Common & Kind 

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© Common and Kind 2016


Honorary Patron: Joyce DiDonato

Associate Institution: Morley College


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Common and Kind was founded in June 2016 in response to societal and political developments which have highlighted one of the greatest challenges facing society: the successful integration of communities and cultures in a period of exceptional political upheaval, vast population displacement and racial tensions. In the UK, the referendum on membership of the European Union has exacerbated existing divisions within and between communities. Meanwhile, there are parallel developments in the United States, Europe and across the world.


On the morning of the 24th of June, motivated by the divisive impact of the EU referendum, one galvanising social media post called upon people to respond to division by demonstrating the power of music to bring communities together in positive collaboration. The response was phenomenal. Thousands of people, from pop and classical singers, musical theatre, folk and opera stars to chamber choirs and community choirs came forward, as well as orchestral players, concert soloists, jazz musicians and many more across the world.


To channel the offerings of so many people, our founder wrote the song Human Kind. Featuring quotations from John Donne (‘No man’s an island’) and Jo Cox (‘More in common’), the song was conceived to be adaptable for a wide range of musical genres and abilities. It was also designed so that it could be recorded across the world, creating an international music video bringing people together from all communities, cultures, nations and musical genres. This process is now complete.


Human Kind was recorded at the end of a collaborative concert held at the Union Chapel in London on Tuesday 2nd August 2016. With a huge line-up of solo artists, massed choral and orchestral forces, it was a truly extraordinary evening of music spanning genres and crossing borders. Artists included international stars from a huge variety of backgrounds: Cassidy Janson, star of Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, mezzo soprano Sarah Connolly, guitarist Mark Lettieri of multiple Grammy winners Snarky Puppy, pop chart-topper singer Sarah Jane Morris and Bengali folk star Saida Tani. The conductor was James Burton with the orchestra led by Britten Sinfonia principal Thomas Gould. Journalist, author and environmentalist George Monbiot premiered his collaboration with folk singer Ewan McClennan. The concert was hosted by legendary journalist and broadcaster Robin Lustig, former anchor of BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight and an expert in international diplomacy with a deep belief in the unique power of music to transform lives.


Since the concert, choirs and soloists from across the world have sent in their recording. They include Pihcintu, a choir combining refugees from Cambodia, China, Congo, El Salvador, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Vietnam, West Indies, and Zambia, choirs from Vietnam, Northern Ireland, Scotland, India, Malaysia, the UK and USA. The video single will also feature guest soloists Sarah Connolly, Jonathan Hoard, Saida Tani and nine members of Snarky Puppy.  Human Kind will be released worldwide in Spring 2017, with all proceeds of online sales being donated to Musicians without Borders, Music Action International and Amnesty International.


We are now establishing our model for this year and beyond. Partnership workshops between diverse groups are linked with large scale collaborative performance. Thus, we aim to actively foster cohesion between communities and cultures across the country and the world.