A musical collaboration stretching from south Acton in west London to Eastern Congo in Central Africa is raising money for charity.

Acton2Kivu: Dance for Freedom, is an 11-track album made by young people in Acton and the war-torn Kivu district in Eastern Congo. It is also an album touched with tragedy.

The CD is a melting pot of different musical genres including hip-hop, rap, traditional west African music, afrobeat and RnB. Lyrics are in English and Congolese and tells of the singers' experiences and hopes for the future.

The youths from Acton got involved in the project after attending Ealing Council's Bollo Brook Youth and Community Centre.

Youth workers at the Bollo Bridge Road centre in south Acton made contact with a charity in Kivu called Congo in the Picture which works with young people living with the daily threat of war and violence.

Acton 2 Kivu performers outside Bollo Brook Youth Centre: L-R back row, Colin Brent, Reuben Griffiths; front row, Antoine Luta (Sir Loui), Strelly Lunda (Lil Strellz) and Clinton Adujunior
 

Money raised from sale of the CD, which cost £7, will go to Congo in the Picture charity.
The performers did not meet each other but sent tracks back and forth digitally until they were all happy with the finished articles.

However, during the final stages of the album's production, one of the Congolese performers lost his life in the battle-strife area when he was killed in a raid on his village.

Bollo Brook Youth Centre manager Colin Brent said: “We've always known how talented our young people are and we've done what we can to encourage their creativity. Bollo Brook has its own recording studio and locals pop in to the centre to use facilities to make their own music.”

Joyce John-Longhor, one of the Acton-based artists, said: “Working on the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) project has been a phenomenal experience. It has enabled me to learn more about the lives of young people in another part of the world, whilst also helping me improve my lyric writing and music skills.”

Congo in the Picture project manager Kashindi Pierre said: “For the Congo, this project is very important because it embodies the goals we have set, those of advocating for peace through many activities, including music.

“For young Kivu this project gives them an overview of how professional music is made... the music is one way that can create work among youth because many of them join armed groups by the lack of employment.”

Ealing Council cabinet member for children and young people Binda Rai praised the efforts of all involved and added: “My heart goes out to the family of the young man who died during the project.”

Acton2Kivu: Dance for Freedom can be bought from Bollo Brook Youth Centre or from www.bandcamp.com ( http://acton2kivu.bandcamp.com/releases )