Kurdish singer-songwriter Farhad Bandesh has shared a new single, titled ‘Friendship’, in collaboration with Melbourne artist Laura Jean.
Bandesh, a detained refugee from Ilam, Iran (Kurdistan), emailed Jean regarding the collaboration while he was detained on Manus Island. He then recorded the song from inside the Melbourne Immigrant Transfer Accommodation (MITA) in Broadmeadows – a site known for reports of physical and mental abuse towards refugees. Both the visuals and vocals from the song were recorded on his phone from inside the facility.
The lyrics in ‘Friendship’ were from Bandesh’s friend, Melita Luck, an author from northern New South Wales. Luck kept in contact with him every day for five years and encouraged him to write poetry.
‘Friendship’ also premiered with an accompanying music video, featuring Bandesh, Jean and Luck in their daily environments. Watch it below:
“This is not a political song, it’s about the friendship between someone who is a refugee and someone they have never been able to meet,” said Bandesh in a statement.
“We can be together in creating, both of us a part of the art community. We are all humans and we all care about each other… in collaboration between artists and musicians, there are no borders.”
Bandesh has now been imprisoned in different sites for more than seven years. After spending six years on Manus Island, he was transferred to the Mantra Hotel in Bell City, Preston, for medical reasons in 2019.
In April this year, he submitted a video question to Q+A regarding the dangers of COVID-19 to refugees in overcrowded rooms with no fresh air. According to a press release, Bandesh was “unofficially punished” within a few days – authorities took away his music and art equipment and forcibly transferred him to MITA in order to “interrupt his activism”.
Last Monday, Kurdish refugee Farhad Bandesh asked a question on Q+A about the possible spread of COVID-19 at a Melbourne hotel where he’d been held for nine months. Last night, Farhad was removed from the hotel and taken to Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation. Here’s an interview he did earlier with Hamish Macdonald.
Posted by Q+A on Thursday, April 23, 2020
“First you are surveyed closely, then arrested, then they put you in prison and are in danger of being killed,” Bandesh said.
Bandesh had previously released another single in 2018, titled ‘Far from home’. The song, sung in a traditional Kurdish style, was released on Bandcamp and involves “being far from home and surrounded by no one”.