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Stay Strong

This project is about communication. Music was the language and humans the receivers of the messages. A dialogue was opened between detainees from Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre and West London YMCA community cafe. These people never met but they exchanged messages through music, drawings and letters. The artists were the messengers, travelling back and forth capturing moments of smiles and hope. Most of the participants are not musicians and the final results are snapshots of spontaneous forms of expression.

Detainees are sometimes held for a long period of time, very often without knowing how long they will stay, or where they will be sent when released. Detention can be a very isolated environment and music activities bring a sense of normality and creativity into their everyday lives.

The young adults from the YMCA have come from a variety of backgrounds, including refugees, young parents and many have very challenging lives.

The music from this project is a celebration of cultural diversity and human interaction.

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.

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.

"At first I wasn't too confident about doing it, but upon getting stuck in I found out it was actually really enjoyable and it's a good way to let out a lot of built up emotion."
Young person, West London YMCA


Album recorded and produced by Yiannis Zaronis & Oliver Seager
All tracks created by participants from West London YMCA Hayes & Harmondsworth IRC 


Universal Language

Introduction, spoken word


Lost Voices

Indian song, keyboard


Dub mash up

Dub, rap, hip hop, reggae



Spoken word


Message of Love

Spoken word, beat, messages


Who Am I?

Multilingual, collaboration, ballad


Keep your head up

Freestyle, rap, hip hop, dub


Round Round

Ballad, acoustic



Spoken word, poetry



Rock, metal, hip hop, funk



Spoken word, project summary

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