Woven Gold, the Helen Bamber Foundation music group, includes people from Algeria, Burma, Chechnya, Iran, Kurdistan, Pakistan, many African countries as well as professional UK musicians. What inspires us, musicians and refugees from around the world to come together? One Kurdish client who has been with Woven Gold from the first day quotes the song No Borders which we composed together:
Let’s talk about no borders
Let’s sing about no borders
We are all human
And this is our world
He says, ‘I believe that music is the best way to live without borders, in peace, as a world family. Woven Gold has shown us that though they may have different colours and notes, the sounds are universal.’
Woven Gold’s public performances are increasingly in demand. They make clients feel they are repaying something of what Helen Bamber and the Foundation have given to them, while at the same time telling the world about our different cultures and music, and expressing ourselves freely without fear of repression. We have performed at the Eden Project in Cornwall, in London at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, at festivals including Celebrating Sanctuary on the South Bank and the City of London Festival.
In 2010 we inspired, contributed to the libretto and score, and performed in a new dramatic cantata, Consider the Lilies by John Barber. John has been with Woven Gold from the start. Commissioned by the Helen Bamber Foundation, it was premiered at St Martin-in-the-Fields. Rupert Christiansen wrote in The Daily Telegraph: ‘to hear these voices united in daring to sing such lines as “More than a survivor, I am more” or “All that was beaten has not beaten me / All that was taken has not taken me” was both inspiring and sobering.’
In 2009 Woven Gold recorded an album, Much More Than Metal; listen here.