band led by a former member of The Bhundu Boys from South Africa (which also featured a young female bassist from Essex). Last year, Peppery Productions excelled themselves with headliner Kanda Bongo Man, king of Kwassa kwassa, and his band. Although he was born Bongo Kanda, the compères of the day seemed a little ill-informed and expected a bongo-player judging by their announcements. Suffice to say that the band has, since 1979, featured some outstanding musicians including the guitar superstar, Diblo Dibala. The band playing in Ipswich did not disappoint and this was a splendid end to a rich mix of Bollywood dance and song and Asian hip-hop. Unmissable.
The Cornhill refuses to go away as a talking-point, rightly so. Our cover photograph shows its last major makeover when roseate block-paving covered the gentle slope and wags began to refer to it as ‘Red Square': perhaps also a reference to the complexion of the Borough's majority party.