From January 2017 through January 2020, I volunteered in Brussels, Belgium at the Fedasil Arrival Centre with poet and writer, Sarah Reader Harris. Every Monday, we stood beneath a covered corridor where there were no walls to close us in and we invited asylum seekers to share their hopes, dreams, and stories. We began with the written and spoken word, and then we worked together to create a song.
With titles like “Never Give Up” and “I am the Change,” the songs we have written together with asylum seekers bear witness to the strength and resilience of the human spirit. You can read about the stories behind the songs and listen to recordings by visiting Guiding Songs: Migration Songs. We have written songs in many languages with people from countries all over the world who journeyed to Belgium in search of a safer life.
“On the Move: Poems and Songs of Migration” highlights 27 songs from 18 different countries with lyrics encompassing 11 languages over the course of the book. The reason we chose these 27 songs (as opposed to including all 46) is that these are the most finished and ready to sing. We invite you to click on the links below to learn more about the process of bringing each song into the world. There are also photos, recordings, and videos that bring each song to life.
- Never give up
- A peaceful life
- The sun will come again
- Laugh at life
- I am the change
- Break the code
- I am a word
- Remember Rose
- The Domes of Damascus
- If only we hope
- Don’t wait, create
- The Pigeon Song
- Just be happy [The meaning of life]
- I could be you, you could be me
- Soyons unis
- We are all human
- Hakuna Matata
- Let me be free
- My lovely, my lovely [Habibi, habibi]
- The hand that hurts can also heal
- We are the nomads
- You are always here with me
- Give me a chance
- When you cross the border
- A wild idea
The book is for purchase on Lulu and Amazon. We have intentionally made the books available through multiple online publishers to keep prices and shipping costs low for people living in different countries. To make the book affordable for everyone, we have created both Color and Black&White versions. The proceeds initially will be put toward recording an album of migration songs you will be able to purchase and download. Once this project has been realized, one third of the proceeds from book and music sales will be donated each year to an organization that helps refugees and asylum seekers.
*Note: Lulu book sales are mostly for the United States. In order to avoid shipping and customs fees, we invite you to order a book from the Amazon marketplace closest to you.
Order books on Lulu
Order books on Amazon
Help us record migration songs!
We are hoping to record these songs in order to send them out into the world. Music is a universal language, and listening to these songs can help people transcend fear and connect with people they have never met. We all have a story to tell, and in sharing our stories we can transform the world.
Any amount you can donate will help us get closer to our goal of recording these songs. Once we have covered the cost of recording the songs, a portion of all proceeds from our book and album will be donated each year to an organization that works with asylum seekers.
Another way to support the project is to buy a “We are not so different, you and I” sticker! Suggested donation $2-5, and we will happily mail one to you.
With oceans of gratitude and love,
Marieke & Sarah 🙂
To support the project, visit our GoFundMe site: Recording Migration Songs