With most of the schools here closed for the mid-term break, we have a bit of space and time to do something a little different. Of course, being around for so long, and having worked in practically every community in Dublin, even new experiences often re-connect us with people we’ve met along the way.
This week, we started what will hopefully a long relationship with Dolphin House Homework Club, which is part of a community development in one of the most disadvantaged localities in Ireland. We tested the waters with three sessions between Dolphin House itself, and Fatima, all of which went very well. Some of the children we worked with are from schools in the local area, and we have worked with them before. This made life easier, and it was nice to connect with some of these children outside of their school environment. We briefly discussed returning to the area soon, to do a more involved project, which would be right up our street.
Being back in Fatima reminded me of one of my first forays into Community Music, when I brought a certain Mr. Damien Dempsey in to work with a rock band who rehearsed in the ground floor of the flats. They were really good musicians, great guys, but a little unsure of where to go next. Damien was fantastic with them, and we facilitated them to record an excellent demo of their own music, which I still have somewhere.
While the physical environment has changed, the community hasn’t, but as well as the multiple disadvantages they face, there is still a real interest in music making and a lot of inherent talent to go with it.
Today, we also moved some equipment into a small storage area provided for us by St. Catherine’s Sports Centre on Marrowbone Lane. This is where the Masamba Youth Project currently rehearses, and while the workshop space is great, the building is poorly laid out for anyone who needs to bring in a lot of equipment. Breda and her team came to the rescue and found us a small space, which not only means that we can concentrate more on making music, and less on moving gear, but also that we will be able to have a larger range of instruments available, which allows for us to work on a wider range of musical styles and technical skills. It may be only a corner, to some people, but to us, it is a real benefit.
We also located an abandoned “Comments Box’ on site, that we are going to refurbish and use for getting feedback from some of our client groups. As this will mainly be used with children, we’d like to brighten it up a bit, and make giving the feedback a little bit of a ‘ceremony’.
Tomorrow, we are changing gears a little and providing a workshop for the BEd3 students at DCU St. Patrick’s College in Drumcondra. This is the primary teacher-training college in the country, and we have a long history of delivering workshops and performances on campus. We are hoping that this workshop will give the students the confidence to try some percussion when they start teaching in the classroom, but wither way, tomorrow will be a lot of Craic!
Our work in the community is supported by funding from the Community Services Programme, an initiative of the Department of Rural and Community Development and administered by Pobal.