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12 Oct 2017


Refugees turn stories into song with the Human Sound Project


Refugees and other newly arrived community members with The Human Sound Project collectively creating sound.
SSI’s Arts & Culture Program is collaborating with The Human Sound Project to provide a sound making experience for refugees, people seeking asylum and other participants at SSI’s fortnightly multicultural lunch and social day, Community Kitchen. The results of the project will debut at the New Beginnings Festival in Spring on November 18 in Darling Harbour.
Spawned in New York City in 2013 and now based in Sydney, the Human Sound Project provides an opportunity for people of all backgrounds to engage, interact and express themselves, through social storytelling, sound and song. 
Over the course of three Community Kitchens, participants will explore both their individual and collective voices, while facilitators record their sounds, stories and songs. 
Simon Jankelson, the Founder and Director of The Human Sound Project, said his initial experience of Community Kitchen was the first session he had ever purposefully not planned
“We did not know what to expect from a group of 150 people with such diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, ages and musical skill levels. Our strategy was simple: we brought along our entire collection of instruments, so that we could respond to what was needed in the moment, and to facilitate music within such a large group,” he said.
Winging it paid off for the facilitators when an eight-piece Iraqi Choir, known as ‘The Peacemakers’ rocked up, said Mr Jankelson.
“We began with an Iraqi-Arabic song and unexpectedly, the voices of the approximately 150 people from Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, seemed to raise the roof off the room! That unity, that joy, that humanity and that sound – it was a powerful testament to the magic that can be co-created, out of seemingly nothing.” 
Through a combination of sound and video looping, plus reactive recording techniques, the Human Sound Project will create a song and music video that represents the cultures and experiences of the eclectic mix of people who make up the SSI community.
SSI’s Arts & Culture Coordinator, Carolina Triana said both the song and video will be launched amid the dance, music, food and fun of SSI’s New Beginning Festival in Spring — a free outdoor festival featuring the talents of people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. 
“A celebration of the artistic and cultural contributions of migrants and refugees is the perfect setting to debut this unique music project,” she said. 
“It has been very exciting to see how people, without any musical background, can connect so easily to the music making process. It’s the purest way to bring people together — to create things and collaborate with each other.”
The debut of the music video and song will be accompanied by the musical skills of The Human Sound Project featuring Junkyard Beats’ dynamic rhythm shows and crowd participation experiences.
To find out more about the New Beginnings Festival in Spring, click here.

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