As we approach Christmas and the New Year it’s heartening to hear from this collaborative youth project between the London Borough of Ealing Youth Service and Kivu, the Democratic Republic of Congo. The fruits of the collaboration are to be found on the deeply impressive digital album, ‘Dance for Freedom’. The sixth track ‘Stand Up’ might well serve as an In Defence of Youth Work anthem!
All proceeds go directly to funding the work of Congo In The Picture, which offers activities and support for young people in Kivu as a way of combating the appeal of joining the militia, fighting rape as a weapon of war and gender inequalities, and building a sustainable future for the region.
Since August 2012, young people from Bollo Brook Youth centre in South Acton, London have been working in collaboration with young people in Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, to produce an album that brings together the best of youth music culture from the two areas. Working with grassroots organisation CongoInThePicture via the internet, the young people have come together through music to create a unique and inspirational album of original music that explores a wide range of genres and styles.
Whilst the music is uplifting, the circumstances in which it has been made have often been complicated, at times tragic. the recording of the tracks continued through the rebel uprising in Kivu by the M23 militia. The militia first surrounded, and then occupied the city of Goma, where the Congolese music for the album has been produced. In the chaos that ensued, the music studio there was sacked and vital equipment stolen. However, despite this setback, the constant electricity blackouts and further militia attacks, this album is testament of the power of music to bring people together and shine through the worst periods of adversity. Tragically, while the album was in the final stages of production, the young Congolese rapper Safari was killed in a militia raid on his village, Mutarule. He features on the song Stand up. the album is dedicated to him, as a representative of the millions who have shared his fate.
For more info – see Action 2 Kivu
Thanks to Colin Brent for the link.