In May 2021 the Migration Museum ran workshops for us about the story of the HMT Empire Windrush arriving at Tilbury Docks, and the general history of migration to the UK. Living close to a place that has a huge part to play in England’s story of migrant communities, this was a great chance to reflect on our own identities and the heritage of the local area.
Throughout May 2021 we held workshops with artist and musician Anthony Joseph to explore the role that Calypso music has had for people arriving to the UK from the Caribbean – namely the story of Lord Kitchener’s performance upon arrival at Tilbury of ‘London is the Place for Me’. Anthony worked imaginatively with us to explore local landmarks, history, personal reflections and heritage connections. The work was put together as lyrics for a new song, ‘Tilbury is the Place for Me’.
In early June 2021 young musicians from the Kinetika Bloco band met with Anthony to explore the new lyrics and they then devised a Calypso music score for the song. Kinetika Bloco leaders then met up with Gateway Learning Academy students again to teach the singing elements of the song as well as drumming workshops to get everyone involved in performing the new piece as an ensemble!
The 10th June was the first time we were able to get-together in person for a rehearsal in the sunshine at Tilbury Fort. English Heritage staff welcomed everyone to the site and we were finally able to playing together.
On the 1st August we hosted (with Kinetika) an event at Tilbury Fort, where we performed our song live! The acoustics at the fort were brilliant for the beats of the drums and the echoes of the pans, and the community came together to celebrate Tilbury’s diverse history and heritage, and the young people exploring it.
This tied into the official end of T100 Dreaming Festival – Kinetika’s community walking festival – as local people finished their epic walk at the Fort all the way from Lowestoft, having collected 500 ‘dreams’ of what they imagined our communities will be like in the future.