Strand Arts Centre and Beyond Skin present “You must like me (to dust return)”

This week Strand Arts Centre and Beyond Skin are showcasing an original piece of work co-created online across multiple countries, cultures and locations.

“You must like me (to dust return)” is a song written and performed by Kieron Black featuring musicians in Belfast, Choma in Zambia and Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka.

Funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, this music project has been led and developed by Kieron Black and Ziyi Zheng – a musician from Boading City, China studying an MA in Arts Management at Queen’s University and also on placement with Beyond Skin. The music collaboration idea developed out of a Year of the Ox Chinese Culture PeaceIV project where Kieron and Ziyi met. The other musicians involved are connected through Beyond Skin’s intercultural and international programmes.

Songwriter Kieron Black said:

“It was such an international collaboration, just a statement of us all being humans together here. It doesn’t matter if you’re an opera singer or banging on bongos or an ageing punk rocker from Belfast like me, look what we did, all of us together. And in this current climate of shutting down and closing off, it was nice to stand up and be counted as part of something that was opening up and being inclusive and a positive force.”

Beyond Skin founder and CEO Darren Ferguson said:

“The process of producing started with Kieron recording a demo of the song and a friend scoring it. Through whatsapp the song was sent to Beyond Skin partners including Gustav Mahler Orchestra of Colombo and OpenNet 40 Zambia who identified the musicians that would be involved.

“The next stage involved musicians sending videos and recordings of them playing and improvising over the song. After recording some visuals at the Strand Arts Centre, Kieron and Ziyi went into Start Together Studios. The music production process was a new experience for Ziyi who admittedly was very nervous about singing on the song. It was in the studio at the end of the session that she really let go with her voice – and what a voice!”

The final version has both Kieron’s voice in English with additional vocals from Nchimunya Philipa Mweemba in Zambia and Ziyi singing a verse translated into Cantonese Chinese and on the chorus with Kieron in English. Niall Dornan at Start Together edited the music video and Chris Heath at 3FortyFive films produced the documentary.

“You must like me (to dust return)” is now available to view on Strand Arts Centre and Beyond Skin social media and You Tube channels.

Strand Arts Centre
1 Strand Studios
152-154 Holywood Road

Phone (028) 9065 5830

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New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.