Before The Bullets Tear The Skin

(photo from banner making workshop at Amnesty International preparing for Stop The War arms fair protest 2019, possibly back in London in 2021)

Taken from the ground to serve a purpose,
not decoration, a broach or pin, no,
nor coins or keys or rings.
No, this metal was taken, compounded and formed in a mould to be small and hard enough to go through skin ; into muscle, into organ, lungs, stomach, brain – in

By who?
Someone: between two people who it’s almost certain won’t know, One and other, and if they did, would they be there at all? I don’t think so.


Before the bullets tear the skin we block a road with song.
A lorry has to stop, hundreds singalong .
Bullets stopped mid air.


The games played for the money and power of others, and because in ourselves we can’t stop.
I feel , peace education is real,

I feel we can stop.

We Will Remember

(A piece of protest at/memorial wall. All these people depicted and remembered all died while in interactions with the police. Following the killing of George Floyd and the BLM protest movements, my friend and I did this using chalk paints.

Using chalk paints is not a chargeable offence and in my experience much less likely arrestable.)

Evening over the street

tracing faces from my phone screen to the wall discretely.

I chose this hoarding to do something, to hold my pain, growing my compassion and my learning

You don’t want it to be true; gagged, tied, ignored, shot, held down with arms, and hands and knees, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe

Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Mzee Mohammed, Rashan Charles, Mark Duggan, Sheku Bayoh, Joy Gardener, Sean Rigg, Sarah Reed, Shukri Adbi, julian Cole, Edson De Costa, Jermaine Baker, Ian Tomlinson, Jean Charles De Mendez, Christopher Alder, Cherry Groce, Jimmy Mubenga,

This is a vigil, this is a protest, this is art, this is what happened

What happens now when we hold them in our hearts?

Compassion for the victims, for the families, for the perpetrators, for their families, for those who seek justice and those too numb to speak up.

We Will Remember

April and May

We have a unique opportunity now, to leverage this crisis to kick-start a Decade of Action – UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed

Live song share This evening 29th May -Friday / Corona daily relaxations/ Wake Up Your Artist Online/ Film for Seamus Heaney Centre #LeaveNoOneBehind/

April May

Dear friends , in these times of lockdown at various stages-reaching out to say hello with a live show this evening, a series of relaxation reodings, pay what you can online retreats and some other projects and links.

Joe


This evening, 8-9 myself and buddy and house friend Josh Donaldson (who sings under the name of Yona ) will be doing a song share hour and taking donations for The Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers. You may not know; as an asylum seeker in Britain you receive £36 a week (£5 a day) to cover your living costs. I was surprised and saddened with was so little when I started volunteering there.

Here’s the link

The organisation wholeheartedly offers all they can to whoever turns up and thanks to everyone whose donations make it possible. The centre now run a food bank on a Wednesday during the pandemic

Here’s a picture of Josh (Bona) I’m playing with this evening

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One of my lockdown projects has been to record daily relaxations – The series playlsted below is them , first a body scan, then a song; each is about 15/20 minutes. The relaxations go into the body in more details than I have explored before – describing bones muscles and organs – in total I imagine we will have about 65/70 of them by about 2 weeks time when I plan to wrap up the project 🙂

The relaxations also come with dedications to community activists, politicians, friends, and countries that have inspired me during this time with their efforts and heart to maintain peace and love and speak truth to power during this time.

The Wake Up Your Artist retreats run by myself and Larissa Mazbouh continues through this time online – if you felt to have a few days of creative retreat we do workshops looking at creativity with all it’s ups and downs and how find our Fflow and art activist engaging in social issues – we’d love to see you.

Come see our website for more :

lastly a film…

A month ago Josh, who I’m playing with tonight and I did this project together funded by The Seamus Heaney Poetry Society in Ireland. It features the Foodbank and me (a lot!) forgive that – the project was about individual artists, poetry and songlyrics around Covid – we hope it raises awareness and some funds.

This work of charities fill the gap left by, in my opinion, a system that could much kinder and much more supportive.


The film ends with a hash tag #leavenoonebehind another organisation raising awareness for the most vulnerable at this time

With love and wishing you are ok at this time – if you feel lonely and want a chat – I’d be glad to hear from you

Joe

A Thousand Hands from ConsciousFilmCo. on Vimeo.

WUYA DAY-O SONG

 

Hello everyone welcome to a page on my website – you are welcome good you visited.

We’d like your help 🙂

In the coming months we have 2 day retreats called WUYA DAY-O (Day -Online).

We had the idea to make a song to use in the promotion and we wondered if you would offer your creativity and sing with us?

