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What songs are the young people learning this term?

Over the course of each term, every student attending the Soundmix sessions will work towards learning a set of songs. The songs are chosen to provide the right level of engagement and learning from the young people, and are used in our performances during the term.

There are three ways we generate songs:
1) Chosen by tutors
2) Chosen by students
3) Writing our own Soundmix songs!

Previous terms song choices have included bangers such as ‘See You Again’ by Wiz Khalifa and ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley.

At the start of this term, the tutors chose the tune ‘You’re all I need to get by’, as produced by Mark Ronson. The thinking behind this choice was:
– A contemporary sound with a catchy, appealing hook
– A clear, plain English chorus that can be sung by everyone
– A strong beat and chord progression to learn from.

What makes this song a particularly strong choice is that it samples the almost universally appealing sound of Motown along with original raps by African and American vocalists.

At the start of term, students are often hesitant to share their own song choices. Now at the mid-point of term, we had a great sharing of song choices within the group, spawning our second cover song of the term ‘Let her go’ by Passenger. We look forward to working on this in the second half of term, along with the creation of another Soundmix classic!

Welcome to our new Project Manager

At the end of the summer term, we were sad to say goodbye to our PM, Andrea Kempson, who worked so hard to build the project to where it is today. Thank you, Andrea and good luck with all your new ventures.

But everyone at Soundmix is excited to welcome Sasha Leacock, our new Project Manager. Sasha hit the ground running at the start of the new term in September and quickly got to know the tutor team and the Refugee Council staff as well as the young people at the weekly sessions. We look forward to her taking Soundmix into the future, now with the generous support of Children in Need. Read more about Sasha in Meet the team.

Big thanks to Children in Need!

In July we had the fantastic news that we had been offered a second grant from Children in Need that will run until the end of 2020.  Soundmix chair, Nishi Tailor, commented, “Our grant is huge for us. The fact we know we’ve got funding for three years means we can commit to a project, rather than focus on raising money. It brings a peace of mind and, going forward, the space to do what we want to do.”

Songwriting and friendship

At Soundmix, the young people we work with have the opportunity to not only learn musical skills but also to broaden their experience of musical engagement in all its forms.

An important part of this is songwriting. Each term, our young people collaborate to write a song, which they will perform as a group once complete. The songwriting exercise not only gets the creative juices flowing, it also helps achieve our broader aims for the sessions: to increase confidence, maintain opportunities for interaction, and reduce social isolation.

For our most recent songwriting exercise, we started with the theme of friendship. Here’s the word “Friendship” translated into 5 different languages: Arabic, Vietnamese, Spanish, Albanian and Farsi.

21 3 soundmix

Happy new year from Soundmix!

From all at Soundmix we would like to wish all our supporters a very happy 2017!

Thank you to everyone who helped make so much of our progress possible in 2016. Thank you to our fantastic programme manager, volunteers, trustees, and partner organisations, who continue to allow Soundmix to impact positively on the lives of so many young refugees.

We look forward to continuing this powerful work in 2018!


Soundmix trip: Beyonce at Wembley Stadium

In July we were fortunate enough to be able to take 11 young people from our Soundmix group to watch Beyoncé live in concert at Wembley Stadium. This was an incredible experience for the whole group. We had extraordinary VIP access; as a result our group were lucky enough to get very close to the front without many crowds.

What our young people said: 

  • “It was the best Sunday I’ve ever had in my life, the best because I saw Beyoncé — the Queen of music and my favourite singer. I went with my friends and the people who work at the Refugee Council. They are amazing people who made my dreams come true and always make us happy. I cannot believe I saw Beyoncé so near and so real as she was singing. For me this was so wonderful and I’ll never forget that Sunday” –  16 year old girl, Albania
  • “I went to Wembley Stadium for concert or party? I saw Beyoncé; she is a perfect singer, nice and good. I had a perfect time with my friends; the weather was so nice and warm. Thank you Joe and Andrea for taking me, I can’t explain how happy you made me feel” -16 year old boy, Afghanistan

Summer term news

Throughout the academic year we provide a range of opportunities for our young people to continually engage in music in a variety of ways. Here’s an update on some of the opportunities our young people took part in during the summer term 2016:

Residential at the Quadrangle
At the end of May we took our group to the Quadrangle in Shoreham, Kent, for a 3 day residential in partnership with Refugee Youth. The residential was an opportunity for our group to take part in outdoor activities and games, cook their meals together, and of course musical activities. The group both learned new songs and wrote one of their own. On our final evening we celebrated with a large bonfire, singing songs and playing music together. Some of the group even sang solos or duets.

This weekend created fantastic cohesion within our group and united them through their shared experience and a passion for music. Upon returning to our subsequent Soundmix session we taught the rest of the group the song written during the residential: “‘Together we love to dance”

Festival Performance
In June the group were invited to perform as part of the Midsummer Festival, back at the Quadrangle in Kent. Our group had the opportunity to engage in a variety of ways, helping with the set up of the festival, taking part in an informal busking set, and putting on a bigger performance of their 3 songs. After a group performance, two of our group took the leap of giving solo performances. This was a really exciting and memorable moment for the entire group! The festival organisers were very happy with the performance given by the Soundmix group – we hope to return next year!


Soundmix trip: Songhoy Blues, United Vibrations and Fatoumata Diawara

Part of our mission at Soundmix is to develop young people’s engagement with music in all forms. As well as developing young people’s musical skills and first hand experience of musical instruments, we give opportunities for them to explore live music and see a variety of live performances.
In May we took 9 young people from our Soundmix session at the Refugee Council, Croydon, to a live concert at the Roundhouse, Camden. Since opening as a performing arts venue in 1964, the Roundhouse has established itself as a key feature of the live music scene in London. This trip aimed to help our young people experience the face of live music in our capital.
The concert, featuring Songhoy Blues, United Vibrations and Fatoumata Diawara, was the first time any of our group had attended a large concert of this sort- and they greatly enjoyed themselves!
After their performance, United Vibrations came to meet our young people and spoke to them about the instruments they have had a chance to play as part of their Soundmix. The group even earned an invite to visit the group’s studios in Deptford to make a track!
What our young people said:
  • “I love it!”
  • “I want to stay here forever”
  • On Fatoumata Diawara: “I want to play and perform like her”
  • “The dancing was amazing”

Thank You to Children in Need

Soundmix is proud to be supported by Children in Need.

Children in Need is the BBC’s UK charity. Since 1980 it has raised over £600 million to change the lives of disabled children and young people in the UK.

Support from Children in Need allows Soundmix to provide equipment, tutors, and trips to the young people who attend our weekly music session at Croydon College.

Here’s a mural made by our music group to say a big Thank You to Children in Need.