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HOT meets Sarah Jane Morris

Sarah Jane Morris was interviewed by Erica Smith for the Hastings Online Times during January 2015, just before her headlining appearance at the Clean Water, Safe Children Ebola benefit concert.

You used to be a Hastings and St Leonards local – we miss you – but do you miss us now you’ve gone?

Sarah Jane Morris singingI moved away in July 2011 and although we love the house and community we live in near Canterbury, we always miss St Leonards and Hastings and we are sure that we will return one day. We made great friendships there and come back as often as we can. Losing my best friend to cancer (Angie Biltcliffe) was a huge loss to me as Angie had been the main reason I moved down from London. I met many people through Angie – including Mandy from 18 Hours – usually at Aardvark Cafe in Marine Court (now under new management as Poffley’s). I also miss the pier but I hear there are plans for a rebuild. I miss Reza who is the best deep tissue hot stone masseur around. I miss the lovely guys at Land of Green Ginger and the wonderful WI markets at the hall in All Saints Street where we used to live. Being able to catch one of the best singers in the business, Liane Carroll, playing for free at Porters was amazing. Hastings and St Leonards is a magical collection of artistic people.

What motivated you to come back to headline this benefit gig?

Raising money for Ebola is very much in the ethos of my new album, Bloody Rain. It features many wonderful guests from the Soweto Gospel Choir to Courtney Pine, to Keziah Jones (Nigeria) to Eska (Zimbabwe), Seckou Keita, Senegal, Adriano Adewale, Brazil, Avishai Cohen, Israel, Pee Wee Ellis on brass arrangements, and the list goes on! It’s an album of songs inspired by the melodies and rhythms of Africa dealing with homophobia, honour killings, child soldiers, childhood, love, fear, freedom, to name but a few issues. We have had five-star reviews and are starting to get air play with a calypso influenced song which is about sexual protection – it’s the new campaign song for Terrence Higgins trust.

What other musical projects have you been working on?

Recently Tony Remy and I wrote the song for Leila Hussein’s Daughter’s of Eve Female Genital Mutilation campaign and a track from Bloody Rain is being used as the campaign song for Eve Ensler’s campaign called A Million Woman Rising launched in Marble Arch on 14 February.

Read the full article in the Hastings Online Times