Here is a snapshot of our recent projects with reflections from some of the people who participated in them:
- We held a listening event at HMP Woodhill where participants were able to listen to the mixed and mastered music they had created for the first time, a special moment which they were able to share with their family. Read a reflection below from our Project Manager Sarah Akarolo who was in attendance.
- We completed a project at HMP Whitemoor, a prison we haven’t been back to since 2016. The music will be released next month.
“For me to be able to to to send a CD to my mum and say, yo play this hundred percent. And my son can listen to me.”
– a participant on our project at HMP Whitemoor
- We’ve been working with participants with complex mental health conditions in a low secure unit at Park Royal Hospital, the music will be released next month.
Our partnership with the National Literacy Trust project New Chapterstook us to the Oakhill Secure Training Centre where our producer Tom Ireland worked with young participants to create two albums of original music (featured at the end of this newsletter). He worked alongside a range of facilitators exploring creative writing and the cultural context of drill music and other contemporary genres, Lady Unchained, Ciaran Thapar, Franklyn Addo, Jhemar Jonas, Demetri Addison, HighRise Theatre & Anefiok Ekpoudom.
We also completed our pilot community project with the Department for Work and Pensions in South London working with young people providing employment preparation through one-on-one music sessions and mentoring.
This summer we have a range of new and returning projects lined up:
- We head to HMP Guy’s Marsh for the first time, working with participants under a substance abuse program.
- We return to HMP Bronzefield womens prison for the first time since 2019 for the first of two projects planned for this year.
- We start a 12-week project at Northwick Park Hospital, to support people recently discharged from an acute mental health ward to reintegrate into the community
- We also return to the Horniman Museaum and YMCA Landaid House for community projects working with young people.
We are delighted to welcome Sarah Akarolo to the Finding Rhythms team as our new Project Manager.
Sarah Akarolo has a wealth of Criminal Justice experience. As a qualified Probation Officer, she has a thorough understanding of the criminal justice system, working with offenders and vulnerable communities.
Sarah has a strong passion for music and also works for an independent record label where she currently manages a dancehall artist. Sarah has seen firsthand how music can support rehabilitation and is keen on driving the Finding Rhythms vision forward!
Words from our Project Manager Sarah Akarolo:
I had the pleasure of attending my first listening event at HMP Woodhill. To say it was amazing would be a true understatement! Bearing witness to how proud the participants were of the album they created is an image I will hold dear. It was a beautiful reminder as to why our work matters and the ability it has to uplift and evoke change. I was touched by a song called “I’ve been feeling” by one of the participants, which featured the prison Reverend. I was moved to tears when I heard the song as I could hear the pain through the lyrics, but also I was filled with such gratitude knowing that Finding Rhythms was able to provide a much needed safe space for the participants to express their vulnerabilities.
My favourite line from the song came from Rev Karma:
“these men would stand tall, with their head held high and their chest out, knowing that God is on their side regardless of what they have done and regardless of what they are doing”
Finding Rhythms attended the first live recorded episode of National Prison Radio’s Life After Prison podcast. Featuring Hak Baker on how he first learned to play guitar in prison and went on to turn that into a successful music career.
Tracks from our album Whatever You Want It To Be made at HMP Downview were played recently on Bristol’s Ujima Radio. You can listen here (scroll to episode from Tuesday 25th July), which includes an interview lead music practitioner, Fred. We have also been informed that Dua Lipa was given a copy of the album when recently visiting the prison with the Booker Prize Foundation.
L Plate Diaries: No Access was produced at HMP Whitemoor.
Project leaders: Fred Harper & George Handley
Released: 2 Aug 2023
Reborn was produced with the National Literacy Trust.
Project leader: Tom Ireland
Released: 5 July 2023
Stuck In Time was produced with the National Literacy Trust.
Project leader: Tom Ireland
Released: 5 July 2023
Time Soon Come was produced at HMP Woodhill.
Project leaders: Aron Kyne & Thabo Mkwananzi
Released: 28 June 2023
Whatever You Want It To Be was produced at HMP Downview.
Project leaders: Fred Harper & Zola Marcelle
Released: 24 May 2023
Finding Waze was produced at HMP Wayland.
Project leaders: Fred Harper & Thabo Mkwananzi
Released: 27 April 2023