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    y.r.u.m. project
    With the current commercial success of artists like Tinie Tempah and Tynchy Stryder, the music popularised by inner city youth - urban music - is becoming synonymous with mainstream popular music. However looking at Britain from 1957 to 2007 genres of urban music such as Ska, Punk Rock, Two Tone and, Sound System (Dub Music) embodied a spirit of rebellion amongst the youth, which was far from the mainstream. Our project went right back to the Windrush generation of immigrants from the Caribbean who brought Ska music to Britain in the late 1950s and 60s that influenced: Punk Rock and Two Tone in the 70s; Dub music (sound system) in the 1970s and 80s.

    We examined how this music fuelled youth rebellion (even leading to public disorder), but also how it gave hope to the youth and a voice which was listened to by wider society. 2011 marks 30 years since the riots in Brixton in 1981 where, against a soundtrack of dub music, young people (both Black and White) reacted violently to police oppression and abuse. It was interesting that during the summer of this YRUM project youth disorder erupted around the UK, however the musicians representing the voice of the youth are saying absolutely nothing about it. The challenge we see is that in times of increasing social and economic trials for young people – what role should music play in giving a voice and political platform to the youth which may lead them away from further crime and disorder.
    activity summary



    Week 1

    Day 1
    Introduction to YRUM Project – overview given in detail
    AM: Induction to the Nub – ground rules etc.
    Getting to know each other games/ how we work together

    PM: Overview of the next 4 weeks (hand out given and folder/ portfolio explained).

    15 young people attend initial session part in a number of ice-breakers to learn more about each other including name games and energizers.
    The group received a presentation on the project theme and on the activities that they would undertake over the next four weeks. A code of conduct was established and the group shared their hopes for the project.

    Day 2
    What is music introduction? Brainstorm
    Robin Walker – history of music

    PM: What music do you listen to? Lyrics/ impact/ energy (workshop with worksheets to complete)

    Young people receive their project books and make a start on understanding the concepts of Rebellion and what music is.
    Historian Robin Walker delivers a multimedia presentation on the history of urban music – starting from the drum in Africa to Jazz, Blues, Ska, Punk, Mersey Beat and Two Tone. 

    Day 3
    group are split up to look at 3 different genres – given resources etc.

    PM: each group will select some key songs that they found within the genre and share what they think is the message & why significant

    The group continue working on their project booklets and decide on which of the genres and specific artists that they will focus on for their final presentations.

    Day 4
    Case Study Music to liberate - Fela Kuti
    PM: African Drumming Session run by Powerful Drums

    The group look at parallel revolutionaries of Bob Marley and Fela Kuti who used their music to convey similar themes of anti-imperialism and power to the oppressed.
    The drumming session included trying different types of traditional African drums and learning basic rhythms and songs from Ghana.

    Day 5
    British Library workshops:
    Listen Up: 16-19s/ Research Matters: 11-15s
    Packed lunch

    PM: Group will access the British Library Sound Archives to find more song titles from the genre and era that they are looking at

    The research matters session involved a short tour of the collections, explanation of the history of the British Library and significant items held in the collections.
    The Listen Up Workshop introduced the group to exploring the nature of sound and its different properties. The group listened to different sounds and had to describe what they were as well as the quality of the sound and emotion carried by the sound. 

    Week 2

    Day 1

    Tony Warner looking at 1950s and 1960s urban music and youth rebellion,

    PM: Complete Worksheets based on the talk from Tony Warner

    Tony Warner delivered a presentation looking at the history of youth culture in Britain, which originates in the 1950s with the advent of Rock n Roll. He also outlined the development of the different genres of music and how these were rebellious.

    Day 2
    Black  History Walk around St Pauls with Tony Warner


    PM: complete worksheets based on what they have learned

    Tony Warner ran his Black History Walk around central London with the young people. This walk highlighted the hidden black history in much of the buildings and architecture in the City of London. He looked at the role of the Guilds – ‘Goldsmiths’ etc who made a great deal of money through dealings in Africa, especially the slave trade.

    Day 3
    Morning Review (youth-led)
    Presentation from Dr Lez Henry on 1970s and 1980s focus on sound system
    and dub music

    PM: watch Babylon Film. Take notes and discuss halfway then take notes and discuss at the end of the film
    NB. Speaker interviewed on camera

    Dr Lez Henry delivered a powerful session, which examined in particular the youth music movement known as Sound System or Dub music. He described the phenomena of young black people in areas across the UK following their favourite ‘sound’ and going to dances where the DJs would ‘chat’ over the beats on issues affecting black youth. This would range from looking at police brutality and oppression to lack of employment opportunities to issues with parents etc. As a former DJ himself known as ‘Lezlee Lyrics’, Dr Lez told of how the dance was a political platform as well as a social one.
    A few days after the London riots began; it was quite topical to look at the fact that current urban artists are not giving a voice to current youth issues in the same way. 

    Day 4

    Trip to Black Cultural Archives in Lambeth – take part in a workshop and get access to the collections of images etc

    PM: complete worksheets and gather together the information that has been found.

    The trip to the Black Cultural Archives began with an introduction to archiving, including why and how the BCA is building an archive and the purpose of it.
    Again this session took place when the various waves of rioting were still spreading across the UK. The young people looked at a copy of The Daily Mirror newspaper from 1981 that covered the Brixton riots on its front page. What was interesting was that the headlines read very much the same as the current headlines in describing the ‘feral’ nature of the rioting and vandalism. However the riots in 1981 were later accepted as justified due to heavy police oppression and lack of opportunities for black youth.   

