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Communicating Through Music

The I.COM Project provides a launching pad for young adults to express their emotions through rap music

The I.COM Project, a project co-financed by Erasmus + and the European Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, aims to engage music as a form of expression for young adults across Europe, with a pilot project carried out in 8 European Countries, including Malta. Festivals Malta, in collaboration with Prisms, Electronic Music Malta, as well as David Leguesse created a total of three music videos, all composed and authored by young adults on themes that strike close to the heart of these protagonists.

Young people during ICOM workshop with the mentors
Photo by Victor Abela

Speaking on behalf of Prisms Malta, a voluntary NGO specialising in the inclusion of young people, Margaret White, a youth worker, and psychologist, described the I.COM Project as “a rollercoaster ride, filled with intense emotions and beautiful connections. When I was approached about this project, I knew it would be a beautiful challenge and I agreed to it right away." A very notable aspect from the I.COM Project showcasing the immense power of music is that despite the lack of musical knowledge, the young participants in the project not only managed to play an instrument or sing but also actively contributed to the composition and lyrics of the songs whilst also participated the music videos.

The project, which culminated in the shooting and recording of three music videos consisted of workshops and teambuilding activities for these youths aged 12 to 18. Such activities provided an ideal environment that made them feel safe enough to share ideas, experiences, and life challenges with the support of the mentors. Aidan Somers noted a ‘total transformation’ in the behaviour of the children, who transitioned from the shy and withdrawn individuals to creative artists by the time the workshops were completed. Similarly, David Leguesse described the final outcome as ‘amazing’, showcasing the immense power that lies in channelling life challenges into a creative medium such as music.

Young People during piano practice with David Leguesse
Photo by Victor Abela

Entitled ‘Għajjejt’, one of the songs discusses the same endless drill of life accompanied with a message of hope, a message of assertation of confidence in oneself, and a call for others to join in finding joy in life. The chorus of Għajjejt is designed to reflect the constant repetition in life and in itself, the song is also very evocative as it extends an invitation to all to find joy in their daily lives. "My favourite part of the experience was seeing these young people slowly moving to the spotlight. Most of them did not think they could sing or rap, and they stayed in the background for hours observing the others and trying to sing under their breath until they saw David sing and found the courage to give it a shot," said Margaret White.

A shot of the Young People singing in the music video"Għajjejt"
Photo by Victor Abela

The song ‘I Love My Friends’ contains a very powerful message which tackles the theme of social anxiety through appreciation towards the very few friends that stick by our side, even when we are “a different person, that nobody wants to be.”

The third song, a more upbeat anthem of love and courage, is entitled ‘L-Imħabba’ and focuses on delivering a positive message of the uniting power of love. Leguesse told us that his favourite moment is definitely "hearing L-Imħabba for the first time. I was and still am amazed at how quickly they all picked up on their instrument. Be it the piano, drums, pen or Microphone. Too many to list. But seeing 2 girls, who started off hating each other, and left here laughing together for the first time was amazing."

View the music videos on the YouTube Channel of Festivals Malta HERE


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