These tracks were created by detainees held at Harmondsworth IRC and member of Music In Mind in Uxbridge, West London.
A community exchange project is a way of bringing together people who would not otherwise have the chance to meet; people held in immigration detention with people in a community setting nearby. It raises awareness and brings people together using music as the language of communication. The Free Future project created an open dialogue between a group of detainees from Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre and Music in Mind; a group of musicians with mental health challenges who meet to make and enjoy music in Uxbridge, West London. The two groups never met but they jointly created music together and occupied each other’s minds for weeks.
Yiannis Zaronis and Camilo Tirado from Music for Change took messages in the form of recordings or handwritten notes from one group to the other, and through the process of music making, creative listening and reflection, these messages were transformed into songs.
The people involved in the project were honest everyday people who shared an unrest, a need for expression, and were ready to listen, sympathise, laugh and cry, dance and tell stories.
The Music in Mind participants were curious and they were asking questions such as: “What do they eat?” “How long they have been there?” “Do they have internet?” As the project evolved and the questions were answered they started sending messages of hope and solidarity: “Tell them that I pray for them.” “Send them that song.”
In the IRC, the same group of men came week after week, they listened to the messages and sent back lyrics and melodies. People were keen to touch the musical instruments, the microphones, and play, sing, communicate, and get away from that place just for a few hours and to feel human again. The music recorded reflects the people who composed it: honest, hopeful, angry but kind hearted. It tells a story and carries a message. If you listen with your heart it can take you places. - Yiannis Zaronis