The rap music workshop within the European BRIDGES project promotes social cohesion and intercultural understanding through music

The proposal forms part of the cultural programme of the BRIDGES project currently underway in Tortosa.

  • The workshop was brought to a halt because of the Covid-19 pandemic but has restarted to finish recording the song the participants have written and to make a musical video clip.
  • Tortosa city council and the Unió de Consells Esportius de Catalunya (UCEC) are the Catalan representatives of this European initiative to promote social cohesion.

Tortosa, 29 June 2020 – Two of the foundations of the European BRIDGES project are to promote inclusive communities in Europe and to support local groups through solidarity. Voluntary work, culture and sport are the factors the project has been based on ever since it started in January. Unfortunately the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown interrupted the activities, some of which are now restarting under strict measures of health and safety.

One of the cultural activities the BRIDGES programme proposed to promote intercultural cohesion was a rap music workshop which has been very successful. When the lockdown was relaxed, the workshop started up again at the end of June to enable the participants to meet up again and finish the work they had started. This involved recording the song the participants have written together and filming a musical video clip on the streets of Tortosa.

Anti-racism was the key message the participants wanted to base their song on, a message they all have in common. On an individual level, many participants have explained that the experience of being able to express themselves has helped them to express feelings and sensations they would not have been able to get out otherwise. “We dedicated the first sessions to generating mutual support because all the participants have come to Tortosa under different circumstances and for different reasons. We decided it was essential we learned to express this before starting on the lyrics of the rap song,” explains Aidan, one of the workshop participants. During the lockdown period the group kept in touch with each other and continued practising and rehearsing the song via a WhatsApp group.

“I am a person, not an identity number,” says one of the lyrics of the song [still untitled as of the date of this press release]. “The song has a message for everyone, to demonstrate that whether a person is black or white, we are all the same and discrimination has no place in society,” says Aidan. Another of the participants, Imad, explains that writing this song has helped the anti-racism message to reach more people and make them aware that we are all equal and that we can all learn from each other.

The day before filming the video, the BRIDGES rappers recorded the song under the guidance of Joel, in charge of the workshop, who set up a makeshift recording studio in the Centre Cívic social centre in Tortosa so everyone could sing the lyrics they had been assigned. Both Aidan and Imad agree that participating in the workshop has helped them learn to listen to other people and to leave any prejudices aside. “If you write a song dealing with racism, you have to lead by example. The song offers a different outlook on society than the reality we face, and this can help us improve matters,” concludes Aidan.