Here’s what you do:

  1. listen to the tracks
  2. sing , dance whatever you feel !
  3. listen again and this time sing (Improvised) just using the word ‘WUYA DAY – O’ – sing it as many times you like in whatever way feels good!
  4. record your voice and send it to …wakeupyourartist@gmail.com
  5. We will take the voices and mix them altogether to make a few fun songs

 

 

ideally you will listen to the songs on headphones and sing into another device (smart phone is perfect) – This keep your voice and the music seperate.

love

Joe

The songs below are instrumental tracks for the project.

 

 

 

February March

IMG_20200322_121908Photograph from Quaker Children’s (online zoom group) Rainbows for change 

“There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
You feel it, don’t you?” ~ Rumi

 

Corona (relaxations), album on Spotify and Youtube, Preparations for Crossing borders festival with Hakuna (my friend Godfrey teaching me Swahili), Song Fest in Yorkshire, (interview with Emily Smith Middlesborough Asylum seeker choir) and Great Lakes Peace Trust show with Tom Robinson June (maybe)

Screen Shot 2020-03-24 at 08.48.06At the time of writing I’m at home with a candle . I just tuned out from listening to Bernie Sanders doing a live rally with Neil Young – I enjoy listening to Bernie speak and I could carry on, but it’s getting late! 

Out of my roof window I can look across miles of London, over toward the centre and the east. It’s been quiet, out on my bike over the weekend the streets were almost empty (I didn’t take these pictures but a friend did). And you know for all the people I’m feeling connected to them in a way somehow deeper than by anything I’ve experienced before – close it seems to how I feel about Climate Change, though this feels undeniable, no protest is needed to see the effects, it’s happening and the world is stopping.

3 small top down (Covent Garden, Chinatown, Southbank. Large one, Southbank

My thoughts on it are quite simple; I feel we’ve made it, so to speak. Pandemics, as climate change is, are in my view life responding, as a stressed body would. Where does the stress come from? We are inextricably linked to each other and the natural world, and of the species among countless, our dominance of the earth is clear- as Alanna Shaikh (see below) says, ‘Human choices are driving us into a position where we’ll see more outbreaks…we are pushing into the last wild spaces’. To look at it another way I am touched by the idea that this is an opportunity to reflect, to change.

With the upmost respect to all who have passed away and families.

Two links that shaped my views an article from the guardian on the links between climate change and Coronavirus and a Tedtalk from Global health expert Alanna Shaikh about human behaviour and the situation.

In response to unrest, concern and fear I decided to offer something I can do here; record some relaxations if you visit the Rest Relaxation menu you’ll find them.

My intention is to reach you where you are to calm you for 15 minutes at a time.

joeholtaway.com/rest-relaxations


 

Colorful Strokes General Souncloud Banner

My album More The Love That’s Given is now on Spotify and Youtube. It’s been lovely to hear from folks all over the world , music is so accessible now, I knew this, though I’m finding it takes releasing something to really feel this.

The sharing pages are running and I’ll get back to them in the coming weeks – thanks so far to friends who have bravely shared on depression, gender identity, the environment and other themes.

thanks Foxx’s Frequencyfor the post.

https://soundcloud.com/joe_holtaway/deep-relaxation

https://soundcloud.com/joe_holtaway/deep-relaxation

When I started writing this post I was contemplating the Government’s recent decision to vote against protections for child refugees to be reunited with their families. The decision, one that has been very much in debate the UK parliament, reminded me of an underlying position of closedness that continues to affect the lives of the most vulnerable

For the foreseeable future Asylum seekers in the UK have a pause from reporting (a sometimes weekly expectation) while we are in the lockdown, some small relief for now. Around the world though, in camps especially it hits hardest (guardian article) and will this lead to tighter borders?

I was sent this form a friend who works closely with Stand Up To Racism, raising awareness around the blame some have put onto certain groups at this time that feels like an entry point to action.

In the UK many NGOs continue to work with migrants arriving into the country and I’ve found in my little bit of volunteering, relationships that fill me with wonder ‘beyond borders’ –

here’s one – with Godfreys permission , here’s me trying to get my voice around  some Swahili , Godfrey and I will be playing at the Crossing Borders festival in South London when we are have a new date later in the year (we hope)

and more about the centre…


Along similar lines I had the honour of being a part of SongFest in Yorkshire last month alongside the Middlesborough Asylum Seeker Choir, Scottish singer Yvonne Lyon and other performers and workshop leaders. My sincerest appreciation for it’s organiser Julia Haigh (and lovely welcoming family – including dear Naomi who those who read my album notes will know plays Cello on A Thousand Hands and We Go Sailing

Here is Emily Smith from MAP (Choir leader) and a song old spiritual Down To The River with Yvonne Lyon, thanks for asking me up Yvonne

To close, this may happen it may not we’ll see. Touched by an invitation from BBC6’s Tom Robinson to support at a benefit for the Great Lakes Peace Trust – June 12th St Austell Theatre – here’s Tom whole-heartedly rocking out in 1979

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