Music producers head to Africa to launch new generation of chart toppers
2 December 2011
Disability charity launches phase two of the Young Voices training programme.
A team of top UK music producers led by Robin Millar, who has worked with Sting and Sade, are heading to Zambia this week to help young people with disabilities create and produce their own music.
The internationally renowned team, led by Leonard Cheshire Disability Music Adviser Robin Millar CBE
, will give exceptional young people an intensive week-long studio training seminar in Lusaka, Zambia. The results will be released globally via iTunes and Amazon, thanks to a partnership with Believe Digital's Zimbalam label, which will give students industry nous in selling and marketing their music.
The eight students are 'exceptionally musically talented' young people with disabilities, who have been picked from Leonard Cheshire Disability's Young Voices campaigning project, which stretches across 13 African countries. Young Voices brings young disabled people together and supports them to advocate for their rights, raise the profile of disability issues and influence their governments. It has previously held pan-national filmmaking seminars to train young people to make films about their campaigns.
The music training project has been launched in response to the Young Voices members' own desire to express themselves and their campaigning messages through music. Many Young Voices groups have already recorded songs and music videos and, if this pilot music project is successful, it will be rolled out across Africa and Asia. The seminar will run from 11–17 December.
Robin Millar, who is blind, says: "The first trip starts this December. In Lusaka we will work with young people from across Africa. I'm thrilled that Adele's programmer/engineer Ian Dowling and London College of Music Masters student Miguel de Campos have volunteered to come out with me to do the training."
John Conteh, a Young Voices member from Sierra Leone who has recorded an album and performed in concerts with the group, said: "Since joining Young Voices, I have had hope and freedom after total neglect. Young Voices has sent me to a studio, which I had never expected to visit. At the seminar I hope to give everyone a good image of Sierra Leone Young Voices, and I long to share the experience I will gain from the workshop with the Sierra Leone group when I return. I hope to become an international superstar for Sierra Leone Young Voices."
International Director of Leonard Cheshire Disability, Tanya Barron, said: "Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities
and this project totally reflects the 2011 theme – Together for a better world for all: Including persons with disabilities in development
"The Young Voices music training project will provide these exceptional young disabled musicians with the vital skills they need to ensure that, through music, their voices are heard internationally."
More about the Young Voices seminar
In Zambia, the top music-making team will also train young disabled people from the African countries of Liberia, Kenya and Sierra Leone. They will take their new skills and equipment home with them to continue the programme in 2012. Young disabled people across Africa will be given the chance to operate and create music on high-spec professional portable laptop-based recording systems using ProTools software.
Ongoing mentoring via the internet will ensure that the young musicians continue to get the most out of the equipment after the week-long training session.
This exciting initiative is part of the Young Voices project, a campaigning programme for young people with disabilities aged 16–25 supported by the European Union in 22 countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Young Voices members lobby their governments to sign, ratify and implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the world's newest commitment to full human rights for all.
The music training follows the project's first phase, in which young disabled people learned to make short films based on their own experiences to campaign for their rights. These films have been shown extensively around the world, including at key UN meetings and to governments and employers in their own countries. The films are also showcased on the Young Voices' own website, www.lcdisability.org/youngvoices
, and on YouTube at www.youtube.com/youngvoiceslcd
Contact Theresa Hart at Leonard Cheshire Disability's press office on 020 3242 0290 (out of hours 07903 949 388) or email Theresa.Hart@lcdisability.org
Notes to editors
- In the past year Leonard Cheshire Disability supported nearly 10,000 disabled children to go to school and 6,700 disabled adults to gain skills and employment in developing countries.
- In the UK, Leonard Cheshire Disability marked the UN's International Day with a special celebration of disabled people's contribution to communities at the Randall Close day centre in Battersea. Justine Greening, the local MP and Secretary of State for Transport, joined the celebrations on Friday 2 December.