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Here's Five: Songs Of And For Refugees

Here's Five: Songs Of And For Refugees

Tuesday 30th May, 2017 3:09PM

This weekend, a raft of excellent Wellington-based artists will be pitching in for a benefit show that aims to run both funds and awareness for Doing Our Bit's campaign to double New Zealand's refugee quota. The timing of the campaign is especially apt, being that it is an election year and therefore the last opportunity until 2019 to up the quota, which currently lags far behind other countries for hosting refugees on a per capita basis. According to statistics released in 2016, New Zealand is placed 96th in the world per capita - 117th when adjusted for relative wealth.

In anticipation of Saturday's event at Meow, which will feature performances from Orchestra of SpheresHera Lindsay BirdThe All Seeing HandSo Laid Back Country China and Domino Dread, Doing Our Bit's Murdoch Stephens shared five songs of and for refugees - and some of the stories behind them. Check out the tunes below, and head over here to read more about Doing Our Bit and their campaign...

1. Neil Finn with Sharef King - 'Don’t Dream It’s Over'
The Wellington region is the new home to Syrian rapper Sharef King who came to New Zealand in early 2016. Upon arriving in New Zealand he made his first public appearance dueting with Neil Finn on some Crowded House classics. I wanted to feature both my favourite of Sharef’s tracks [one of which is over here] as well as 'Don’t Dream It’s Over', which takes on a more overt political edge when matched to Sharef – skip to 4m20s for a swell back ‘n’ forth between Neil and Sharef.

2. K’Naan – 'Somalia'

“So what you know about the pirates that terrorise the ocean?”. Of all the refugee-background musicians I wanted to include K’Naan – beating out luminaries like Freddie Mercury, Gloria Estefan and Regina Spektor – because of this track showing the complexities behind the oft-demonised Somali pirates.

3. Ruth Mundy – 'Don’t Swim Between the Flags'

Born and raised in England, Ruth has been in Wellington for the last couple of years and has established herself among the singer-songwriter scene in the capital. She’s performed this song to help out our campaign about a half dozen times. This track rips into the Brits and some of the racism and banal preoccupations of the tabloids and Tories.

4. M.I.A. – 'Borders'

Born in London, raised in Sri Lanka and then displaced to India, before returning to the UK, M.I.A. doesn’t pander to the easiest of images about refugees and displacement. She’s become a hero of the displaced Tamil communities around the world but extends that identity to solidarity to all refugees.

5. Naia Alkhouri - 'Just Want Home'

A song written by Naia when she was just 12 years old, speaking to both the Syria war and to the personal situation of missing her grandmother who was in Damascus. Naia’s, and her parents Michel and Michelle use their family’s Syrian-Kiwi connection as the force behind Make Foundation, to bring understanding and empathy to NZ schools through the arts, then raise funds through those projects to help make similar projects happen with Syrian refugee children in the Middle East.

Doing Our Bit's "Double NZs Refugee Quota!" Benefit Concert is taking place this Saturday at Meow in Wellington and will feature performances from Orchestra of Spheres, Hera Lindsay Bird, The All Seeing Hand, So Laid Back Country China and Domino Dread. Head over here for more information and to buy tickets.


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Doing Our Bit - Double The Refugee Quota Benefit Concert
Sat 3rd Jun 8:00pm
Meow, Wellington