Abbas Hallas

by Sudan Field Music

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    ‘Where words fail, music speaks.’ Hans Christian Andersen
    Last week when I was walking down one of the dirt roads in the Calais refugee camp with some of my colleagues, we came across two clowns with complete with red nose and breeches. They were followed by a stream of young residents of the camp. One of the boys called me over and shoved a marker into my hand to sign a board that the clowns were carrying. I think it was a clown petition, and off they went. One the other boys who had gathered around said ‘come Sudan music’ and led us into their make shift home away from the path. We all piled into their main shelter ... like a sitting room. They took out the drums and started singing what I presumed was a traditional Sudanese song. Two of the younger boys, only 17 years old, danced and mimed actions to explain the meaning of the song. As they alternated between the roles of CRS police using pepper spray and camp refugees hiding, we realised that this was a song written about living in the misery of Calais and the police brutality endured, ‘Abbas Hallas’.
    Between our five words of Arabic and their five words of English we deciphered they are all family members from the same village in Sudan. Our friend Liam took out his paper and inks and started sketching portraits and I recorded them singing. As he drew they joked and slagged each any boys their age. Over the course of the week we spent many hours with them chatting, singing, sketching, eating, drinking sweet tea. The music sessions were like a ray of sunshine in the increasingly dire conditions, three days of non-stop rain. They would always greet us with a warm shoulder bump and handshake, escort us around the camp if it was dark, share their food with us and shelter us from the rain. We began to realise that they had very little... one phone between them, inappropriate footwear for the weather, no socks, no jackets and very little food shared between them. Then we found out that one of the older boys volunteers everyday in one of the camp kitchens.
    Like some others we met in the camp they don’t attend the line distributions for clothes and food and like to keep away from any potential confrontation (especially for the younger boys). We helped them with the clothes and food that they needed.
    I believe many people I have met in the camp have so much to offer. Rather than have them depend on charity completely, I decided to set them up a bandcamp where people could enjoy their music and offer some financial reward. I can deliver this to them directly on my trips to Calais (next one is 14th January, next Thursday). It would be like a small income to keep them in basic items that they need rather than a hand out and restore in them some sense of dignity ... so if you enjoy music and believe in solidarity rather than charity please have a listen and donate whatever you feel.
    Solidarity not charity!
    ‘Where words fail, music speaks.’ Hans Christian Andersen
    ... more

      €5 EUR  or more




'Abbas Hallas'
Field recordings from the Calais Refugee Camp. All proceeds go directly to the artists.


released January 7, 2016



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Sudan Field Music Ireland

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