Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Wednesday 19 January 2022

Plight Of Refugees Addressed In Powerful New Song & Video By Brighton-Based Musician Oli Spleen

Musician Oli Spleen is set to release Refugee, the third single from his forthcoming album, Still Life. 
Credit Oli Spleen

Oli says of the single:

"The song is one of my first attempts at a protest song. It highlights the plight of refugees who are drowning in our seas. Twenty seven people drowned off our shores last November in the worst tragedy of its kind.

"The song puts the listener and their loved ones adrift at sea, fearing drowning. It also contains a midsection sung in Russian by the fantastic Polina Shepherd. 

"It is a critique on the xenophobia which certain papers whip up and an attempt to hold governments and politicians accountable for contributing to the refugee crisis in the first place. 

"It is also a plea of empathy for the plight of others."

Oli has been working closely with refugee charities, particularly Hasting's Refugee Buddy Project of which Alex Kempton, their Operations and Campaign Manager, helped with the subject matter for the single's music video

Alex Kempton added: 

"The current refugee crisis is, in fact, a global humanitarian crisis. Despite the framing by the UK media, the numbers of people seeking refuge in the UK is actually down on previous years – in the year ending September 2021, the UK received fewer applications than it did in pre-pandemic 2019. 

"What has changed is that the routes being taken by people seeking refuge have shifted toward small boats crossing the Channel, making them far more visible to the public. 

"The increase in Channel crossings is a direct result of insufficient safe routes for people to seek refuge. 

"There is no way to claim asylum in the UK from outside the UK; you cannot simply walk into an Embassy or Consulate and claim asylum, you have to be in the UK. 

"Were the UK Government to open effective safe routes, for example to open the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme promised in September 2020, then people would not make the dangerous journey across the busiest shipping lane in the World. 

"To quote Warsan Shire "no one would put their children in a boat unless the sea is safer than the land."

The track, which features musicians Merlin, Polina Shepherd and Tristram Arnold, was recorded at Nest Studios, in Brighton. 

Refugee is a free download on Bandcamp prior to its release next month. CLICK HERE to listen to the single and for links to local refugee charities. Oli Spleen's forthcoming album, Still Life, will be launched at Brighton's Hope and Ruin on Friday 4th March 2022.

by: Mike Cobley


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