Guest post by Jonetane, who is currently detained in Campsfield House, IRC outside Oxford, awaiting the outcome of his immigration case. Jonetane, who is originally from Fiji, is part of a group of musicians in the centre who are writing and recording songs. He has shared some of his music with the Immigration Detention Archive. This account of music making in detention which was written with some of his friends. Some earlier work by this group of musicians appeared in the December 2014 newsletter of Music in Detention which can be found here.

Campsfield Musicians (Photo: Music in Detention, December 2014 Newsletter)
We jam every night at Campsfield. Recently, we came up with our own three songs called "You done it all," "Hanging on a piece of thread," and "Ni mataka." The last song, is written and recorded in a Fijian language, and translates into English as "Green Pastures."

Every month a charity called Music in Detention (MID) comes to entertain the guys at the camp. So we contacted them as we knew they were coming on the 22nd Dec and asked them if they could do some recording with us. They were more than happy but the Campsfield authorities certainly were not. They gave every excuse in and also out of the book―quoting red tape, etc. Even after they had given their permission, they did not always let MID into see us. One day, a guy came all the way up from London to record, but there was no available officer. So he had to come back another time.

As you may be aware, detention could be a depressing place without music. For that I came up with a plan and used the resources available to make music in detention. Music is a like a pill it goes in and you wait for the effect to hit you. I started to write songs sometimes during stupid hours in the morning. I have not written songs before, so this is a new thing for me.

A group of us kept on emailing MID and eventually, their Director managed to get the green light. The songs were written in days. I had completely lost my voice during that period, and it was just about returning as we were making the recording. The sole purpose of these songs being composed is that some detainees here in Campsfield think they are forgotten.

There was so much background noise but still the recording turned out well. I write songs through experience and trials of life that I have come across. Detention Centres around the United Kingdom should open their doors to Lectures, and organisations who are willing to put in the time to help.

We did the recording in intervals and you can hear my sore voice and also some guys sometimes in the background talking. Other than that, it sounds like a professional studio recording. We owe a lot to the MID team who recorded the songs.

To all rock fans out there... stand by, there's rock songs in mind for the next recording.

Hope you all enjoy them,


Ni Mataka

[audio mp3=""][/audio]

Hanging on a Piece of Thread

[audio mp3=""][/audio]

You've done it all

[audio mp3=""][/audio]

Here you can find the lyrics.

Any thoughts about this post? Get in touch with us! Send us an email, or post a comment here or on Facebook. You can also tweet us.


How to cite this blog post (Harvard style):

Jonetane (2015) Making Music in Detention. Available at: