Scroobius Pip, Kindness and Sierra Leone All Stars among first artists to take part
Brit Award-winning Ethan Johns to produce the album
Public have a chance to be part of music history through online photo project to create album artwork
A ground-breaking concept album based on the real-life experiences of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK is being created by some of the country’s top musicians and the Red Cross.
The Long Road album will see artists including spoken word poet Scroobius Pip, singer-songwriter Kindness and the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars pair up with a person who has been forced to flee their home and seek safety in the UK to tell their story.
Brit Award winner Ethan Johns, who has worked with the Kings of Leon, Laura Marling and The Vaccines, will produce the album.
“This is a very special opportunity to create an album with a narrative that helps more people understand the realities of being a refugee and the journeys people go through,” said Johns. “Music is one of the oldest forms of storytelling, and these are important stories to be told.”
Kindness’s Adam Bainbridge, whose grandmother, Amina Desai, was South Africa’s longest serving female Indian political prisoner for her defiance of the apartheid regime, approached the Red Cross when he heard about the project.
Adam is working closely with Ayman Hirh, a refugee who fled Syria when the fighting broke out in 2012.
He said: “I’ve seen with my own eyes that anyone’s life can be turned upside down overnight; that expressing an opinion can be enough to make life unliveable in the place you call home, and eventually force you to leave it. So when I was told about the project, I had to be involved. Getting to know Ayman has been fantastic and I’m looking forward to telling his story in the studio.”
The album’s announcement kicks off this year’s Refugee Week (15- 21 June), a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events and activities that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and promotes better understanding of why people seek safety.
Ayman said: “It has been great to meet Adam and share my story with him. I can’t wait to hear what he produces and I hope that my experience and the album will encourage people to think about the reasons people like me are forced to leave home before they judge us.”
The Red Cross is also inviting the public to share pictures of the people, places and things that they feel celebrate the contribution of refugees in the UK using the #TheLongRoadEP on social media platforms including: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The images will be collated and used as part of the album artwork. For further information on how to get involved click here www.redcross.org.uk/refugeeweek
British Red Cross refugee support manager Andy Hewett said: “We wanted to find a way to shatter some of the stigma attached to refugees and asylum seekers and challenge people’s misconceptions. With the tragedies we see unfolding in the Mediterranean and around the world every day as people flee their homes, it is vital to try to illuminate this issue and bring home the reality of life as someone forced to leave everything they have behind.”
For more information about the project and Refugee Week go to: www.redcross.org.uk/refugeeweek