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Sophia proudly presents
the musicians and artists 
for the third edition of
Sophia's Garden concert
for Mobile Mini Circus for Children

Unfortunately Natalia van der Mersch  and Natalia Kovalson had to cancel their performance at SG for MMCC last week. But I am so happy Errol was willing to help me last minute!









(1977) ) began his guitar studies at the age of 19 at the Guitar Institute L' Escola of Quirijn Cutter in Zwolle. He was first only motivated to play Bob Marley songs on the guitar of his great-aunt.

Quirijn taught him the value of a classical education. The compositions by Fernando Sor and Dionisio Aguado brought him in contact with a new world .
With Quirijn Errol was mainly devoted to Spanish and Latin American romantic music . In that period he followed masterclasses with Zoran Dukic , Stefano Grondona and Eduardo Isaac .

By the famous Andalusian gypsy guitarist José Antonio Carmona - ' Pepe Habichuela ' - he got in contact of the Flamenco : " When I heard Soleá Habichuela it was just a mysterious lure . I could not understand , there were a kind of ' false ' notes as in Arabic music . It was instantly clear to me: this is the way I must go . "

After four inspiring years with Quirijn , Errol continued his guitar studies with the virtuoso flamenco guitarist John Fillmore in Amsterdam. John taught him in the following years all the Flamenco Techniques and all the important Flamenco Styles.

In the years after Errol attended masterclasses and workshops with Moraíto Chico and Tomatito .

In 2003 he was a prize-winner at the EGTA Guitar Competition for amateur guitarists in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
And in the same year his dream came true when he was able to follow lessons in the region of Cadiz (Andalusia ) by Juan Manuel Utrera and Jose Pedro Jimenez ..
A year later Quirijn offered him the opportunity to share his experiences on the Flamenco guitar with interested students. Since then he has been teaching at Guitar Institute L' Escola .

In 2008, Errol founded the world music band PaLé and has worked regularly with musicians from many cultures.

Errol Pawiroredjo

Rooie Arie









Arie is a versatile entertainer in heart and soul. After 20 years working as a teacher and singer of the Redband he decided to proceed as a professional fulltime musician/entertainer `Rooie Arie´.  Rooie Arie is a troubadour, a clown and singer/guitarist in the Redband.

He is also a singer/guitarist of the successful band JAFT: musical poetry.  

In 2014 JAFT received the audience award at the cabaret festival in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

17th September, we will mainly meet Clown and Circusartist Arie.


Eric Durrer

Eric Dürrer living in Luxembourg,  is a conservatory percussionist and singer,  with Italian roots and strong ties to Cuba and BrazilFor a long time he didn’t know what to do. Whatever he tried, from classical to rock and a trip to jazz , the music he played just did not fit . However, after a Cuban percussion workshop he knew what to do. This was it! He enrolled at the Rotterdam Conservatory.With his Cuban education a ' salsero ' at heart and a real showman.He brings the 'real' salsas , with both vocals, percussion and show.

He has played in different projects eg:
Charanga band: Eric y su Chocolate 
Ernie Hammes group


At Sophia’s Garden concert he will play Cuban music.

Ofran Badakshani

(1982) Writer, poetrist, philosopher, Political scientist, PhD student 3TU. Centre for Ethics & Technology. 
His first collection of poems in Dutch language called:  ‘De banneling’ (The Exile) was published in 2015.
Badakhshani has published five collections in Persian: The season of silence, The encouragement, I announce the end, I am Iranian and The Drunk fly. 

Ofran is also chairman of the Afghan Youth Organisation Khorasan which focuses on the human rights. The organisation does not only operate in the Netherlands, but also in England, Belgium, France and Germany. The activities are not just limited to the Afghan people, but also with the Iranians, Somalians, and Moroccans.

His friends would describe him as: creative, passionate, motivated and more. In the future, Ofran hopes to win
the Nobel prize for literature and one day to become the president of Afghanistan. He wants to be a voice for the oppressed people in this world. He recently  published a critical note in the Dutch Newspaper NRC about the prejudices on refugees. And got a lot of publicity by that. 
And besides that he owns  a winebar ‘De Filosoof’  in the Hague!


