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Sweet Freedom has in the past, and continues in the present, to involve itself in a variety of diverse projects, the aims of which are to give voice to the unheard, to bring justice to the oppressed and to encourage peace and freedom within our communities.

each small image below links to information about a particular project.
my life P
Scattered People
ALAFIAH freedom
Eyes Are Windows
Good Company
My Life My Voice
Aim High
Dream Out Loud
Heart Lifter
The Transformers
Our Time

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~ Berthold Auerbach ~

Who are the Scattered People?

Scattered People is comprised of asylum seekers, refugees and kindred-spirited locals who use music and art to engage on a level of significance with one another, to say what needs to be said, to navigate trauma in solidarity and to fortify wavering hopes.

Escalating political and media-fuelled hard-heartedness is distracting the Australian public from its inherent capacity for compassion and desire for fair treatment of fellow human beings who are ‘doing it tough’.

Weekly visits to the The Brisbane Detention Centre at Pinkenba (BITA) with our guitars and mandolins have resulted in musical collaborations of great significance. (See Article below)

(The Scattered People CDs sampled below are just some of the practical fruits of this association.)

Go to scatteredpeople.com

to see new video
and sample some tracks

from Sugarmill Road

Sugarmill Road – Release: 6th November 2015
Robbie James of GANGgajang, Producer of Sugarmill Road and member of Scattered People, ensures musical composition maximises the unique poems of the detainees, giving free expression to their haunting beauty. Western and Middle Eastern music and language are merged seamlessly in the innovative tapestry of Sugarmill Road, giving hope to a world of division. 

Many of the songs on the album, including Patience Is A Remedy, Limbo, Free Like Butterflies, If Our Homeland Was A Democracy and Letter from Detention, are ‘detention-grown’ originals resulting from poems given to the musicians by detainees with the request that music be added.

Sugarmill Road includes the deft guitar work and unique arrangements of Robbie James, eclectic flavours from Australia’s leading world music composer and performer Dr Kim Cunio, drums and percussion on ‘Patience Is A Remedy’ from GANGgajang/Angels drummer Buzz Bidstrup, off-set with delicate additions from Danielle Bentley’s string ensemble from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music.

The Grammy award-winning William Bowden has mastered the final product with characteristic passion and sensitivity.

Internationally acclaimed South African percussionist Eugene Skeef – co-activist with the late Steven Biko, said it was extraordinarily beautiful music. “They seem to have mastered the technique of communicating serious subjects while still maintaining the light of hope,” he said. “This comes through with such power and positive force and I am taken aback by the commitment, professionalism and love that emanate so fluently from every track.”

The album Sugarmill Road will be available as a digital download as well as on CD format via major music retail outlets from Friday 30 October
www.scatteredpeople.com to find outlets for purchase
Music finding its way into precarious places.

The Scattered People Narratives.
In May 2011, a phone call was made from the Lifeline Brisbane Social Inclusion Team to the Management of BITA -  Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation (the Pinkenba Detention Centre) offering the free services of psychologists, social workers and community development practitioners to alleviate the trauma being experienced by the asylum seekers housed there (the ‘boat people’). The response was courteous but dismissive. “Thank you but we have our own counsellors”

Another call was made the following week. This time from a couple of musicians in the above-mentioned team wondering if it would be alright to come out to BITA with guitars, mandolins and a few musical friends. No need to mention that the call was being made from the same phone as the week before.
Permission was granted.

On June 9, 2011, the small team of Scattered People musicians and their instruments were ushered into the common room of the detention centre to be greeted by a bewildered gathering of non-English speaking asylum seekers from mostly from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. We didn’t speak their languages either.
It was time for music to do the talking.

Here are the narratives relating to the mutually life-enhancing process that began back then and still continues each week
. Pinkenba Narratives Part 1      Pinkenba Narratives Part 2

Scattered People

Brisbane musicians and community development workers rallied to the cause and joined with asylum seekers to ‘workshop’ themes of significance. Songs were crafted and subsequently recorded which highlight “their escape and thirst for freedom – their haunting journeys to (places unknown – their celebration of the need for one another and the resilience which has characterised their survival …”

The resultant album was described by Shane Stuart of ABC Music as “flawless and absolutely wonderful”. It has been enthusiastically taken up by Amnesty International and the ‘New Internationalist’ – the August 2002 edition of which includes a review of the album ” this astonishingly professional album, one that has deservedly picked up a clutch of awards, is rich with humanity and hope, pain and patience as asylum seekers from around the globe come together to put the story of their lives to us in music”

It was used extensively by the United Nations in East Timor to encourage full participation in the emerging country’s first democratic elections. Newly-elected President Xanana Gusmao made contact with the Scattered People production team in appreciation.

The Scattered People album is a celebration of the diversity and the common ground accessible via music. The asylum seekers are able to share their message of struggle, hope and strength across the airwaves.
Perhaps in their music their voices will at last be heard.

The ‘Stand With Us’ remix music video has been broadcast nationally on Australian television. (see Video Page)

Short Song Samples

The second Scattered People CD, 'Normal Days', came seven years after the first.

The people are different and the countries from which they come are also different but the pain, the isolation, the displacement continues.

The heartbreak of leaving homelands and loved-ones and longing for safety and a 'real' home still fules the songs and the singing... new songs with new singers all still hoping for 'normal days'.

The Sweet Freedom team continue to bring what comfort they can to the refugee claimantswith social contact and singing at detention centres and through allowing them an avenue to express their experiences and feelings through songs.


copyright sweet freedom Ltd. 2015