I met Hassan at the drumming on Saturday night, where he sang a song which I picked up on my accordion. There was increasing delight in his face as I got hold of it, and some others came over to join in as well. I didn’t have my microphone on me, so recorded on my phone and said I’d come back the next day.
I found him the following day, late in the afternoon. He went off to do something, but his friends made myself and Bogdan our violinist welcome offering Lucazade and tea: they have nothing, but they shared the little they had. We were on a raised path, with a few tents around us, where these guys lived. We played several songs together, I provided a drone and imitated their vocal lines, whilst Bogdan played along beautifully on the violin and one of the guys played a drum they had with them. Increasingly the singers seemed to lose themselves in the songs: perhaps transported to a different place, to their homes from which they’d been displaced; you could see this in their faces.
What can music do? It can provide an outlet which is beyond words, and a context where status and power are no longer important: we are together, equal, sensitively aware of each other, listening intently. We were intensely connected together as humans making music, though the meaning and importance of the experience for each of those taking part might be very different.
Of course people need the basics – accommodation, food, water – but without care, connection, love and being genuinely heard, our souls and humanity are not nurtured. Perhaps music can help to provide some of this.