Leading UK-based African diaspora women’s campaign and support organisation FORWARD, in partnership with Tse Tse Fly Middle East, have released These Are Our Friends Too, a unique album that highlights the work it does to eradicate FGM (female genital mutilation). The album is the brainchild of FORWARD’s Naomi Reid and Tse Tse Fly Middle East founder Simon Coates, and continues FORWARD’s These Are Our Friends project, a collection of poetry from young people that responds to the themes of FGM and its attendant consequences. The first stage of the project resulted in a book of the same name that features more than thirty pieces of work, and the new collaboration sees nineteen of the poems re-imagined.
Known for their live experimental music productions, interventions and artworks that are used to draw attention to human rights issues, Tse Tse Fly Middle East have hand-picked a selection of female artists and musicians, with each one given a spoken word recording of one of the poems read by members of the FORWARD team. The artists then composed and recorded a sonic background for their designated piece, with the resulting spoken word and experimental music compositions making up the new, nineteen-track set, These Are Our Friends Too.
The album features contributions from some of the foremost female proponents of noise from Egypt (Ola Saad, Jacqueline George), Iran (Maryam Nazari, Nilufar Habibian, Negin Zomorodi), Turkey (Hüma Utku), Lebanon (Nour Sokhon, Rhéa Dally, Stephanie Merchak), Serbia (Kumah), Bulgaria (Polly Petrova) and Sweden (Iida Aino), as well as UK-based collaborators (Jilliene Sellner, Cathy Lane, Mariam Rezaei, Parisa Shirvani). And the visceral, uncompromising and unsettling tracks that result reflect the disturbing nature of female genital mutilation.
All proceeds from sales of the album go to FORWARD.