Ilona’s Beautiful Poems

Ilona wrote and read these beautiful poems at the My Ancestors were French Refugee Week workshop at Creator College…

Heart
Emotional mirror
Squeezed so tight
Will it ever recover?
Shattered

Forget your mother tongue
And accept strange sounds as yours
No choice left for you
Ilona in Green
Three Word Poem – The Air

The plain lands
And doors open
The air here
Smells so different

Vast flowery meadows
Lively smelly farms
Bread just baked
All is missing

Instead of all
Smog and dust
And fish shops…
So very strange

Why would you
Leave all this
And swap it
To such uncomfort?

“Some things happen
Time to go.
Try to find
Eager for experience”

Letters
Through the door
They pop inside
To make me
So very happy

“We send you
All our love
Just stay strong
‘Til the end”.

Every single postman
Bringing the letter
Made every morning
So much bearable.

Then the letters
Slowly got rarer
‘I’m still here!
I still remember!’

No more letters
To fill me
With home strength
For the end.

Yet, can’t stop
Thus I’m made
To find strength
Closer to me.

Ilona Urbikaite

Adam’s Poemed Illustration

We had a fabulous session at the My Ancestors Were French Exhibition, Workshop and Gig for Refugee Week on Wednesday. A big thanks to Alan, Mal and Sally at Hull’s Creator College for hosting the event.

There were some amazing and very evocative poems and art produced in the workshop that Louise & Amanda ran in the afternoon. Adam Wilson is the artist in residence at Creator College. His is not an illustrated poem, but a poemed illustration, ‘Stranger’.

Adam's Poemed Illustration
Adam’s Poemed Illustration

Strangeness made Stranger
Language gap broadened
Nuances subtly lost
Meaning crisply missed

Adam Drawing

Your Ancestors were…?

It’s a poem, set to music, have a listen…

My ancestors were French,
And, for what it’s worth, faith ruled their lives.

Me, I’ve never been to church, and I haven’t been good.
But I’ve made my mark,
And I got in trouble,
Listening to my devil in the dark.

Y’know I’ve always landed on my feet,
And I’ve got a sense of history.
Yeah I’ve always landed on my feet,
And those flowers take me back…

The devil inside, he’s sittin’ on my shoulder,
Pushin’ me out so I’m sittin’ on a boulder
In the middle of the lake.
And the devil can’t swim,
So I’m feelin’ brave and I’m gonna get him.

It’s gonna get colder, if he falls in the lake.
He’ll be off my shoulder, off my back.
There’ll be no more trouble,
Gonna make a fresh start.
Stop listenin’ to the devil…
Gonna listen to my heart.

Gonna listen

To my heart.

© 2012  L. Duffy-Howard, Corey Clough-Howard

Home - anon
Home – anon

Free Auricula Suite Gig for Refugee Week

FREE Auricula Suite gig for Hull Refugee Week, on Wednesday 19th June 2013 upstairs at Creator College, 6-8 King Edward St, Hull, HU1 3SS, UK doors 7.00 pm, band on stage 7.30 pm.

Songs telling of a journey to a new land, a story of love and loss, persecution and a new beginning; inspired by folk tales of the alpine Primula auricula and its 16th century journey to England with the Huguenot refugees.

My Ancestors were French – Amanda, Quentin, Louise, Richard

Written by Richard & Louise Duffy-Howard and performed by My Ancestors were French – Richard & Louise (guitars and vocals), Amanda Lowe (hammer dulcimer) and Quentin Budworth (hurdy gurdy).

“The music was intricately beautiful, the songs informative and real, the performers were fascinating to watch and the whole entertainment and feel of the evening was celebratory. The interweaving of the instrument sounds and the vocals painted exciting pictures…get the CD it is a beautiful recording of the material. ” Gifford Rolfe

“What a fantastic evening the Auricula Suite concert is – beautiful people, music, and flowers. A room bursting with colour, love & enriched with mesmeric music…we all absolutely loved it!” Lynn Beaumont

“The songs are lovely, memorable and haunting.” Liz Goodwin

“Thank you for your performance, great music, lyrics, colours and auriculas!” June Hennige

Songs, stories, flowers, photographs…and those flowers take me back…

My Ancestors were French – Part of the Heritage Lottery Funded All Our Stories scheme, in support of BBC2’s ‘The Great British Story – A People’s History’

Please note that there are stairs up to the concert room.

