'Many stories to tell…’: Song Seeking Project Brings Together Singers from Direct Provision Centres

Singers participating in the Song Seeking project

'Many stories to tell…’: Song Seeking Project Brings Together Singers from Direct Provision Centres

The singers from six different Irish direct provision centres will come together for a performance at the National Concert Hall on 9 June.

A new musical project, Song Seeking, which brings together singers from direct provision centres in Cork, Clare, Dublin, Kildare, Laois and Monaghan, will present an interactive performance at the National Concert Hall this June. 

The singers have been taking part in workshops with professional choral facilitators and will perform a range of pieces including a specially commissioned piece by composer Seán Doherty.

Song Seeking – which is funded by Creative Ireland under the National Creativity Fund – is led by Dr Ailbhe Kenny of Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, and is a collaboration between the College, Sing Ireland and the Irish Refugee Council.

Speaking about the project, Dr Kenny said:

There are many stories to tell within the project and much learning to be gained… central to this are the singers themselves – adults, children and young people – all living in temporary, communal ‘limbo’, finding commonality across nationalities, race and religion through song.

Direct provision is a system established in 2000 to house asylum seekers entering Ireland in search of protection. It was initially meant to be a temporary system that would provide accommodation for six months while people awaited a decision on their application. At the end of 2018, there were 5,997 people living in direct provision in Ireland.

One of the singers involved in the the project, Rosemary Kunene from the Portlaoise centre, commented that ‘I enjoy the choir practice although I am not a good singer. It is a great opportunity for residents to share a wonderful moment.’

The performance at the National Concert Hall is just one element of the overall project, which will see further workshops and events. Doherty’s commissioned work is a collection of ‘fun… engaging pieces’ that have been informed by his experiences with the Song Seeking groups across the country.

My priority is that the singers have a good time, to allow an opportunity for the singers to interact, and to share inspiring musical moments with each other.

The Song Seeking singers will perform as part of The Big Sing: A Shared Celebration at the National Concert Hall on 9 June. For more information, visit: http://bit.ly/BigSingCelebration.

Published on 25 April 2019

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