Moving back to the Midlands from Hackney was a bit of an eye-opener. Okay, Derby has a variety of different cultures represented within it, but it is still one of the most ethnically segregated cities in the country and this becomes even more obvious at night-time.

Go into Derby city-centre during the evening and you are unlikely to see the diverse array of cultures that the city is home to. In fact, you could say the same about many other British towns and cities and it is with this in mind that I chose to promote a night which celebrates different cultures and, notably, the music that has spawned from them.

Okay, I have to admit, I'm a bit of an internet junkie, and spend countless hours drifting around global music websites adding tunes to my already fairly sizeable collection. I lament what the digital music industry has done to independent local record shops but at the same time, the internet has enabled me to hear sounds from across the globe.

I can hear underground producers from Lagos or Sao Paulo at the click of a button, and websites such as Myspace have made it easier than ever for us to open up to new music.

The main reason why I am embarking on Ritmo no Sol is to create a fusion of brilliant music from Africa and South America, and to encourage open minded people from all backgrounds to come and join us. I've been promoting the night in Normanton, the multicultural 'heart' of the city as well as the university and through the usual mainstream methods in the city-centre and the posters have been printed in English, Yoruba and French.

There are lots of things written about multiculturalism; some saying that it has failed, that it has created divisions within society and has somehow increased racial tension. I don't buy into these arguments and want Ritmo to prove that these statements are false.

Okay, so one night of Afrobeat/Bossa in Derby isn't going to make all the doubters think again, but it will be the opportunity for people to come together for a night of great global music, regardless of background, without feeling distanciated and most importantly of all, to enjoy themselves.

Viva la difference!

Marcus Shukla

Compass Youth East Midlands

*Communities and Local Government, State of the Cities report : Social Cohesion (page 109)