Huge thanks to members of the Kinetika Bloco team for returning to the Council to get us all up and dancing, carnival style! We collaborated with this awesome team back in October for Kinetika Bloco's Croydon Carnival Camp (which we LOVED), and it was a joy to welcome them into our house this time. Their set got the PACKED room of 45 young people up and dancing, and featured the musical stylings of two of our budding MCs. Stay tuned because there is news to announce about the next instalment of our work together!
If you had visited us two weeks ago during our February half-term period, you would have found a room full of teens, our dramatherapy team, a writer, directors, and musicians...why? Because we spent some time with the Young Vic exploring what our collective voice is, how we want it to be heard, and what mediums express us as a whole and as individuals most. This is no small or box-ticking foray into what is perhaps traditionally described as 'inter-disciplinary work.' We are deep in thought about our role as community organisers, humanitarian activists, musicians and artists, members of (different) generations, cultures, perspectives, and more. And it's only through engaging with one another (within and beyond our own industries),. challenging, exploring, and stretching the boundaries between and surrounding us, that we as a generation of humans who are on this Earth right now can come to grips with how we support the voices that must be heard.
We aren't yet sure where this collaboration with the Young Vic will lead, but we certainly had a great time playing and searching together. Keep us collaborating: donate!
We love our tutors, and it is just the greatest feeling that they so often want to go above and beyond their more than weekly roles. As such, we were thrilled to see piano tutor, Katie Moberly's jazz quartet come in to bring some soothing jazz vibes into the Refugee Council Children's section earlier this month. While we tend to bring in high energy dance-it-out groups, this was a welcome bubble bath for the ears. Only things missing were the dimmed lights, red velvet seats, and candle-lit tables...nothing a trip to Wilko can't fix!
Huge thanks to Caro and Jorge who brought the flair of flamenco to our AIA session back at the beginning of January. It was fierce and visceral, and we loved discovering that of our whole community, the young Kurdish boys in particular latched onto it and were able to replicate the moves quite easily, as it shares similarities with traditional Kurdish dances. You learn something new every day!
What a time we had at the end of January! The day after our Young Leader, J, took Kings Place by storm, our whole entourage rocked Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall, with over 100 audience members joining in!
We opened our set by giving the audience a taste of what it is to be part of our weekly sessions; our kids lead welcoming games and musical intros that we do every week together, so that the audience was primed and ready to give and receive bunches of energy. Thanks to members of Aurora Orchestra, we opened with a new iteration of J's Flight for Freedom (see previous blog post) which grounded the space. Our brilliant ensemble leader, Bill, then launched us straight into our arrangement of Tum Hi Ho, a popular Hindi tune that all of our kids are crazy about! The trumpets were blasting, pianos and guitars were rocking, woodwinds were singing, and our string section was bowing with all they had. The mic was passed around throughout the arrangement and brothers and sisters of our global family took turns to sing their heart out to and with the loving audience. It was absolutely an afternoon to remember, and if you weren't able to make it on this occasion, make sure you don't miss the next one! Sign up for our support network. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We've been so busy making music and art that we simply haven't had the time to update our favourite public about everything we've been up to since the new year!
One of the highlights for certain, was when one of our young leaders (J) took centre stage at Kings Place alongside members of the Orchestra of St John's, and brilliant jazz trio Alice Zawadzski, Misha Mullov-Abbado, and Rob Luft as part of OSJ's Displaced Voices concert, back in January. J wrote an exceptional piece of poetry called Flight for Freedom, which he and his violin teacher, Alice, developed into a GORGEOUS semi-improvised work that highlighted the vital importance of resting in a space of unknown, together, reaching towards one another beyond the realm of language. It was one of the most powerful performances we have ever seen, and our family couldn't have been more proud. We hope to be able to share a recording of this performance with you sometime this year, as we are making plans to record it in studio. If you would like to help make sure this happens, please donate on our home page!
Until then, with gratitude for this young person's astounding resilience, brilliance, and humanity, here is J's poem Flight for Freedom:
Flight for Freedom
I am a refugee. I am a bird, who has no wings with which to fly.
My wounds have not healed and I have so much sorrow.
My path is full of danger, and my hopes lie on the other side.
In Turkey they said "sinir kapali"
In Germany they said "die Grenze ist geschloßen"
In America they say "la frontera está cerrada"
In England they said "the border is closed, you have to turn back..."
I know that your land and your people are free. I can feel it. If you let me in, I promise I will fly for you, always.
Long live humanity.
The founders, Anna and Alyson