Last June, Cardiff became the seventh British City to receive a status of Sanctuary. To gain this accolade, Cardiff demonstrated that it is a city that welcomes new arrivals seeking a safe place to live after fleeing war or persecution.
This Friday, Music Without Borders will present Songs For Sanctuary, a free event that showcases how far the Cardiff has come in crafting a culture of welcome since then. At 6pm, an eclectic mix of local musicians will take to the Glanfa stage at Wales Millennium Centre to communicate the plight of refugees and asylum seekers settling here through an evening of song. Preparations have been underway for months on end. Each and every member of the team involved is passionate about creating relationships that are cohesive and inclusive while challenging stereotypes about migration at a time of great need. They are also all uniquely talented, with musical interests and aptitudes spanning a rainbow of genres. The result is a dazzling, bustling show laced with political urgency.
Although the event is about progression and positivity, it is poignantly timed. Attitudes may be changing in Cardiff, but the current migrant boat crisis dominating headlines is a mere snapshot of the continually devastating effects of war and persecution driving the desperate to flee some of the world’s most restrictive regimes. As you read this, thousands continue to drown in the Mediterranean, having risked and lost their lives for a shot at freedom. These are human beings with unique stories worthy of our undying attention.
The individual and collective creativity showcased at Songs For Sanctuary will provide living, breathing evidence of the benefits of multiculturalism while acknowledging those lost. Cardiff is fast becoming a technicolor melting pot of cultures, skills and differences; all of which are a complement and credit to the capital city. You are invited to join the celebrations this Friday.