Jeremie, torture survivor tells us how music has changed his life

Jeremie, singer and song-writer in Stone Flowers, tells us about why he is involved in this inspiring music collective and reflects on the groups’ 2015 performance at Manchester Museum ahead of their performance there on Saturday 10 December.

Let me tell you a little bit about Stone Flowers as a project and as an orchestra. Stone Flowers is run by Music Action International in partnership with Freedom from Torture. The music is composed by people who have survived torture in their home countries and have come to the UK to seek protection. I can confirm by my own experience that music is very powerful and has a big impact on my personal life. It has reduced my stress and helped me to connect with people from different countries and boost my confidence.

Stone Flowers

Jeremie (second left) with other members of Stone Flowers

Can you believe that I had never sung and written a song before I joined Stone Flowers? Fortunately, now and due to the magic of music, I am very proud of myself because I can sing and write songs that can impress people. After the last performance at Manchester Museum, one gentleman from the audience told me: “You have energy, you are fantastic, and you have a star hidden inside of you.”

I am not the only one who has benefited from music in the project. I can tell you that all the Stone Flowers members have spoken about the positive impact that music has made to their lives. For example, one of them told me that he is so happy to sing within Stone Flowers because he can now face public audiences with confidence.

The performance at Manchester Museum last year was a very special event. We performed several songs from our new Album “Ngunda” launched in 2015 at Amnesty UK Headquarters in London. The programme included 10 songs from different languages including Aram Bash, Light Light, Je Pleure, Mr Livingstone and Ngunda Azali Mutu. The album spreads powerful messages about hope, human rights and unity.

This album has a siaa0_7138gnificant impact in describing the actualities of the ‘migrant crisis’ because of my song ‘Ngunda Azali Mutu’ which means ‘a refugee is human being.’ The song explains that refugees are not criminals as labelled by politicians, but they are skillful people who have been forced to leave their countries to seek protection. This song calls for the host countries and authorities to protect them: to give them dignity and support.

So I am personally convinced that anyone who will respond to this call with their donation, support and care will support survivors of torture throughout the UK, to make our world a better place to live.

Stone Flowers will be performing again at Manchester Museum on Saturday 10 December in celebration of International Human Rights Day. The performances will take place at 12pm and 2pm. Free entry.

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