Free Workshop and Exhibition for Hull Refugee Week

Would you like to come to a FREE workshop and exhibition on Wednesday June 19th 2.30 pm – 4.30 pm at Creator College, 6-8 King Edward St, Hull, HU1 3SS, UK

We use music, poetry, local film and storytelling to look at what it feels like to come to live in a strange land, and how music can bring people of different cultures together, overcoming adversity and creating something good and new.

Run by Mandi and Lou, it will be easygoing and there will be tea and biscuits. All welcome, just come along on the day but note that there are stairs up to the venue.

It’s all part of the Heritage Lottery Funded All Our Stories scheme, in support of BBC2’s ‘The Great British Story – A People’s History

Part of a series of workshops, which will contribute to the archive of stories and work created for the ‘My Ancestors were French’ project. https://myancestorswerefrench.com/

Dilzar creating a soundtrack for the film

There will also be a free My Ancestors were French gig (The Auricula Suite) at 7.00 pm. All welcome, come and join us!

Please note that there are stairs up to the concert room, and as yet no lift.

My Ancestors were French Workshop
My Ancestors were French Workshop
A Huguenot, and feedback
Workshop Circle

Click here to see the full Refugee Week Programme

Hull Refugee Week

Newsflash – Refugee Week Concert and Workshop

Dilzar creating a soundtrack for the film

Wednesday June 19th 2013 at Creator College, King Edward Street, Hull, UK, as part of Refugee Week – My Ancestors were French – Auricula Suite Performance (7.30 pm) and My Ancestors were French Workshop (2.30 pm)

All welcome, come and join us!

Watch this space for more details …

My Ancestors were French Workshop
My Ancestors were French Workshop
A Huguenot, and feedback
Workshop Circle

Our Workshop Film

Thanks to all who have been to our workshops. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone. There was lots of excellent conversation and the amount of superb work created –  poems, stories, drawing – was amazing.

Quentin made this short film of Amanda and Louise and the participants at the Willerby Methodist Hall session, so you can see what went on.

We used music, poetry, local film and storytelling to explore the themes of the My Ancestors were French project. It was easygoing, no pressure and we had lots of good discussion over tea and biscuits.

It’s all part of the Heritage Lottery Funded All Our Stories scheme, in support of BBC2’s ‘The Great British Story – A People’s History’

Work produced at the workshops are displayed at the project exhibitions celebrating the stories uncovered and work created for the ‘My Ancestors were French’ project.

Richard took the photos.

A Huguenot, and feedback
A Huguenot, and feedback

Amber’s Poem

Amber
Amber

I left home
Everything I know
Everything I love
It was unbearable.

Coming from school
Not allowed home
Family have gone
What is happening?

Ushered into car
Away from Willerby
Out of Hull
Destination is unknown.

Frightened
Scared silence
Thinking of home
Wish I was there.
Alone.

Arrival
Shaking nervously
Where am I?
Wanting to be home
Destination.

By Amber Watson

Worth 6 minutes of anybody’s time…

My Ancestors were French Film – Stranger in a Strange Land

 “When I came to England, to Hull, it was a different language, culture and basically everything was like a big lock. And it was locked. The key to my life in Hull was music. If you take the music out of the world there would be nothing left to make a difference.”

