There are more than 60 million forcibly displaced people worldwide and more than 20 million refugees fleeing war and persecution, according to a United Nations report issued in December 2015. Nearly 4,000 migrants and refugees perished while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea in 2015. The crisis has continued to deepen in 2016.
In an effort to raise awareness of this tragic situation, the Berklee Mediterranean Music Institute (MMI) and the El País newspaper launched a music-focused, multidisciplinary project under the leadership of Javier Limón, MMI's artistic director.
Limón wrote dozens of songs for Refugio del Sonido (Refuge of Sound) and brought together an international group of Berklee students and recent alumni—many of them from war-torn countries—to record the music during a series of marathon recording sessions in Boston. The music will be released on four discs, each one accompanied by a booklet featuring the work of artists, journalists, photographers, and others.
"In this project, some of the most important intellectual voices of our time launch a dialogue to expand our vision of the tragedies of the Mediterranean refugees and others around the world, and these voices are coming together with musicians from many countries in an artistic plea that claims this problem as our own," says Limón.
The first of four CD/book packages was released May 22, 2016, and features a disc of 13 songs and a 56-page book. Subsequent discs were released on May 29, June 5, and June 12, and sell for 2.95 euros, with all proceeds benefitting Doctors Without Borders.
In May 2016, Limón recently sat down in the BIRN studios to talk about the MMI and Refugio del Sonido. "We couldn't have a Mediterranean Music Institute without taking a look to the refugee crisis. This is probably the most important problem that has happened in Europe in the last 50 or 60 years," he said. Listen to the podcast here: