The Calais Sessions take in everything from Iraqi rap and Syrian folk to Afghan and Spanish pop.
Refugees in Calais have recorded an album called The Calais Sessions.
Comprised of both professional and amateur musicians living in the refugee and migrant encampment, the album celebrates the camp’s rich cultural heritage. According to the Bandcamp page, it runs the gamut from “raw Syrian folk” and “nectar-sweet Ethiopian gospel lullaby,” to the “clannish Sudanese drum circle” and “the most infectious Afghan pop.” There’s Spanish pop and Iraqi rap too – it’s really quite something.
As The New York Times reports, it took a team of around 200 people to make the LP, including volunteers from Britain and Spain, as well as those from the camp itself. The “driving force” behind The Calais Sessions was London-based cellist Vanessa Lucas-Smith, who said that she wanted to “show a different side to those living in the ‘Jungle’ and to empower them by allowing their talents to be heard.”
Most of the album was recorded in a generator-powered studio near the Jungle of Books, a makeshift library. It’s available to buy from Bandcamp for a £10 donation and as of August 2, about £4,000 has already been raised to benefit refugees and Citizen UK, a British charity.