Before we return to the dancefloor to make up for 16 lost months of partying, we’re celebrating some of the UK’s most prized independent music venues, taking you on a tour of the haunts that fuel the nation’s party-goers. In partnership with Beefeater Gin and THE FACE, we’ve teamed up with Shanti Celeste, Swing Ting, Flohio and Sef Kombo & Kitty Amor on four films that show us the significance of independent venues in Bristol, Manchester and South & East London. Up next is London’s Sef Kombo & Kitty Amor.
Surrounded by graffiti, greenery, and a hell of a lot of good vibes, Hackney Wick houses street upon street of independent and locally founded venues, bars, restaurants and cafes. Notably, Grow Hackney has existed as a hub for musicians and locals with a sustainable ethos for years, now hosting Sef Kombo & Kitty Amor’s night, Motherland.
Motherland is the love-child of Sef Kombo and Kitty Amor’s adoration for fusing house and African rhythms, and - outside of lockdown - runs bi-monthly in the Hackney Wick venue. “Motherland is an education, community, it’s a place of warmth, and a place of freedom,” says Sef Kombo, describing the night that he and Kitty Amor created from the ground up. “It’s love,” adds Kitty. Where Motherland has been running for the past five years seeing in countless faces from across London and beyond, the pair now host a welcoming community through the doors every two weeks.
“We play a range of house music moulded from Africa, for me, it’s really important for the diaspora. It’s a way to connect home,” says Sef. “East London itself is a very vibrant area, Hackney Wick has something special about it,” Kitty says. “Grow still feels like a hidden gem, when you come here you kind of kick yourself like, ‘Why didn’t I come here before?!’.”
The community spirit that flows through Grow continues to draw in the warm atmosphere that surrounds the London venue each day. With a dedicated crowd, a boogie-charged night, and a communal love for music, Sef Kombo and Kitty Amor have helped to put Grow firmly on the East London map.
Head to THE FACE to check out Sef Kombo & Kitty Amor's s guide to 24 hours in east London and check out their set at Grow Hackney below.