During April 2009 a Community Exchange took place between detainees at Dover Immigration Removal Centre and two youth groups in Dover: the YMCA Teen Cafe at the Dover Discovery centre, and Eastern European young people at the PACE youth group.
Artist H Patten led sessions for a group of detainees at the Immigration Removal Centre in which this song was written and composed by the participants.
For the detainees, the song lyrics reflect on having strength and coping mechanisms to get through this transitory stage of life, which, the participants said, won't last forever. The title of their song, Gye Nya Me, is taken from the line: Everything passes away, everything a gye nya me (meaning 'except God').
During the same period, H also worked at the Teen Cafe, where he taught the participants the components of the Mento drum rhythm, Jamaican call and response songs and a short song was composed by the group.
At PACE, Ed Parsons taught the participants how to mix and scratch tracks and a rap was composed with Paul Barrett.
Both groups of young people reflected on stereotypes, popularity and what it feels like to move to another country. After listening to the words written by the detainees, the young people wrote the following lyrics:
Taken from 'Czech to England'
PACE Youth Group - Dover
Yesterday is history
Tomorrow is a mystery
Every day is a gift like today it's a lesson
That's why there is, past,
future and present
So let's remember the good
And the bad just forget it.
Ivan and Jamie,
YMCA Teen Cafe - Dover
Popularity ain't working for me
If that's the case then I might just flee
But fleeing ain't the right thing to do
Have self confidence and
keep being you
Let people see positivity in you.
'Gye Nya Me' (Except God)
Written and performed by detainees at Dover IRC
Outside it's borderline living
Inside it's straight up surviving
Them claim say that they are winning
But that's what me keep them believing
The engine inside keeps
burnin through the night
If you keep it strong you'll
make it through the fight
With a V6 you're alright
But with a 1.3 you can't keep up
The engine inside keeps
burning through the night
Nothing don't last forever
No matter the road you take
Everything passes away
Everything A gye nya me
Dignity comes from the creator
Dignity don't come from creation
Some people live for purpose
Others joke around with no aspirations
People outside aren't all angels
People inside aren't all criminals
Left my home to fulfill my ambition
So why are we treated like animals?
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 arts and educational organisation committed to promoting awareness, understanding and respect for cultural diversity. Working with skilled and experienced artists from around the world, our role is to encourage people to celebrate cultural commonality and diversity whilst challenging preconceptions and prejudice.
Dover Immigration Removal Centre
This project has enabled students at the Immigration Removal Centre to have a glimpse of the lives of people living in Dover and both groups have been able to learn from each other through sharing their words and songs.