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Music from the New Jungle

“We don’t want to be here. No one wants to leave their own nation, to be far away from their home country, to be away from their mum and dad. But leaving was our only choice.”


Despite the Jungle camp being bulldozed in October 2016, thousands still remain behind and migrant uncertainty continues in northern France today.

Known as the ‘Jungle’, the refugee camp next to Calais has a troubled history and dates back over fifteen years. Having risked the journey to Calais in the hope of finding asylum in the UK, thousands waited in a holding centre in a deserted warehouse run by the French Red Cross. The centre rapidly became overcrowded and, with people living in increasingly squalid conditions, it was closed in 2002.

During the next decade, numerous small unofficial camps sprung up all around the Calais region, despite the best efforts of the French authorities to bulldoze them. The desperate, derelict conditions are revealed in the documentary Voices from the New Jungle’. These people now face a new kind of war in Calais as the town wrestles with the influx of migrants seeking refuge in what was, until recently, a popular tourist town.

Despite the terrible situation, the human spirit occasionally prevails, as shown by ‘The Calais Sessions’, a benefit album recorded in the camp. Bringing storytelling, music and art in times of confusion, desperation and oppression can often feel strange, but there are so many moments where it feels like it creates an island of normality, respect and humanity.


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