Bollywood in the 'jungle'
Natalia Tena, actress and musician, shares a personal account:
One of the traits that defines our humanity is empathy and to not be moved to help the loss these people have endured is to turn our backs on the good, on the just and on the human in us.
I'm not a politician or particularly intelligent but I don't really understand why these barbed wire fences have been erected, why shelters have been burnt to the ground or why these refugees have been subjected to police brutality for running away from horrors and war to be branded religious fanatics or migrants that our apparently a threat to and a drain on our society.
This seems so cruel and brutal to me.
To try and help in some way with skills we have, we went to play music with some of the musicians in the Jungle. Music is an international language and it can cut through all barriers to create joy and bond us in a shared experience. With every single recording on the Calais sessions, people outside the Jungle will be beautifully forced to see the humanity in these people, moved by their songs and rhythm. If they could just hear them, everyone would extend a helping hand. Even clever politicians.
‘Har dil jo pyar karega’
‘Every Heart that loves’
A Bollywood song was requested by the ‘jungle’ side manager of the project – he looks after equipment, gathers people together and even cooks us spicy eggs for lunch.
We work with the instrumentation we have on the session which means anything goes! The accordion from the brilliant Natalia Tena of Molotov Jukebox, the wonderful Sudanese drum section, the ‘jungle’ strings, an Afghan lead singer/guitarist and not forgetting the melodica skills of Oona Chaplin. Folk romp Bollywood in the Calais jungle is probably as far from the songs original intentions as it could be but we love it!
My parents escaped a broken Spain, dragged down by decades of dictatorship and turned to England to make a better life for themselves and me. Another generation back and the Jewish ancestors of the talented kind people I'm lucky to play with in the band did the same. They found a place here to escape and build themselves into this society. So why can this same chance not be extended towards these desperate humans in our generation?
Photo: Sarah Emma Smith (GnProductions)
Photo: Sarah Emma Smith