Bethany Elen playing (Erraid, 2014), protesting (Newcastle, 2015) performing (#ExpressYourself at the V&A, London,
Photo credits: Davy Ellis, Joe Haydon @ VisionMadeReality.com
I AM AN INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY MUSICIAN, experienced community arts practitioner, project coordinator, educator and committed political activist, working within communities and alongside trade unions campaigning on regional, national and global issues; disability rights, women’s rights, young people’s rights and calling for more creative approaches to political campaigning.
Through my work I try to advocate and demonstrate the use of the arts as a tool to create positive and sustainable personal, social and political
I am a traditional folk singer and am deeply passionate about the culture, musical heritage and sociopolitical history of the North East region.
I specialise in singing songs of social justice, protest and freedom, socialist songs and music of the labour movement - both British, American and from elsewhere around the world. I love all kinds of music; from traditional folk and blues to jazz, soul, reggae and contemporary electronic music - I have a wide ranging and eclectic musical taste and this is demonstrated through my songwriting and performance work.
I advocate the use of traditional and historical culture as a tool for education, engagement and expression. I am also write, compose and arrange music for solo voice, groups and choirs.
Over the past few years I have been busy working on a range of freelance arts and education projects, recently developing the Journey to Justice pilot project 'Footsteps to Freedom' in the North East. As regional coordinator I was involved in devising and delivering the pilot programme; an extensive month-long offering of cultural and arts events exploring human rights and social justice issues and campaigns, it included: art exhibitions, music performances, film screenings, heritage walks, lectures and talks, educational and volunteering training courses exploring world political history and human rights issues. This also included a schools project, 'sing for Social Justice' (more can be found here).
I also lead a range of choirs - see here for more information!
As an independent freelance artist my work is diverse and exciting - so please check the journal and project pages of my website for regular updates and for my 'musings of a community musician' blogs!
I hope to see, hear, laugh, smile and sing with you soon,
With love, peace and in solidarity - forever!
Bethany Elen x