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Unheard Voices: Sounds of MID CD

Unheard Voices: Sounds of MID CD

27th June 2014

We have just produced a new brochure about the work of MID which you can download by clicking on the link below. 

Music In Detention: UNHEARD VOICES

To go with the brochure we've also put together a selection of our best tracks of music. We had always thought a MID compilation CD would be a great tribute to the numerous projects which have taken place, then it came to actually producing one… How to choose from over 400 tracks? Each one a unique collaboration involving detainees, community group participants, detention centre staff and MID musicians created over the past 9 years. I knew I had many favourites but would other people like them?

Thankfully our colleague Ruth Nicholson has an in-depth knowledge of the music as she has been volunteering for MID for 18 months, steadily working away on the immense task of uploading the full back catalogue of music onto the website. Katie Bruce, our Programme Assistant, is familiar with a lot of the recent music created as she has been collecting precious information on the latest projects.

So we chose our favourites across a range of genres and got the list down to 30! Still too many… How to do justice to the range of talent and creativity? How to choose from so many poignant and moving songs? We also wanted to include recordings which give a sense of being in a workshop session and represent different nationalities.

Time for an outsider’s objective opinion! Introducing James Baker, someone who had never heard any of the music before but who definitely has a good ear. James is a sound editor living in New York, originally from the UK; he is familiar with the complexities and challenges of life as a migrant. Through a contact he expressed an interest in volunteering for MID in some way. Perfect timing! I asked him to help us select 10 tracks from 30, in a very short space of time. James listened to all the tracks repeatedly over two days until an arrangement emerged that he was happy with, a musical journey that could take you to different parts of the world. He enlisted the help of a Grammy nominated producer, Derek Pacuk, who went on to expertly master all the tracks for us, ready to go to the pressing plant.

Now a little info on each track and you can listen too!

1011 plays

The Streetz (Mohamed Shyeim aka KB)

Hip hop

The Streetz (Mohamed Shyeim aka KB) KB spent over 18 months in Dover IRC where he was a leading light in the music room. He wrote this song in collaboration with children at Priory Fields Primary School, highlighting the different backgrounds and childhoods people can have. After hearing it, the children responded really well with a very mature discussion about gun crime and the importance of positivity.

Credits: Music for Change artists, Kevin Davidson & Tea Hodzic

32 plays

God don't make no junk

An anecdote which inspired a MID classic!

633 plays

Jah Nuh Mek No Junk


Jah Nuh Mek No Junk This is an original song written by detainees at Dover IRC after they were inspired by a story told by one of the participants from the Age Concern Riverside centre, about a drawing of a boy in a museum which said "I must be something special, because God don’t make no junk" across the top.

Credits: Music for Change artist, H Patten, and Jonathan Russell, music teacher at Dover IRC.


837 plays

Song of Freedom

Reggae, spiritual, jazz and gospel influences

Song of Freedom was a project we set up when two musicians spent four days working intensively with detainees and staff at Harmondsworth IRC, to write, arrange and record brand new pieces of music. This song is a lasting favourite among MID staff.

This is really different from what I have done in the past. It’s good to collaborate with the detainees. It gives me a chance to see them differently and some of them are really talented

David (staff)

Credits: Jonney Rock (Leroy) -Lead vocals, Basana Kimembi-Rap, Oluwafemi Babatunde-Trumpet.

Staff: Scott Tucker-Bass, Michael Kanyako-Drums, David Lindsay- Berimbau

artists: H Pattern & Alex D Great

this project was delivered in partnership with Music for Change

365 plays

The Old Culture / By The Eyes


The Old Culture/By The Eyes During this special recording you will really get a sense of being in the room at Dover IRC! Sometimes a detainee will perform for the group and this amazing singer reduces the whole room to an awe-struck hush.

These are two songs performed by a detainee named Hussein (Abdi Diini). His very eloquent friend Khalaf was keen to assist in translating for him so Kev and Tea could communicate with him.

The first song is a traditional Somali folk-song which, as Khalaf explains, encourages young people to stick with old culture rather than just following current trends. Hussein taught Kevin and Tea a basic guitar accompaniment so they could play along with him. The second song is in Arabic, originally from Sudan, and the overall meaning of the song is 'the best language is spoken by the eyes'.

Credits: Music for Change artists, Kevin Davidson & Tea Hodzic

443 plays

Loved and Loving-Home is Family


Loved and Loving-Home is Family The chorus of this song was recorded by participants at Family Groups Bedford. They wrote it starting 'Home is...' and then listed all the things 'home' might mean. Later in the day the recordings were taken to Yarl's Wood IRC where detainees recorded several instrumental layers, some for the verses and some for the chorus. They were inspired hearing the Family Groups participants' voices and found the communication between them to be very powerful. The detainees decided the best way to record the lyrics to the verses would be for everyone to teach their parts to the others and record them all as a group.

Credit: Asian Music Circuit artists, Michael Goodey and Shammi Pithia

268 plays

Little Thing


Little Thing This song was very popular with the pupils at Bridgemary School when they heard it. The main vocals were written by two girls quite early on in the project and parts were added later by other pupils at the school and detainees from Haslar IRC. It includes rapping from a London-based Portuguese Afro-American, a guitar part from a Polish Congolese and a vocal part from a Bangladeshi detainee.

Credit: Simon Paylor at Fugitive Music

409 plays

Kurdish Love Song


Kurdish Love Song This is a traditional Kurdish love song performed by Abdulla Ahmad and Osman, both detainees at Dover IRC. Everyone present had heard it once before but requested it again!

Credits: Music for Change artists, Kevin Davidson & Tea Hodzic

245 plays

Get That Girl


Get That Girl This song is about life in Jamaica, written by a detainee called Kurt Forbes (aka Sinister). He brought the lyrics along to a workshop session during the project and the other detainees helped him turn them into a song which he recorded with an acoustic guitar accompaniment.

Credits: Music for Change artists, Kevin Davidson & Tea Hodzic

249 plays

Stay Strong

Reggaeton, R&B

Stay Strong Participants from Fareham & Gosport MIND group were able to play, record and arrange this song together using a sampler pedal. With a bit of singing in scat style at the beginning, this song is about lifting up those with low self-esteem. Participants took real pride in creating this song, and it demonstrates their connection with the detainees at Haslar IRC.

Credit: Drum Runners artists, Paul & Rocky

944 plays

All I Need

Soul, R&B

All I Need In the very first session of the project, the young people from the Challenge group acted out a role play in order to examine how rules and punishment might work in a parent-child relationship. They talked about the removal of liberties and 'home' as punishment and discussed how they might feel if they lost their freedom.

The lyrics to this song came out of questions the young people asked detainees at Harmondsworth IRC and the responses they got back. They decided to write the first verse as the voice of an anonymous detainee, and the second verse as the voice of a teenager realising that young people in the UK often take their freedom for granted.

Credit: Asian Music Circuit artists, Michael Goodey and Shammi Pithia.

With special thanks to James Baker, Derek Pacuk, Sonia Rai at commswala, Marcus Batley at dBmasters and Ruth Nicholson, MID volunteer.

We hope you enjoyed listening! Next album out in 2016 ;-)

Zoe Burton, Programme Manager