Tse Tse Fly Middle East – These are our friends too Album release



Album that some of us have been involved in is being released next week!

Press release – for immediate release


  • arts / activism platform Tse Tse Fly Middle East and UK charity FORWARD team up for an album of spoken word and experimental music album on the issue of FGM
  • all-female line-up of experimental musicians and artists


Leading UK-based African diaspora women’s campaign and support organisation FORWARD – in partnership with arts and activism platform Tse Tse Fly Middle East – is set to release These Are Our Friends Too a unique album that highlights the work it does to eradicate FGM (female genital mutilation). The album is the brainchild of FORWARD’s Naomi Reid and founder of Tse Tse Fly Middle East Simon Coates, and continues FORWARD’s These Are Our Friends project, a collection of poetry from young people from London, Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham that responds to the themes of FGM and its attendant consequences. The first stage of the project resulted in a book of the same name that features more than thirty pieces of work, a short film made with Media Trust, and the new collaboration sees nineteen of the poems re-imagined.

Known for their live experimental music productions, interventions and artworks that are used to draw attention to human rights issues, Tse Tse Fly Middle East have hand-picked a selection of female artists and musicians, and each one has been given a spoken word recording of one of the poems read by members of the FORWARD team. The artists then composed and recorded a sonic background for their designated piece, with the resulting spoken word and experimental music compositions making up the new, nineteen-track set, These Are Our Friends Too. The album features contributions from some of the foremost female proponents of noise from Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Serbia, Bulgaria and Sweden, as well as UK-based collaborators. And the visceral, uncompromising and unsettling tracks that result reflect the disturbing nature of female genital mutilation.

These Are Our Friends Too will be released as a digital download on the Bandcamp platform – as well as being available to stream online – on September 20th 2019.

Everyone involved has given their time for free, with all proceeds from sales of the album going directly to FORWARD.



  1. I’m Only Human – composer: Negin Zomorodi (Iran) / writer: Ayan Ali / read by Kabung
  2. A Day In My Life – composer: Maryam Nazari (Iran) / writer: Muna Abdi-Hajj / read by: Kabung
    3.  She Said – composer: Ola Saad (Egypt) / writer: Riyaan Ali / read by: Cherrelle
    4.  The Arrangement – composer: Cathy Lane (UK) / writer: Rasha Farah / read by: Wangu
    5.  Hush Little Baby – composer: Nilufar Habibian (Iran) / writer: Anam Ali / read by: Wangu
    6.  Speak Out – composer: Parisa Shirvani (UK) / writer: Mariam Fall / read by: Nafisa
    7.  What A Woman Must Do – composer: Kumah (Serbia) / writer: Saria Khalifa / read by: Angela
    8.  So What – composer: Polly Petrova (Bulgaria) / writer: Anfal Ali / read by: Kabung
  3. Me, I Don’t Mind – composer: Maryam Nazari (Iran) / writer: Emmanuel Kabanza / read by: Imhotep


  1. Tsunami – composer: Kumah (Serbia) / writer: Nima Nuur / read by: Nafisa
  2. Keynote Speaker – composer: Nour Sokhon (Lebanon) / writer: Rashida Sanni / read by: Cherrelle
  3. Game Face – composer: Iida Aino (Sweden) / writer: Ikram Nur / read by: Cherrelle
  4. I Know Her – composer: Jacqueline George (Egypt) / writer: Kaltun Duale / read by: Cherrelle
  5. We, Us, Community – composer: Stephanie Merchak (Lebanon) / writer: Foosiya Ahmed / read by: Wangu
  6. Choices – composer: Nour Sokhon (Lebanon) / writer: Cherelle Salmon / read by: Cherrelle
  7. When the Sun Goes Down – composer: Rhéa Dally (Lebanon) / writer: Siham Ahmed / read by: Angela
  8. The Party Plan – composer: Jilliene Sellner feat. the Brain Dead Ensemble (UK) / writer: Fanta Kone / read by: Nafisa
  9. She Walks / That Sword – composer: Hüma Utku (Turkey) / writer: Rahman Duale / read by: Nafisa
  10. That Magnificent Colour – composer: Dr Mariam Rezaei / writer: Habon Duale / read by: Nafisa


FORWARD (Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development) is the leading African women-led organisation working on female genital mutilation, child marriage and other forms of violence against women and girls in the UK and Africa. For 33 years they have been committed to safeguarding the rights and dignity of African girls and women. They do this through community engagement, women’s empowerment, training of professionals, research, and international advocacy.


About Tse Tse Fly Middle East

Formed in the UAE in 2015 and now based in London, Tse Tse Fly Middle East is a non-profit organisation that produces live events, artwork and interventions to draw attention to human rights and freedom of speech issues.


Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons (WHO). It is also sometimes referred to as female genital cutting or female circumcision. There are no health benefits to FGM and it is recognised internationally as a human rights violation.

More information here: http://www.forwarduk.org.uk/key-issues/fgm

High res / low res photos (of artwork and artists) and logos available on request


Notes to Editors:
∙ FORWARD has been campaigning against FGM and other forms of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) affecting African women and girls for 27 years.
∙ FORWARD’s key areas of work are: female genital mutilation (FGM), child marriage and related rights abuses of girls and women.
∙ FORWARD works in the UK, Europe and Africa to help change practices and policies that affect access, dignity and wellbeing. http://www.forwarduk.org.uk Twitter: @FORWARDUK
∙ For media enquiries please contact: Naomi Reid – Naomi@forwarduk.org.uk 020 8960 4000 or Simon Coates – info@tsetseflymiddleeast.org



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