Don’t Forget Me – Kurdish Music from a Refugee Camp

Don’t Forget Me – Kurdish Music from a Refugee Camp

Music is therapy and this is being recognised more and more these days.

If you are stuck on a remote pacific island in hellish conditions the outlet provided by music can really help you to stay positive and fulfil some of your dreams amid dank oppression.

A refugee who has been accomplishing much while indefinitely incarceration is Farhad Bandesh, a Kurd who escaped from Iran’s draconian Islamic regime only to have the lead boot of another crush him again.

His art, poetry and music has broken through the chain wire fences of Australia’s offshore detention regime and onto the walls and into the ears of Australians and anyone on the internet.

The environmental beauty surrounding the detention centre on Manus Island PNG was captured by Farhad as he recorded video to match with his vocals skillfully mastered into a powerful song by Brett Hamlyn.

The stark contrast between Manus’ environmental beauty and the pain and suffering inside the detention centres is heartbreaking.

This song is also about heartbreak.

Maybe the lover is Australia and the betrayal of a country which projects (or used to project)  an image of compassion but is now even more cold hearted than ever.

Interwoven with scenes of Manus are the rolling hills of Kurdistan, which Farhad left behind seeking safety and freedom in Australia.

A Kurdish flag is seen in the film clip a reminder of the defiance of the Kurdish people who continue to struggle despite the suffering they have endured, inflicted by so many.

Farhad wrote the song and through connections in Australia met Brett who made the backing track and produced the song.

Wendy Joy Ford penned and sang the English vocals. I came aboard to pull everything together into a music video.

All in all this song came together through emails, social media, mobile phones and snail mail.

 This song shows that music has no borders. We will keep up the struggle and one day our world won’t either.

They can’t stop us dreaming, they can’t stop us writing and they can’t stop us singing.

Farhad draped in a Kurdish flag, Red symbolises the blood of martyrs and continue struggle for freedom, green the beauty of Kurdistan and yellow the sun with 21 rays.


Song for Elijah


This song was released on December 8 2017 and is a dedication to Elijah Doughty from Kalgoorlie, WA.

Who is Elijah? Elijah was killed when a car struck the motorbike he was riding in August last year. The driver was going 67 km per hour when he hit Elijah who ‘rolled or tumbled’ under the vehicle.

The driver whose name has been suppressed – probably for his own safety – admitted to driving too closely to the boy but says he hit him because the motorbike veered in front of the car.

The chase began because the motorbike Elijah was riding was stolen from him the previous day. However, there is no evidence Elijah had stolen the bike.

Elijah died from multiple fatal injuries.

Racial tensions in Kalgoorlie erupted after the incident.

A day after the boy was killed a protest occurred outside the Kalgoorlie Courthouse.

Approximately 200 people, some armed with rocks and bottles, broke down the gates of the court and surrounded police; who used pepper spray and riot shields in response.

Twelve police officers were injured during the disorder, with one requiring stitches, while several demonstrators were arrested. Five police cars and a local business were damaged.

Local Indigenous broadcaster Debbie Carmody accused local anti-crime Facebook groups of “inciting violence and murder” against Indigenous youth.

The driver was charged with manslaughter and found not guilty in July. He was convicted of the lesser charge dangerous driving occasioning death.

“This song is a prayer for Elijah that his journey into the Dreaming is guided by the ancestors, and that our love will encompass his family through this time of mourning.” – Archie Roach.

Song for Elijah (Wrap Our Arms Around You) is a message from the Dreaming. It is a track dedicated to a young soul whose love of animals, footy and natural knack for bush mechanics is deeply missed in his community.

The mother of 14-year-old Aboriginal boy Elijah Doughty, whose death ignited protests across the country, has appealed for an end to racial divisions in Australia.

This appeal drew together respected Australian musicians from around the country into a collective project to support Elijah and his family.

“We as singer/songwriters have a voice and in times like this I think we need to use it and give hope to those who think that all hope is lost. The journey to create a ripple for change started with the call out, so many amazing people came on board and over a 6 week period Song for Elijah was conceived.” – Kutcha Edwards.

Musicians involved are – Kutcha Edwards, Archie Roach, Emma Donovan, Radical Son, Tjimba, Possum Burns, Ilana Atkinson, James Henry, David Bridie, and Brendan Gallagher.

Song for Elijah was mixed and mastered by Nao Anzai and Andy Robinson and recorded at Haus Bilas Studios, Melbourne, 2017.

All proceeds from the purchase of Song For Elijah (Wrap Our Arms Around You) will go towards supporting Elijah’s family.