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Lovestream expands from DJ collective livestreaming to support the community to get creative


By Margaret Chrystall

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A Highland DJ collective known for innovative world music is now reaching out to the community with their Lovestream platform.

Through their club night Karawane, they have organised a unique set of events over the past 18 months and have become well-known for their eclectic music, from Cuban ska to deep Nigerian Afrobeat and many more genres of music energising Highland dancefloors.

But for the past few months, Mark Thomson – Karawane DJ Mark 92 – has been creating a community online to support people in this challenging time of Covid-19 and lockdown.

Mark Thomson.
Mark Thomson.

Mark said: “I was looking around and there was just this barrage of horrible negative news everywhere. I thought we needed a space focusing just on the positives – and that’s what this was about.”

Initially, Lovestream was a livestream for DJs to share their music on.

“We started the livestream parties – I did the first one – and played for five hours and we got 1,100 people viewing it, which was crazy!

“Some people got in touch and said ‘Where can we make a donation?’, so I put up a link to the Highland Food Bank.”

You can go and watch previous DJ sessions including Monkey Magic's Music Marathon, various Karawane DJs and Household DJs. This weekend - the aim is to have two live streams, DJ Naomi Carole playing world and global bass and live percussion is confirmed for Friday from 8-11pm.

But quickly Lovestream – an inspired name which Mark says came to him in the wee small hours one morning – has expanded to offer resources such as entertainment, learning, creative projects – also for kids and ways to find wellbeing.

“I’ve now got two other people helping me source content," Mark explained.

"Some content will be videos and live events that will be premiered on the stream, such as a forthcoming inaugural art exhibition and the release of an amazing documentary film on the Ironworks.

"The other content is for a new page called Voices which is a collection of writings, poetry, videos, stories – exploring and reflecting on how this whole situation feels to us, and also looking at the positive things that might come out of this in the future.

"There are a lot of people thinking with this situation from coronavirus, how is this going to change us, our situation, change society and the way we interact with our environment.

"When people start to get anxiety or hear scare stories – they can go there and read good stuff too.”

Enter Lovestream's world.
Enter Lovestream's world.

From Fife originally, Mark returned to the Highlands on holiday after about 20 years living in Europe – and stayed.

“I was 10 years living in Barcelona and the weather was amazing, but in terms of things like community there is no comparison.”

Anyone who wants to offer their services to Lovestream – or is in search of a creative challenge like their new poetry competition – go to:

Facebook @lovestreamhighlands and also http://lovestream.co.uk/

To see the first part of the film Venue In Our City, it will be broadcast as a live premiere on Thursday. May 14 at 8pm. You can access it via this link:

https://www.twitch.tv/lovestreamhighlands

Part one focuses on the Ironworks, celebrates its achievements and role in the city and looks at how it has influenced people for the past 15 years. It features interviews with local artists such as Elephant Sessions and record label mainman, producer and musician Iain McLaughlin and live footage of events at the Ironworks. Share this!


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