Music In Detention works with immigration detainees, bringing them together with professional musicians and local communities to share, create and enjoy music, enabling often-ignored voices to be heard in new ways.
In March 2012 clients from Oakley Rural day centre collaborated in creating, exchanging and recording musical and lyrical compositions working in parallel with people detained at Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre, Bedford. Both groups worked with professional musicians to create this CD and in the process, participants found out about the lives, hopes and wishes of people detained a short distance away.
One of the main areas of common ground that came up was that of family break-up and isolation. Women participants at Oakley empathised with being separated from their children and wrote lyrics about life changing and rearranging, hoping to send a positive message to detainees. For their part, detainee participants added various instrumentals and vocals to the track, reflecting on themes such as home, family, friendship and things that made them happy, ending these thoughts with the message "we wish you a good life".
"Initially we were skeptical of how our older clientele would react to working alongside detainees. Music is a wonderful tool. It allowed the group to express themselves and gave them a better understanding of what goes on behind the locked doors. In the past they have only seen what the media portrays. We were all pleasantly surprised by the outcome and would definitely recommend this project to another group."
Lynn Defeo, Oakley Rural Centre manager
Oakley Rural day centre aims to provide a warm, friendly and safe environment, where clients can spend a fun, engaging day with a variety of activities both on- and off-site.
The Asian Music Circuit is the leading promoter of Asian music in the UK. It has established a reputation for producing innovative tours, concerts and educational projects of the highest standard.
This project was delivered by the Asian Music Circuit and facilitated by Shammi Pathia and Michael Goodey on behalf of Music In Detention.
All tracks recorded, arranged and produced by Shammi Pethia and Michael Goodey.
Mixed by Shammi Pithia. Drawings by Oakley Rural participants.