    Day 5

    Oral History Training 1 – introduction to Oral History
    PM: Oral History Training Part 2 – legality, structure of interviews etc.

    The first session of oral history training focused on the dos and don’ts of interviewing. Looking at: open and closed questions, interview planning and set up, formally starting and ending the interview as well as how to document responses and avoid leading questions.

    Week 3

    Day 1

    Oral History Training 1 – Filming interviews
    PM: Oral History Training Part 2 – how to film an interview on camera

    The second oral history session focused on interviewing on camera. This focused on framing shots (looking room etc), ensuring the sound is optimised and how to acknowledge to the interviewee that you are listening without making any noise.
    This included use of the two project cameras with the young people recording practice interviews with each other that were screened at the end of the training.  

    Day 2

      FILM TRAINING: interactive basic camera and filming skills workshop, i.e. filming for edit. Older group to use HD camera, younger groups to use handy-cam.

    PM:  Film Challenge: groups will each tell a story on film.

    The young people had a further training session on using the project cameras. They were split into groups once they had learned the basics of camera operation. In their groups they looked at story boarding and how to tell a short story on camera without editing.
    The groups then made a very short film on their cameras that were screened at the end of the session. 

    Day 3

    Practicing Filming and interviewing
    PM: Marcus Garvey event

    The young people attended the unveiling of a blue plaque to commemorate the place where Marcus Garvey had his offices in West Kensington. The young people heard speeches from the Jamaican High Commissioner as well as pioneering Dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson. The group filmed the event as well as interviewing on camera some of the speakers on the day to develop their skills.

    Day 4

    Oral History Training 3 – from transcript to script
    PM: Oral History Training Part 2 – how to turn an interview into a short dramatisation

    The young people took part in a session to help them to develop techniques for creating scripts, plays and short stories from interview materials.
    The group had an opportunity to look at some fictional interview transcripts and to create some dramatizations based on these that were shared with the group at the end of the session.

    Day 5

    Workbooks and further research to build on their portfolios. 
    PM: Further work practising the skill sets learned from the training.

    The group spent some time working through the tasks in their workbooks. This involved also taking some record of the trips etc that they had been involved in as well as the talks from the various historians and the training that they had received so far.

    Week 4

    Day 1

    Review Session – look back at all that they have taken part in and explain that this week they will conduct interviews

    PM: Develop a set of questions to ask the elders during the interviews.

    The group began the week with a short review of all the activities that they had taken part in over the course of the previous 3 weeks.  They then started to prepare their interview questions for the elders who they would interview on camera this week.
    After developing their questions the group were then able to spend more time preparing their portfolios.

    Day 2

    Interview day
    Trip to Caribbean elders group – general discussion facilitated with elders and young people

    PM: Interviews conducted with individual elders

    The group made the trip to Clapham to visit the West Indian Ex-Servicemen and Women’s Group. They are a group that caters to the needs of war veterans from Africa and the Caribbean. This was the first of two trips made to interview elders. Questions asked included: what was it like on their arrival in the UK; what were their experiences with racism and the Teddy Boys; how did they manage to find housing and work; how did they socialise and what music did they listen to?
    We found that some were happy to talk openly about their experiences; however there were some who did not want to be interviewed and so would give short responses.  Also many of the elders we spoke to were women who came only after their husbands were settled in the UK, so we could have got a better perspective on some of the issues. We held a follow up visit with the elders and conducted around 12 interviews altogether.

    Day 3

    Interview Day 2
    Interviews and presentation conducted with popular music artists: Natty

    The group had the opportunity to receive a presentation from popular music artist Natty. He challenged the young people on what music means to them. He also looked at the importance of lyrics and how these can be used to share a message. He also spoke about his own musical experiences and the influences on him. The group also got to understand that commercial music is a business and Natty shared his experience of staying true to his creativity whilst being signed to a major record label such as Atlantic Records.

    Day 4

    International Slavery Day Event @ Greenwich National Maritime Museum

    This was a positive event, which highlighted various aspects of the legacy of slavery in Britain. This included:
    Workshop by Ethnovox – singing slave work songs and negro spirituals and looking at their hidden meanings and revolutionary purpose.
    Black History Walk – walk around Greenwich showing where Africans lived, the churches where they were buried and significant African people. This also included looking at the Battle of Trafalgar.
    Poetry Session – Listened to a poem by Paul Lawrence Dunbar called, ‘we wear the mask’ about Africans often giving a façade of being happy when in reality they were deeply unhappy. Also a poem called ‘Mind the Gap’ by David Neith talking about the power relationship between black people and the police.

    Day 5
    further work on portfolios, i.e. collating everything that has been put together

      Project celebration late lunch in the park – sharing of personal learning from the activities (filmed) – Older group to commit to editing process and to schools workshop days.

    The group spent the day finalising their presentations on the genres of music that they had chosen and the specific artists and songs within these genres. They used power point to give their presentations that covered Ska, Punk Rock, Two Tone and Dub music and the various artists that pioneered these music art forms in Britain from the 1950s. These presentations were also filmed on camera.
    This was the end of the summer programme but yet was the foundation for a number of the young people to begin work on creating the project outputs, including the project film, final booklet and disseminating this to wider audiences through presentations at schools and community groups.

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