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Refugees Welcome ♥

for saxophone quartet

forces: Baritone Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
duration: 12 minutes
2017
published by: Composers Edition

Programme Note

This work is my response to the political upheavals in the UK and US during 2016, by which I was profoundly shaken – particularly by the scapegoating of immigrants and refugees for problems they have no control over by certain parts of the press and political establishment. I don’t want to live in a world where we do not empathise with their plight, or welcome them into our society, or allow them to contribute in meaningful ways. We will never solve the world’s problems by pretending they do not exist.

The title is taken from some graffiti on a bridge on a cycle path near where I live in Manchester, from which I take solace. Although graffiti is temporary, I hope this composition makes the sentiment expressed more permanent. I also take a lot of hope from stories of people (particularly in Germany) who accepted refugees into their homes and communities, and also from the work of organisations like Music Action International, who give opportunities for refugees and torture survivors to make music through groups like the incredible Stone Flowers.

This music weaves Arabic modes and West African rhythmic patterns in amongst my own musical materials with the aim of creating a kind of emotional tapestry of sound that celebrates the joy and cultural richness that immigrants can bring to society. It also empathises with the plight of refugees from numerous parts of the world, whose stories are often so heartbreaking. After all, we are all human.

This work is dedicated to my wife, Jennifer Loconto, who herself contributes towards multiculturalism in our community, by volunteering for Talk English sessions for those who wish to improve their English language skills.
Programme Note