Article published: Wednesday, June 18th 2014
For a fundraising gig on Friday, Salford charity Musicians Without Borders has teamed up with the local Amnesty International group to celebrate Refugee Week 2014. The organisation uses music to help communities affected by war, displacement and torture deal with trauma. Musicians Without Borders has been running projects all over the world for 15 years.
International successes include a Rock School in Kosovo bringing Serbians and Albanians together and a Samba project for refugees in Palestine.
While there’s a strong international focus, the organisation also works with around 300 refugees, torture and war survivors in the North West each year, building confidence and working through traumatic experiences in music therapy sessions.
For the last three years, the Stone Flowers project in Salford has helped group members express their thoughts and start to deal with the trauma they’ve experienced by writing and performing their own music. It is run in partnership with Freedom From Torture, a charity offering free counselling to torture survivors.
Group member Lito says the experience has changed him: ‘Performing with the group reminds me of who I am and what I live for.’
The participant-led project is a work in progress and several survivors now see it as crucial for raising awareness for their situations and what they and others have gone through. They aim to promote awareness of human rights abuse and challenge negative preconceptions of refugees and asylum seekers.
The Stone Flowers project members have just been in the studio recording six songs, and plan to launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to record and finish the album.
Nick Jones, Development and Finance Manager of Musicians Without Borders, says: ‘The testimonies and feedback from the participants themselves and the psychotherapists they work with show a reduction in the effects of trauma and isolation, and improved confidence and self-esteem.’
The fundraiser at Sacred Trinity Church in Salford focuses on acoustic music and spoken word with performances by local poet Kieren King, country trio The Lonesome and Penniless Cowboys, Magic Numbers’ Michelle Stodart, Colorama’s lead singer Carwyn Ellis and local up-and-coming singer songwriter Chris Flynn.
It is part of Refugee Week and coincides with World Wide Music Day. Refugee Week celebrates the cultural impact of refugees and campaign for their rights with a nation-wide programme of events, and World Wide Music Day (or Fête de la Musique) is an international celebration of music in over 460 cities around the world.
Acoustic Amnesty Fundraiser, Friday 20 June 2014 at 7pm at Sacred Trinity Church in Salford, entry £ 8.80. For more information, see event page.
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