Celebrating Sanctuary :: Building bridges with detainees
In June 2010 three musicians from Music for Change facilitated a community exchange project linking pupils from Harlington Community School with detainees from Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre over a period of six days as part of National Refugee Week.
The children were given an opportunity to understand the issues surrounding asylum and to reflect upon how it feels to flee from home to seek safety in a foreign land. The pupils also gained insight into how it might feel to be detained.
Through this learning, the children were inspired to write poetry and songs to express their feelins about the situation of those being held in the detention centre, a process which was facilitated by the musicians from Music for Change.
When these recordings were played at Colnbrook, the crowded music room was filled with an overwhelming sense of connection as detainees could see that their situations mattered to others in the community and that their voices were being heard. A reverential quiet fell over the room, usually filled with booming voices and hammering drums. One detainee, Dino Maphosa, asked if he could record a poem in response and this led on to a spontaneous outpouring of poems, acapellas and messages from many other detainees. These responses were taken back to the children at Harlington who also felt a connection and were moved to reply, and thus the exchange flourished.
The week culminated in a performance at the Celebrating Sanctuary Festival on London's South Bank, where the children gave inspiring performances of their new songs alongside broadcasts of detainee songs, ending an emotional project on a real high.
This album offers a selection of the songs, poems and words which capture the deep bonds of awareness and understanding formed between the detainees, the children, and the facilitators.
This project was delivered by Music for Change, facilitated by Tea Hodzic, Daniel James and Kevin Davidson on behalf of Music In Detention.
Special thanks go to Kathryn Stephens at Harlington Community School for her invaluable support throughout.
Music for Change is a leading arts and educational organisation committed to promoting awareness, understanding and respect for cultural diversity. Working with skilled and experienced artists from around the world, the role of the organisation is to encourage people to celebrate cultural commonality and diversity whilst challenging preconceptions and prejudice.
Music In Detention (MID) works through music to give voice to immigration detainees and create channels of communication between them, immigration and detention staff, local communities and the wider public.
An audio montage of moments recorded throughout the exchange
My Little Soldier
Written & performed by Buss
Written & performed by Dino Maphosa
Written & performed by Walumba Lumba
Lonely This Christmas
Written by Chinn/Chapman. Performed by Dino Maphosa
Remaining songs written & performed by Year 8 & 9 pupils from Harlington Community School.
All tracks arranged and produced by Kevin Davidson and Daniel James