Vent your rent, to music

Jul 28, 2016 12:52 PM

If, like me, you wish this generation had its own Joe Strummer or Woody Guthrie, writing protest songs about the social challenges of the day - i.e. bad housing* - well, you're in luck. A new choir of private renters in London, called Section 21, is being announced this Saturday at Royal Festival Hall in London. 

The choir is the brainchild of Sergio Lopez Figueroa, a composer and social entrepreneur who has been doing inventive things with music and the community, including a project called Humming in Harmony.

Saturday sees Sergio host a workshop at the Festival of Love on the South Bank, where he will present this new project with an initial meeting afterwards. His campaign "Public Renting" wants to make visible and audible a public health epidemic in London, connecting the lack of living standards in the private rented sector with mental health.

To do that the choir will be singing well-known songs but the lyrics will be replaced with real life stories collected by social media. (Personally I'd like to see them tackle Tina Turner's Private Dancer.) Sergio is looking for renters passionate about singing and with a story to tell. Auditions are in September.

For a flavour of what the choir is about, see the coverage in the Standard here, and a video.

If you can't make it on Saturday, more details are available here.


*To be fair, Teesside folk duo Megson is already flying the flag for generation rent, with a song called Generation Rent. If there are others, let us know in the comments.