At Sophia’s Garden concert he will play the Ruban (a traditional Afghan instrument) and recite his Persian poems in Dutch and English

Sonja Soyer









Although I spend many years at University studying art, history, psychology & educational sciences it has taking me years to live my true passion of an artist’s life! Grateful for the years in business and with my family that have made me into the person that I am today – I now professionally focus on creating art and passing on the creative spark to others.
Born as Dutch citizen in Germany, living in Luxembourg since the late 90ies, first on my own, then with my family – I now call this city my home. (Therefore fluent in English, German, French and Dutch.)  I’m a foodie, love traveling, film and music and am curious about the world around me!
Essentially I have been communicating, teaching and training the whole way through but only through our son’s first steps in his creative development I have come back full circle and have started to teach art classes. Being convinced that everyone can find the joy of their own expression; I love to teach beginners and advanced students alike!
I enjoy concepting classes and projects for children and adults that encourages them to open their eyes and to try out new styles and methods, looking off the beaten track for interesting subjects. May it be for schools, private classes or in business environments.
My own artistic approach
Although I am constantly searching for new means of expression that also include conceptional works, at heart l am a passionate painter, that works on canvas, paper and cardboard using colour and composition in order to express my perception of the world.
I create images that mirror my desire for landscapes, for nature and objects that the viewer seems to know, but that he has probably never seen like this before – trying to open eyes for the familiar and the mysterious. Striving to catch the singularity of a moment or a landscape and being fascinated by rhythms, structures and objects – in outside and inside spaces that I capture from my own, very specific point of view.


At Sophia’s Garden Concert Sonja will give an art workshop for children

Edith van den Heuvel









When she was about 9 years old Edith started singing with children's choir De Zonnepitten in Schijndel, the Netherlands, and she has  been singing on stage ever since; in musicals, jazz-bands and choirs. At the age of 15 Edith fell in love with jazz music and when she was studying Educational Sciences in Utrecht she was able to develop her passion in the most enthusiastic vocal group of the Netherlands: Dekoor close harmony.
In 1994 she moved to Luxembourg. Since then she was  involved in different projects and bands, from duo to big band, from mainstream jazz to improvised music. 
Nowadays projects:
Edith van den Heuvel and jazz pianist Frank Harrison from the UK have been working together since springtime 2012. They released their first CD called "Beneath the Blue" in December 2014.
Since 2006 jazz singer Edith van den Heuvel and guitar player Dany Schwickerath from Trier are forming a jazz duo.  In 2009 Edith and Dany released their first CD "Hidden Waltz" which they recorded at the Tritone Studios in Trier. Her latest project was recording two videos with a wonderful trio! she recorded it in the beautiful Schloss Weilerbach in Germany last november. With Frank Harrison on piano and Davide Petrocca on the bass

Magenta Hill is an exciting new jazzband from Luxembourg with six musicians, all with different nationalities and backgrounds.
Edith van den Heuvel (voice), Barbara Witzel (violin), George Letellier (piano), Paulo Simoes (guitar), Vedran Mutic (bass) and Benoit Martiny (drums) are mixing and experimenting with different elements such as groovy rhythms, bossa-nova, swing, modern jazz elements and improvisation while still staying true to the jazz tradition. 
The repertoire covers a range of different styles and music from Horace Silver to Joni Mitchell, from Wayne Shorter to Manfred Schoof and from Cole Porter to Toninho Horta.

Edith is my loyal supporter and I’m very happy with that!At Sophia’s garden concert 2016 she will perform together with Paulo Simoes

Paulo Simoes








Born in 1972. He lives in Luxembourg. Graduate of the American School of Music (Vienna) and the Conservatoire Royal of Brussels.
Paulo performs among other things as a jazz guitar duo with Greg Lamy. They met in Brussels and work together since 2006. 
The two guitarists, besides building up their solo career share the joy of playing in duo and the search of surprising on scene.  
During 2011, Lamy and Simoes released a CD including their new compositions.  And another CD: ‘two guitars’ has been released in Sept. 2015.
Last year during Sophia’s garden concert 2015 Paulo and Edith van den Heuvel met. Now they both play in the new band (with George Letellier, Barbara Witzel, Benoit Martiny, Vedran Mutic) called Magenta Hill.
Paulo has worked  together with Fado singer Raquel Barreira and Joao Godinho, where he plays fado music. He has also worked with Luisa Vieira, Marc Demuth, Jonathan Levi, Annemie Osbourne and many others. 
He´s working as a music teacher at Grevenmacher musicschool. 


INUK: D'Amàlia à Godinho
Nuit de Fado
Saturday 19th November 2016| 10:00 PM  Trifolion Echternach

At Sophia’s Garden Concert,He will play together with Edith van den Heuvel








David Mason
Special guest this day, and our dear friend; David Mason!
Sophia is very happy to see him.
He was Sophia´s inspiration to come up with this event. In the article you can read what David is doing and what the circus school means for the children in Afghanistan.  
Children's circus in Afghanistan tries to bring joy to the war ravaged country 
(hindustantimes, AFP Kabul, April 23, 2013)

In a dusty city of grey concrete blast walls where there's not always much to smile about, the organisers of a children's circus try to provide a splash of colour and some moments of joy.

