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Choirs, schools and youth groups help to share the voices of people in immigration detention

September 28, 2021

By Emma

Our ‘Freedom To Sing' campaign was introduced in 2021 to connect people with music that has been written in immigration detention centres in the UK. We are very fortunate at Hear Me Out to have a library of hundreds of incredible tracks that deserve to be shared far and wide. Who better to do this than the amazing choirs that fill the UK with music?! We asked choirs from all over the UK to take part in the campaign and we were so pleased with the response.

12 choirs signed up to take part in our first year; learning, performing, and recording the inspirational track ‘Never Give Up.’ This song was written by Porchlight service users and performed by detainees at Dover Immigration Removal Centre. One of the Porchlight group sent the detainees the message of: "Never give up the fight" and detainees jammed around this theme and came up with this song. During the exchange they had their experiences with one another and through finding commonality in their experiences sent messages of hope to each other, this song's message is to never give up.

Each choir adapted the track to suit their style, from acapella to just the chorus, and recorded their performance both in person and on zoom. The videos from each choir were edited together and shared during Refugee Week 2021.

We were blown away by the dedication, kindness and creativity of the choirs that took part, many of which also fundraised to help support our work. The Govanhill Voices, based in Glasgow, were just one of the choirs that took part.

“As we are based in an area with 88 languages spoken, our core value has and always will be accessibility to all and inclusion. Lots of our neighbours have gone through immigration detention centres before finding their second home. We chose to be a part of 'Freedom to Sing' as we want to give our support in sharing the message from people held inside.”

The Govanhill Voices community choir in Glasgow

Following on from the success of the campaign, we have decided to run Freedom to Sing all year round. Each Refugee Week (held every year around the time of World Refugee Day on the 20 June) we will change the track and produce a new video. To take part, all you need to do is download the pack and let us know that you are taking part. Everything you need is inside the pack, including lyrics, sheet music and video links. Keep an eye on our social media channels early in 2022 to sign up to take part during Refugee Week, 20-26 June 2022.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Freedom to Sing – for sharing the voices and stories of people in the UK’s immigration detention centres.

Download the information pack, and for more information, please email Emma at emma@hearmeoutmusic.org.uk

Image of the Harmony Choir based in Leeds.

Listen to the original song created in an immigration detention centre in Harmondsworth

Freedom To Sing

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