Mike's Illustration
May the taxi driver’s cab be as empty as his soul

 “I had invited a couple of my friends from Bradford we were walking to town and they were saying we’ve heard Hull’s really bad and I was saying no not really, I’ve got some really good friends and it’s a really nice place to live, I’ve been to other cities but I think Hull is beautiful. Whilst I was talking a taxi passed us and the taxi driver leaned out of the window and started shouting ‘go back to your own country’, you know really shouting, really angry and my friend was saying well it must be really hard to live in Hull. I said ok there are some idiots but I have some really good friends here, don’t believe all the rumours. With that, the taxi got to the end of Spring Bank and turned around, he drove back just so he could hurl abuse at us for a second time. I was really mad; I was just telling my friends how beautiful Hull was.”

 “Once I went to one of the supermarkets in a shopping centre. I went to pay, I paid and I said thank you and the woman at the checkout smiled and said thank you too. The way she said it and looked at me she really meant it. This was the first time someone here had said thank you to me. I can’t explain how it made me feel but it made the rest of my day wonderful.”

 “I was waiting at a bus stop there was a woman with a child in a push-chair the bus came and she was struggling to get on and I said ‘do you want help with the push-chair?’ She said ‘no, but you can hold my baby’ and when she got off the bus and I said ‘do you want help with the push-chair’ and she said ‘no but you can hold my baby again’ and because in this country usually people would not trust someone like me, but she did, it made me feel good because she showed me that not everyone believes the lies some people tell about us.”

Another angle
Making the film

 “My friend, he’s Kurdish too, he can go to night clubs in town, pubs, anywhere, he has a great time and comes home feeling good. Nobody tells him to ‘go back to your own country’, but he doesn’t look like me. His skin is whiter and he’s got blue eyes.”

 “In my city, Howlare in Kurdistan, it is very flat just like Hull. Many years ago people built a hill in the middle of the city with their hands, so you could see it from miles around and know that you were close to home. When you see it after a long journey, it warms your heart and lifts your spirit. Here I travel with my band all over England to beautiful places with good people, playing at parties and gigs, but we know it’s not home and at the end of the night when we are really tired we know we have to go back. When we see the Humber Bridge, it’s like the hill in the middle of Howlare. We look at each other, smile and say ‘Yeah! Let’s go!’ “

 “My home in Kurdistan I shared with seven sisters, three brothers, my mum and my dad. There is a beautiful garden. We have two different orange trees, olive, pomegranate and a grapefruit tree which isn’t really grapefruit, it’s much more special. There are two grapevines in the garage, one black and one white. The roof of our house is flat; you can go to sleep up there watching the stars. And the stars are like nothing else. Everything is so clear you can navigate by them; you always know where you are. It is like being on a different planet. It is so beautiful. But I had to leave. I had no choice. I was seventeen. I have been looking for the stars since I’ve been in England but I can’t see them.”

 “Even though I have seen many horrors in my life, I still think I am lucky because I have brought good things from Kurdistan and I can see the good things in England.”

Quotes collected and translated by Dilzar Shanga and Richard Duffy-Howard

“What an incredibly powerful film. I hope you have many opportunities to share it. I will remember to smile!” CS

“I am so grateful for you forwarding the information regarding the video. I have just watched it and feel extremely moved.
Thank you again for your generosity and hope that such moving pieces touch the hearts of many.”

“I am so very touched by your film. It moves me to tears and to very broad smiles. It is so generous.
Thank you.
My very best wishes, GB”

“If people can clear their minds and watch this film and listen they may rethink and see the real picture for people who are sometimes just looking to be accepted, no matter where you are from. We all carry hidden sadness.” Ron Wilke

“Wow, what a beautiful film! It made me feel very emotional.” AW

“This is fantastic and a great piece of sociological reporting as well as art. Hull is, at long last, a diverse city and will become more so in the future. I’m excited and proud to see our city celebrating this and giving residents an insight into how life is for people when they arrive in this city. The global movement of people is a fact and is of benefit to all of us living in this world, be this out of choice or to flee persecution. The ignorant racist comments written here, as well as those I see so often written in response to other articles, just show the authors to be uneducated bigots. I suspect these people are happy to be called uneducated bigots, but I feel that someone should at least point it out.” Red Fraggle73 Hull Daily Mail 5th February 2013