I recently contributed a new song to the benefit album Refugee. There’s a stellar cast of musicians on the record including Bonnie Prince Billy, Linda Thompson, Alasdair Roberts and fellow Beating Drum artist, Jenny Lysander to name a few. All proceeds from the record go to MOAS, the migrant offshore station who provide search and rescue assistance to refugees and migrants in distress at sea.
The idea for the song ‘This Morning The Birds’ that I wrote for the record was inspired by a conversation I had with my two sons. We live in rural southern France and news had come in that a small number of Syrian families would be allocated housing near to the village where our sons go to school. For a brief moment, the village even became a cause celebre in the local press with Front National activists arriving with their leaflets and inflammatory rhetoric before being firmly booted out by the villagers.
As a family we talked about how people become refugees, we talked of war and famine and of the things that make people desperate enough to risk their own lives and the lives of their own children. We talked about poverty and economic migration and I told them more about their great grandparents who’d come to Britain as economic migrants from Italy, Ireland and Eastern Europe.
More than anything that night we talked about empathy and how the world changes when we see through its lens. We even looked it up in the dictionary. “Empathy is the ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation.”
The next day I wrote the song “This Morning The Birds” and my sons recorded it and sang it with me.
Listen and buy the album Refugee:
You can find out more about MOAS here: http://www.moas.eu