The Kabul-based Mobile Mini-Circus for Children (MMCC) was founded in Afghanistan in 2002, months after the fall of the hardline Taliban Islamic regime which banned music and dance.
Fewer than one million children - and no girls - attended school nationwide at the time.
While other NGOs and government agencies focused on food, shelter and education, MMCC ( strove to introduce "soft" values bringing children together to foster a more joyful atmosphere despite frequent hardship.
David Mason

"It's a special circus," said founder David Mason, a former salsa and tango dance instructor from Denmark.
"It's a circus to educate, give meaning to life, make children happy, make them dream and realise their dreams and gain self-confidence and inspiration."
Professional adult artists tour and perform for children across the war-torn country.
In the past 11 years, the circus and its local partner the Afghan Educational Children's Circus have attracted a total live audience of more than 2.7 million people in 25 provinces.
At a show in Kabul on Sunday to mark World Circus Day, young performers in colourful cloaks circled a courtyard on rollerskates and headscarved girls showed off their juggling skills.
Children performed cartwheels and backward somersaults and formed human pyramids, dancing and clapping to entertain an audience of their peers from a camp for internally displaced people and an orphanage.
"When you are living under a plastic sheet in a Kabul winter, then... hardship and surviving makes people forget about living. And then once you have survived, there's nothing much to live for," said Mason, 47.
The circus works to change that.
A total of 120 girls and boys attend a centre in Kabul after regular school hours to learn circus skills, going on to give performances in schools and refugee camps.
"They are semi-professionals," said Mason, co-director of the non-profit body with his partner Berit Muhlhausen. MMCC also draws on support from almost 100 international professionals and volunteers.
Enjoyment is the main message but the circus also stages hour-long educational performances. They include messages lasting for 10-15 minutes on the importance of hygiene, school attendance, mine awareness and malaria prevention.
But the overriding message is to be happy. "It's difficult to convince academics and people in power that having a reason to be joyful is a huge achievement, an aim in itself," he said.
He told AFP that attention to children's art and talents "is really important in society. We can see that young Afghan people have a lot of talent".
Firouz, an 11-year-old who lives in a camp for internal refugees, also enjoyed the show. "This programme is fun," he said. "I'd like to learn how to juggle and do gymnastics. It's really good."
Every year the circus brings together children from across Afghanistan for major events such as festivals and children's assemblies. This, says MMCC, promotes unity in a multi-ethnic country.
The MMCC holds entertainment programmes in the Afghan capital and other big cities. 
The circus, which has also performed overseas, says 75% of all its activities are run and taught by children at a time when Afghanistan is taking control of its own future as the international community steps back.
"Over the past decade, the children and youngsters at (the circus) have developed the capacity to lead young people across Afghanistan," it says on its website(
"Their voices are the voices of Afghanistan's future." 

Special guests 


Dutch Ambassador Luxembourg since September 2012 
After years of visiting Luxemburg as a deputy Ambassador of the Netherlands at the EU he got the opportunity to know the country of Luxembourg as a Dutch Ambassador. 
After studying Law and Philosophy (Utrecht, Bologna and Bruges) he followed a 'European' career; the relationship between government, private sector and university, has his keen interest.
Mr. Kok and his family are offering their garden for this event!

Dutch Deputy Ambassador Luxembourg since August 2013
Sophia and Mrs. Vrielink met for the first time in April 2016. She invited Sophia at the embassy and asked her to tell about her project. Afterwards Mrs. Vrielink  was so enthusiastic and offered the Dutch  residence as the venue for Sophia’s next Garden concert! Mrs. Vrielink is a very energetic and active person. Besides being the Dutch Deputy ambassador, mother and wife,  she’s organising  boot camps and running marathons.

Mrs. Vrielink is supporting Sophia in all kind of ways regarding Sophia’s Garden Concert 2016!







Initiator and Co-organizer of Sophia's Garden Concert for MMCC

Born on 26 september 2006 in St Martin, Dutch Antilles. Initiator and co-organizer of the Mobile Mini Circus for Children Garden Concerts. Since September 2016 pupil of the Waldorfschule Trier fourth year. 
She loves to draw and paint, making video’s and organizing events.  

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