After last week's taster workshops, we were all asked to choose one workshop to stick with until the end of the project. We had a choice of music, ensemble theatre, Parkour, dance and street theatre for the first half of the day, giving us the chance to work on our own individual and group projects later on.
I deliberated between music and ensemble theatre, but in the end I decided to go with music. "We're getting our journey quite well started this morning" was the phrase Nigel used as individuals in the group shared the musical skills they had. I was beautifully surprised by some of the talents displayed, particularly when Darren started singing with a strong, majestic voice. I was also genuinely moved, particularly by one of the pieces performed by the Portuguese group.
One of the members of the Portuguese group, 20-year-old Duarte from Quinta do Conde, has a musical background and comes from a very musical family. He plays the piano and violin, and we had the pleasure of having him play the keyboard in yesterday's workshop. He chose the music workshop, because "It's what I do, it's my life" and he wants to achieve "pleasure by playing with the others".
Throughout this week, Nigel wants us "to learn things from each other", and on Monday we had the chance to learn a number of songs from him. By the end of the third song, there was a great jam session going on, with clapping, ad-libbing, dancing and various instruments joining Nigel on his guitar. The vibe was truly amazing and made me feel a little emotional; it's not often that you get to experience something like that. The final jam was Duarte's favourite part, as he thinks "it's what people should do here... Let each one be themself." We were also treated to an impromptu dance performance from Guilia, which was a beautiful end to session.
Yesterday, after Susan's lively vocal warm-up, we learnt songs prepared by different groups and individuals, which generated great energy and gorgeous sounds. Something very special definitely happened when we came together like a choir to sing a Portuguese folksong, 'Já Vai Pelo Mar Adentro'.
Izzy, 21, from Leeds in the UK also taught us a song, 'Shut the Door, Keep Out the Devil', which she learnt in choir in school. She said that teaching the song to the group was "Difficult, [as] it's hard to stand up in front of a group“, and that she would have liked to have more time to do it rather than rushing through it. However, by the end of the week, she hopes to have done a virtual choir workshop.
Later on, everyone came together to create a song based on a statement that came from a workshop run by Darren and Robert yesterday afternoon: 'Democracy is freedom in the framework powered by people working together for each other with equality, kindness, respect and responsibility.' Alex led out in playing the tune on his guitar, supported by those playing other instruments, while individuals in the group generated ideas to turn these words into a song, incorporating other lyrics that relate to the statement. It was great seeing the song begin to take shape and I know it will continue to build.
Srebrenica's own Ljubisa, 21, chose this particular workshop because "I wanted to try something different." Despite having experience in many different areas, including radio, events organisation and basketball (my own personal favourite), he does have a slight background in music – part of the reason he wanted to try it is because he took part in singing competitions in the past and even managed to win "a couple of times". His favourite part so far has been singing the Portuguese and Israeli music, as it's a new experience. To sum it up in the words of Ljubisa, "It's pretty amazing."