This album is the result of a series of 12 participatory music making workshops that took place over 3 weeks in autumn 2015, involving participants from the Fusion Café at YMCA West London and Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre. This was the second project of its kind that Music In Detention have run at the Fusion Café. The first project which took place during the Spring of 2015, engaged young people between the ages of 18-25, some of whom returned for this second project taking on a mentoring role, encouraging their younger peers, aged 11 – 18, to express themselves through music and collaborate with the detainees they had been put in touch with.
Artists Shammi Pithia and Oliver Seager from Music for Change, worked in each setting passing messages, lyrics and beats between the young people and detainees. The aim of the project was to create music that included input from both groups and that is inspired by the stories of the individuals taking part. For example, ‘Keep on Fighting’ emerged as a backing track created by detainees during a jamming session. This was taken to the YMCA where artists worked with the young people on writing lyrics to go on top. After hearing the detainees’ stories, the young people found ways to empathise, give support, advice, and encourage detainees to stay strong. One brilliant piece of advice from an 11 year old YMCA participant: “Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
Through sharing their thoughts, both groups were able to learn about each other and understand one another’s lives in a very direct way. The result is a beautifully true album expressing the thoughts of young people living in the Hillingdon community and adults held in immigration detention nearby.