This CD is the result of a Music In Detention Community Exchange project delivered by Music for Change and facilitated by Daniel James and Lucky Moyo. The artists visited Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre, on the outskirts of Oxford, and Restore just off Oxford's Cowley Road during September 2010 for six sessions spread over three weeks.
The aim was to increase local people's awareness of Campsfield House IRC and the men detained there, and to share stories, music and culture between the two groups of participants. There were over 50 participants in all and the resulting CD shows a fascinating slice of life inside and outside the IRC, paying tribute to the vast diversity of cultures around us and the enormous overlap in our basic experiences.
We started the sessions by playing and listening to traditional songs in the IRC, then playing the recordings at Restore and the theme of home emerged from discussions around that. This resulted in some fascinating interviews and some touching stories about people's various situations both in the IRC and at Restore. At Campsfield House, detainees were so eager to be involved in the music that the sessions would start with a drum beat and explode with noise into waves of traditional songs, often from Bangladesh where a large group of the regular participants were originally from. Between the six sessions the group had started meeting up regularly to sing and were turning into a very slick ensemble, harmonies included! The officers had been very helpful in advertising the sessions well and drumming up support by wandering through the centre just prior to the start. And the sessions were a singing and dancing success. Some of the singing is captured on the CD, but the dancing you'll have to imagine...
Back at Restore we played recordings that we had made in Campsfield to the participants there and came up with some questions there and came up with some questions that would help them to understand life in the detention centre. These formed the basis for the discussions that we had with some of the detainees.
During the final week at Restore, we were lucky enough to speak to Raymond about his reasons for being there and his recent experiences in hospital. This interview and the poems that came out of a related writing session form the backbone of the first part of the CD.
Music In Detention works through music to give voice to immigration detainees and create channels of communication between them, immigration detention staff, local communities and the wider public.
Music for Change is a leading educational arts organisation, committed to promoting awareness, understanding and respect for cultural diversity. Working with skilled artists from around the world, the charity encourages people to celebrate cultural diversity whilst challenging preconceptions and prejudice.