Arts News


Launch of Spoken Word & Sound Art Album on the Issue of FGM, FORWARD & Tse Tse Fly Middle East

  • London, Anywhere
  • combined arts, interdisciplinary arts, literature, music
  • Naomi Reid


Musicians Unite to End FGM a project run by leading UK-based African women's organisation FORWARD is proud to announce the launch of These Are Our Friends Too, a unique album that highlights the work it does towards ending FGM (female genital mutilation). The album is the brainchild of FORWARD and founder of Tse Tse Fly Middle East Simon Coates, and continues FORWARD’s These Are Our Friends project, a collection of poetry from young people from London, Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham that responds to the themes of FGM and its consequences. The first stage of the project resulted in a book of the same name that features more than thirty pieces of work, a short film made with Media Trust, and the new collaboration will see nineteen of the poems re-imagined. 

Known for their live experimental music productions, interventions and artworks that are used to draw attention to human rights issues, Tse Tse Fly Middle East hand-picked a selection of female artists and musicians, and each one was given a spoken word recording of one of the poems read by members of the FORWARD team and poets from the book. The artists then composed and recorded a sonic background for their designated piece, with the resulting spoken word and experimental music compositions making up the new, nineteen-track set, These Are Our Friends Too. The album features contributions from some of the foremost female proponents of noise from Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Serbia, Bulgaria and Sweden, as well as UK-based collaborators. And the visceral, uncompromising and unsettling tracks that result reflect the disturbing nature of female genital mutilation.

These Are Our Friends Too will be released as a digital download on the Bandcamp platform – as well as being available to stream online - on September 20th 2019. 

Everyone involved has given their time for free, with all proceeds from sales of the album going directly to FORWARD.

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Photo, Crowds enjoying Garden of Light, by TILT. Lumiere London 2016, produced by Artichoke, supported by Mayor of London. Credit Matthew Andrews 2016.

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Photo, Jennie Gill, Yorkshire Artspace, Sheffield. Photo Our Favourite Places / Nigel Barker for Yorkshire Artspace.