Jack Drum Arts, a community arts organisation based in Crook, South West Durham, were offered the opportunity to play at the European Parliament on the 14th July 2015 during their trip to Brussels, sponsored by the Labour MEPs office.
The band which is called ‘Runaway Samba’ have been preparing for the gig at the European Parliament through some intense training with Moises Lama, a famed Brazilian samba musician who taught the group some new complex rhythms which the group executed perfectly on the day of the event.
‘Runaway Samba’ is just one aspect of a creative community of artists and performers who operate under the broad title of Jack Drum Arts. The organisation is funded through a range of grants including the National Youth Music Foundation, Big Lottery and Durham County Council’s Adult and Community Learning, with a mandate to encourage creativity and community integration. The team works with citizens and professionals across the North East to inspire and enable new audiences to consider how creativity might work for them – whether as a career or as an enriching leisure and learning activity.
At the heart of the organisation are professional artists with a drive to share their passion and demonstrate how creativity can improve people’s lives. They believe that creativity works on lots of different levels, and aim to offer people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to discover new things about themselves and their place in the world.
One of the two Labour MEPs for the North East, Jude Kirton-Darling, has said of the group’s performance “it is a pleasure to see a community organisation from the North East performing and doing what they love at the heart of European politics. I sincerely hope this demonstrates the importance people in our area assign to culture and the arts, even during this period of government-imposed austerity.”
It is hoped by the band that their performance at the European Parliament will help to raise awareness about their activities, and encourage involvement by artists and the wider community, as well as draw more attention to the important role culture and the arts have to play in the lives of people not just in the North East, but across the European Union.
Helen Ward, director of Jack Drum Arts said “We are very grateful to Jude and Paul for giving our young people the opportunity to travel to Brussels to see what happens in Parliament and how decisions made there affect us back here in the North East. It was incredibly exciting for all the young people and I am sure they will remember the trip for the rest of their lives, especially the bit where they got to play drums to a group of politicians.”