Richard Blackford
Composer

Voices of Exile

2014

"Starry forces combine to give a concentrated performance of Blackford's brooding medetation on the refugee experience, setting texts in thirteen languages."

BBC Music Magazine

“In 1992 I recorded a 15-year-old girl refugee in the Kalighat slum area of Calcutta. Her village had been destroyed by drought and she, like hundreds of thousands, lived on Calcutta’s streets. When her family left her village they had to walk for days and consequently could take none of their few possessions. All she could bring with her, she said, were her songs. For Kamla the songs were her link with her village, her past and her culture – they represented a part of her dignity. Although at the time I did not know it, I felt that one day I would write a work that would incorporate Kamla’s beautiful song and the stories of others like her.

Thirteen years later the political debate on refugees and asylum seekers often seems to overlook the fact that these people are individuals, not statistics or political footballs. Voices of Exile makes no overt political point; it tries rather to give voice to a wide-ranging group of writers who have suffered exile, prison, sometimes torture, and who can give an insight into the shared experience of the refugee. It is an uncomfortable subject, yet one which, after being introduced to the work of the Medical Foundation and Prisoners of Conscience in 2000, I decided to make the theme of Voices of Exile.”

Richard Blackford

Listen

Voices of Exile

Buy

Voices of Exile, featuring the Bach Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra, and New London Children's Choir, with Catherine Wyn-Rogers Mezzo-Soprano, Gerald Finley Baritone, and Gregory Kunde Tenor, conducted by David Hill, is available on CD from Nimbus Records. You can purchase it here. You can also purchase the album on iTunes.