A few months ago, Music Action International and Freedom from Torture took on two interns, Harriet and Rachel, who have been heavily involved in the Stone Flowers project. They have kindly written some insightful reflections on the project for us to share with you:
“Stone Flowers isn’t an ordinary music group. Apart from the fact that it is comprised of asylum seekers who have survived torture, which is pretty extraordinary in itself, it stands out because of the incredible impact it has on the people that are a part of it. If you were to sit in on one of their practices, you’d be hard-pressed to know that these people were survivors of torture. Looking around at the faces you’d see that they were animated and engrossed in the process of making music which not only stands as testimony the hardships they’ve endured but offers a message of hope. A case in point is the song written by one of the participants of the Saturday progression group, ‘Light’, a lilting tune which offers solace from one survivor to another.
When reflecting on the sessions, most participant’s immediate response was that they became much calmer. “I feel better and I feel relaxed” and that, “the music has helped with my bad feelings, a lot. It has made me feel relaxed.” On a survey sheet that was completed after these sessions, participants were asked to fill in how they felt before and after the session. One participant indicated that before, they had felt quite negative and reserved but now they were feeling much happier and keen to contribute. One unanimous reaction felt by all of the survivors asked was, “I love the Music”.
The group’s message of hope and resilience can be message heard throughout their new album and we would love for as many people to be part of this journey as possible. The group will be holding an album launch event at Amnesty International HQ in London on the 5th June. Book your place here, and follow us on Twitter (#stoneflowers) for more updates and details.