Professional musicians and producers support aspiring young disabled people in some of the world’s poorest countries

Young people with disabilities from some of the world’s poorest countries will soon have the opportunity to create and produce their own music thanks to support from some of the UK’s top music producers.

The internationally renowned team, led by Music Patron Robin Millar CBE, will train young people from Zambia, Liberia, Kenya and Sierra Leone to operate and create music on high-spec professional portable laptop-based recording systems using ProTools software. Ongoing mentoring via the internet will ensure that the young musicians continue to get the most out of the equipment, which will be left in place for them after the week-long training session.

This exciting initiative is part of the Young Voices project, a campaigning programme supported by the European Union in 22 countries in Africa, Asia and theAmericas. Young Voices members aged 16–24 lobby their governments to sign, ratify and implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the world’s newest commitment to full human rights for all.

The music training follows the project’s first phase, in which young disabled people learned to make short films based on their own experiences to campaign for their rights. These films have been shown extensively around the world, including at key UN meetings and to governments and employers in their own countries. The films are also showcased on the Young Voices’ website, and on YouTube.

The Young Voices members’ opportunities to express themselves and raise awareness will be extended through this music project, where they will gain the tools and skills they need for music making. It will also provide a possible route to a career in music. After the training, the music will also be played on local radio and distributed locally on CD and digitally so that it can be used in the Young Voices campaigns with the EU’s support.

Thanks to a partnership with Believe Digital’s Zimbalam label, the best music that is created during the training will be made available globally via iTunes and Amazon. The principle of being paid for your music making will be established for the Young Voices members, often for the first time.

Robin says: “The first trip starts this December. I’m thrilled that Adele’s programmer/engineer Ian Dowling and London College of Music master’s degree student Miguel de Campos have volunteered to come out with me to do the training.

Adele’s producer, Jim Abbiss, has also lent his name and weight to the project. We are both encouraging members of the Believe family of music makers to come forward and volunteer to get involved in this work. Maybe you can do a great mix or remix? Maybe you can collaborate online on performing? Maybe you are a great qualified Pro Tools operator and you feel a pull to go out and teach in Africa? Whatever you feel I’d love to know about it. Get in touch via my website.”