A very special compilation album released on the World Refugee Day 2018, marking 20th year of Refugee Week. Stimela is the Zulu word meaning train, representing the journey of refugees, migration and the journey of life.
Listen to Stimela! 20 years of Refugee Week
The album is co-curated by artist Mohammed Yahya and Counterpoints Arts music curator Sashwati Mira Sengupta, and it features eighteen tracks by musicians with refugee backgrounds and artists in solidarity with refugees.
The album artwork is a winning design of a schools competition for Refugee Week, and is by Jahid Malik, a student at Lapage Primary School & Nursery, Bradford. The competition was initiated by Bradford Refugee Week Planning Group. The final design is by Mike Barrett, of Frogs Design.
The musicians have donated their music to unite with people around the world seeking sanctuary and those facing detention & deportation. The themes coming through the album are that of solidarity, empathy, a questioning of history and forward-looking global activism and humanity.
Featuring some of the most sought after UK artists: Akala, Lowkey, Josephine Oniyama, 47 Soul, Mohammed Yahya, Logic, Poetic Pilgrimage, Natty, Rafiki Jazz, Native Sun, Haymanot Tesfa, Stone Flowers, Kensaye, the Op Sa! Balkan Band, Aar Manta, Jnr Sas, the Heritage Survival Band and Farhood. Included are three tracks not previously released – Escape from Yarl’s Wood by Lowkey, Mohammed Yahya and EbsilJaz; Human by Josephine Oniyama; and Stimela by Mohammed Yahya
The album has a truly global reach with influences and styles stretching from Zimbabwe to electronic Palestinian-Dabke influences; Balkan beats to UK hiphop & grime. It also features three small interviews in conversation with people who have refugee backgrounds and who have a message for Refugee Week. Charitable organisation Music in Detention shared an interview “Is it Scary” created from workshops with school children interviewing detainees at Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre.
The artists were invited by Counterpoints Arts have either previously performed for Refugee Week or have shown vocal support of asylum seekers and refugees.
We thank everyone involved, with special thanks going to the two curators, Mohammed Yahya and Sashwati Mira Sengupta.