© Common and Kind 2018
Honorary Patron: Joyce DiDonato
Associate Institution: Morley College
Common and Kind was founded in June 2016.
The story begins in London on the morning of the 24th of June. Motivated by the divisive impact of events and rhetoric in the UK and concurrent developments across the world, singer and community leader Michael Solomon Williams posted on social media, calling upon people to respond positiviely and collaboratively to division.
The response was phenomenal. Thousands of musicians, 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. In an age of division, music could unite like nothing else.
To channel the offerings of so many, Michael wrote the song Human Kind. It was conceived to be adaptable for a wide range of musical genres and abilities and designed so that it could be recorded anywhere in the world, creating an international music video to bring people together from all countries, communities and cultures.
Human Kind was recorded at the end of an incredible collaborative concert at the Union Chapel just a month later.
With a huge line-up of solo artists, massed choral and orchestral forces, it was a truly extraordinary evening of
music spanning styles and crossing borders, all organised in a matter of weeks.
Artists included leading 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 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 and author George Monbiot premiered his collaboration with folk singer Ewan McLennan.
The concert was hosted by legendary journalist and broadcaster Robin Lustig,
former anchor of BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight.
Since the concert, choirs and soloists from across the world sent in recordings. 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, and groups from Vietnam, Northern Ireland, Scotland, India, Malaysia, the UK and USA. The single also features soloists Cassidy Janson, Sarah Connolly, Jonathan Hoard, Saida Tani and nine members of Snarky Puppy.
Common and Kind returned to the Union Chapel on the 25th of July 2017.
In 2017 we launched a series of partnership workshops between diverse groups from across London.
The partnerships combined in a vast performance, featuring leading artists from across the musical spectrum.
We returned to the Union Chapel in 2018 for another extraordinary concert. This year the massed choir of four hundred included school partnerships for the first time, bringing children from a range of backgrounds together from across London, along with adult choir & refugee partnerships and a sensational line-up of solo artists.
Featured artists in 2018 were New York soul sensation J. Hoard, UK hip-hop legend Ty, singer-songwriter and the UK’s 2018 Eurovision entry SuRie, percussion virtuoso Bernhard Schimpelsberger with pianist Chris Gall, ENO Harewood Artist soprano Nadine Benjamin with the Beethoven Orchestra for Humanity, Bengali pop star Saida Tani and author, columnist and activist George Monbiot with folk singer Ewan McLennan.