Singing and smiling
What a term it has been.
Every Friday Rosie from London Rhymes and a succession of musicians – playing real instruments from trombones, to flutes to cellos – have met with our mums and minis to create music.
This Friday – in the midst of the grey drizzle – fifteen mums and their babies are sitting on brightly coloured blankets and cushions in The Lodge community centre, Forest Gate.
These mums are living in almost unimaginably difficult circumstances – single rooms with no private access to a toilet or a kitchen, in hostels, refuges, or damp and mouldy single rooms in private lets. Many live on an income of £34 per family member a week.
These incredible women have already overcome heartbreaking personal stories to get this far. Stories that include abuse by family members, trafficking, kidnap, domestic slavery, domestic violence, forced labour.
But today – in this room – every one of them is smiling. Babies are cradled and rocked, older children sit on the floor and hold bells or chimes to ring – mums play drums or percussion instruments. Everyone is singing – mums from Albania, Lithuania, the Caribbean, Nigeria, Ghana, Eritrea – all with one voice.
With ultimate ease and solidarity mums welcome others’ children on to their knees to give each other a chance to drink tea or have a rest. Volunteers from the community – our mums on maternity leave – are here with their own babies to help out, befriend and share.
“When you sleep, when you dream, when you wake, mama’s here” everyone sings the words to the songs they have composed together.
For a moment – as music fills the room mingling with the voices of mums, the murmer of babies, the deep resonance of the cello – everything is right with the world and the joy stings your eyes and catches in your throat.
This is not just music. Something transformative is happening in this room today. We are witnessing community, creativity, respite, and love. This is a chance for an hour and a half to step back from the fight and be the free, engaged mums we know we can be for our children. We are watching women begin to heal.
To be part of the magic please visit our crowdfunding page to support Creative Futures and London Rhymes to record and share our songs, and to continue working with our mums.