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Winter Snow

Winter Snow

Throughout February 2012, Dan and Zirak from Music for Change facilitated a MID community project with detainees at Campsfield House IRC and people living in temporary accommodation in Oxford, who were rebuilding their lives with the help and support of staff at Oxford Homeless Pathways.

At Campsfield House Zirak's violin and percussion playing quickly gathered a large crowd who were eager to hear, play and dance to traditional songs from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Kurdistan, India and Pakistan. The microphone provided the focus for a series of performances: songs, stand-up comedy, and a moving speech by one of the elders in the group, encouraging people to continue with their music and pointing out that although their countries had different names, they had a lot of shared experience and culture.

The officers at Campsfield House joined in the fun during the sessions and this culminated with a dance-off between a few of the detainees and an officer, much to everyone's amusement! Although the officer made a valiant effort, it was generally agreed that he'd have to go back to Bhangra dancing school if he was ever going to be a serious contender!

Interviews with detainees were played to the participants in Oxford to give them a sense of life in the detention centre. Music and lyrics grew from the empathy they felt for each others' situations, including 'Winter Snow', about the difficulties of getting through a harsh winter, and 'Blue Bayou', about chasing your dreams. The participants from Oxford had many talents (singing, piano playing and writing to name a few). We hope this project reminded them of their own abilities and will help them look to the future.