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.
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!
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
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!
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”
Quizmaster Josh Cohen will challenge us with his wide range of questions including a musical round starring Soundmix Project Manager, Andrea. Come with a team or join a team when you arrive. The atmosphere is cut-throat but extremely informal. Everyone very welcome!
BBC Children in Need have announced that they’ll be funding Soundmix to carry on our music workshops at the Refugee Council for another three years.
The workshops provide group music lessons on guitars, keyboards, and drums, and are an outlet for creativity and self expression for young refugees who are separated from their families.
Many of our young people have experienced trauma of war or persecution, displacement to a new country, language barriers, being in a new culture and loss and separation from family. In the UK they face further barriers of discrimination, poverty, isolation and anxiety of being in the
asylum system and not knowing their future.
Our music workshops enable them to be children first and foremost, playing and focusing on an activity away from their usual anxieties and responsibilities.
The workshops also give the young people self confidence and a sense of self worth, fostering resilience and improved emotional wellbeing. They develop friendship networks and a new sense of family.
Roxane Caplan, Chair of Trustees at Soundmix said
‘We’re thrilled that BBC Children in Need have decided to fund our music workshops for another three years. We know that these classes make a real difference to the young separated refugees we support, giving them a safe space away from their every day worries, and providing an ideal activity for those who find it hard to express themselves in English. Many come with no prior musical knowledge. To discover that they are able to learn to play a musical instrument has profound affects on their self belief, confidence and the sense of what they can achieve. We’re looking forward to supporting many more young people at the Refugee Council over the next 3 years’