Shamil is featured in This Foreigner Can Campaign's blog
Shamil is the co-founder of La La Piano Bar, a pop-up piano bar based in London’s West End. After starting as a one-off event in Covent Garden, it is now an established event management company. Able to pop up anywhere in London, the New-York style piano bar event has also dazzled audiences in Brighton.
Shamil has a background in human rights – in his native Kyrgyzstan, he set up an NGO that within five years became one of the leading youth movements. Due to his political activities, Shamil came to the UK twelve years ago and sought political asylum.
Shamil has always known that he wanted to set up a business in the long-term, but had to spend some time establishing himself in London. He did not have much money when he first arrived and his English was patchy, so he began by doing part-time and volunteer work. Eventually, this paid off – he earned status and landed a job within the YMCA.
La La Piano Bar
Shamil has now been working with the YMCA as a project manager for the last eleven years. With the YMCA, he has enhanced his skills in business development and operational management, managing projects within the business including an asylum seekers project and a supported housing project. With these skills, he co-founded La La Piano Bar with business partner David Roper, best known for being one quarter of the famous ‘4 Poofs and a Piano’, the house band on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross.
It is tricky to run a business when you have a full-time job, and business has been up and down, but La La Piano Bar is rapidly evolving and going from strength to strength. It is increasingly in demand for private parties, big anniversaries and milestone birthdays, as well as corporate events. Amongst its events, make sure not to miss its “indulgent Sunday evening” at the Groucho Club in aid of Cancer Research UK on 15th November.
As well as such charitable events, Shamil explains why La La Piano Bar is about more than just professional singers and a fabulous party. “Our aim is to bring joy and happiness to those who love singing and music. There is a real sense of community created when a whole roomful of people are singing along in harmony to a song – the bond is amazing.”
London loves La La Piano Bar – and Shamil and David hope to spread the joy to the rest of Britain.