Jackie's pick from our music player
I am connected to Hear Me Out in several ways. My grandparents and great grandparents escaped Polish/Russian pogroms at the end of the 19th century and were able to settle and make new lives in England. I am fortunate that I am part of a large extended family because of my ancestors’ sacrifices, decisions, and journeys for a better future. These enabled them to settle in a safe country before restrictive laws were passed. They were lucky enough to survive and adapt.
I am an older dancer, having left my fulltime managerial career 13 years ago, to return to dancing and community activities. These have enhanced my life as well as enabling me to give opportunities to others to find and share new interests. Music and other arts are important for all; to find meaning, purpose, and as well as giving opportunities to be creative and release stress. Music, writing, and performing benefits individuals as well as wider communities. So, when I heard about Hear Me Out through its Chair Sue Lukes, I knew this was an organisation that I wanted to support and contribute to especially as it was concentrating on people locked in immigration detention centres as well as changing attitudes towards migrants. Bringing people together to learn from each other and share experiences is so important to break down stereotypes and negativity. After all we are all human beings and we all want a good life; negativity and stereotypes can be so divisive. Music can bring people together.
My Favourite Track from Hear Me Out's music archive is A Tamil’s Lament from the Migration Songs Album. It is by a Sri Lankan singer and a violinist. After listening to many insightful tracks expressing sadness, survival, coping and trying to maintain self-esteem, I finally chose A Tamil’s Lament as my contribution to Hear Me Out's recent 12 Days In Detention campaign. It touched my heart when I heard it initially. It is warm, doleful, and simple, yet complex at the same time. Puzzlingly, the singer has a warm but sad voice and it conveys sadness at the same time as being positive and hopeful. I also have a personal relationship with the Tamil people because my daughter in law’s family are Sri Lankan Tamils and have family scattered over the world because of the war and political difficulties in that country. The song grew on me, and I began to sing along. It is repetitive, clear and haunting. But what did it mean and convey? Fortunately, I was able to gain a translation from my daughter in law's mother. It is a lament between the singer and his violin.
“When the time for the moon to go to sleep, comes my memories never sleep
Even when the moon sleeps memories don’t sleep
This is a continuous story as every day dawns
You and I become a scenery
When I interplay with you, the relationship is eternal
Me and then you jointly will live forever”
The words not only express sadness and difficulties but also love and an enduring relationship between a lone refugee and his violin. The violin is the symbol of persecuted people who have to get up and leave their homes quickly, as I know from my own cultural background.
Listening to this song several times and reading the words, I think there are alternative meanings relevant to a person in a detention centre who doesn’t know when their situation will change; where every day is the same. Dreams about a relationship that will last forever with a person, or a place where he will settle in the future or the love he has for the country and community he had to leave behind.
This song leaves me feeling warm and grateful for being alive and having friendship, family, peace, and hope. This is what Christmas and the Festive Season is all about. How fortunate I am to have found this beautiful song, singer and violin! Towards a more peaceful, loving, equitable world where all people can live in peace and thrive.
Jackie was a contributor to the 12 Days in Detention campaign which we held from 25th December 2021-5th January 2022. Donate to the campaign.
Listen to the 12 Days in Detention playlist