Hussein is a young Oud player from Iraq. Amèle is a French violinist. They met through the project Homelands and with their partners they have led a group of young people from the area and children from Ecole 6 and created an audio-visual and music show on the theme Homelands.
As a member of the musical project in Molenbeek, I had the pleasure to work with Hussein Rassim, Améle Metlini, Corina Fanizza and the children at Ecole 6, Jovic Mafuta and the youngsters from Foyer Les Jeunes, and Marie-Caroline Lefin at Maison des Cultures.
The final show at Maison des Cultures was the result of a process which started with a series of “jam sessions” with the two groups of young locals, on separate days and on different locations in Molenbeek. These initial sessions served as a rather informal way of getting to know each other, musically as well as personally. At a certain moment, Hussein and Amèle explained the concept of the Homelands project to the children at Ecole 6, and a rough sketch – based on the ideas and input from the children – for a storyline emerged. Amèle, Hussein and I then sat down at Hussein’s place, and spent an extended afternoon tying everything together to a coherent story. Additional dialogues and content were later added by the children. It was then presented to the youngsters at Foyer, who added a song, a dance act, a rap and a video production they had made themselves. Finally, the two groups were brought together, and the different roles for the participants were assigned.
We had a general rehearsal, made some minor adjustments, and finally delivered an audiovisual and musical performance at Maison des Cultures Saturday March 30th.
The process could be described as follows; improvising and “playing” together; presenting the general concept to the children; having the content provided by and the general storyline steered by the children; musicians structuring the whole. It proved to be both challenging and fruitful. The combination of children, brainstorming, professional artists and improvisation may seem a bit chaotic at times. This time, however, it resulted in many unexpectedly touching/poetic moments – and a coherent show.
Arve Hj. Holmen (Le Foyer)
This project at the Maison des Cultures et de la Cohésion Sociale de Molenbeek-St-Jean was the result of a meeting between Hussein Rassim, a young oud player from Irak, and Amèle Metlini, a young Belgian violinist from the Brussels Conservatory. Amèle also works with Chamber Music for Europe, which is managed by Guy and Catherine Danel – both precious collaborators with the House. Hussein and Amèle meet regularly to think about their project and bring together their musical styles. Between January and the end of March they have worked together every week with a dozen children aged between 6 and 12 from the Ecole 6 in Molenbeek, and with a group of young people from “Foyer” in Molenbeek (Foyer gives workshops in music and cinema, organized by Jovic and Arve.)
The artistic aim: a theatre and musical production for violin, oud, voice and video installation. Every participant had a precise role and was essential in the creative process leading up to performance, and everyone kept in mind the theme: “my house, what makes me feel at home.” Around 20 working sessions took place between December 2018 and the end of March 2019, at Ecole 6 on Wednesday afternoons and at Foyer on Friday evenings. This cultural and social adventure finished with a public performance at the Molenbeek House of Culture on March 30, 2019. The children sang and recited the story that they had created: the story of Myriam, who left her country for the United States of America because she wanted to learn to play the violin…
Maison des Cultures et de la Cohésion Sociale de Molenbeek