Singing in the community at the Jagonari Centre


Throughout the summer, we have delivered creative sessions at  Jagonari, the Women’s Educational Resource Centre, on Whitechapel Road to two very different groups of people.

Over ten weeks, soprano and early years specialist Penny Desbruslaid and percussionist Jim Cartwright worked with young children between the ages of 0 to 3 at Jagonari Playhouse. The aim of the project was to ease the transition between nursery and school, so we provided similar music sessions in three feeder schools (Kobi Nazrul, Osmani and Thomas Buxton) in the hope that upon starting school, the children would find comfort in discovering musical similarities in their new environments.

“The sessions have enabled the children to build confidence and sing with each other as they wish”, Jasmin Nessa, Nursery Manager at the Jagonari Centre.

Have a listen to Perfect Day, one of the songs that was taught both at the Jagonari Centre and feeder schools. It’s a song which changes every time it’s performed as the workshop leader can ask the children what they would do on their ‘perfect day’.

Here are the lyrics that were sung at the centre:

My Perfect Day

Chorus – Come and play it’s your perfect day (chorus x4)

How shall we start our perfect day? (x 4)
Put the tooth  paste on the tooth brush
shhh shhh shhh shhe, shsh shhsh (x4)


What shall we eat on our perfect day? (x4)
Broccoli soups with rice crispies in it
yum yum yum yumyumyum yum yum (x4)


What shall we wear on our perfect day ? (x4)
A dinasour costume and a smart suit
I’d like to wear my princess dress (x4)


Where shall we go on our perfect day? (x4)
Go to a wedding and a party,
funfair beach , football with my dad (x4)


How shall we get home on our perfect day? (x4)
Time to go home in dada’s car
brrrm brmm brmm brm brm brm brmmm brmmm (x4)

The second part of the project at the Jagonari Centre was Women Ahead. For seven weeks vocal animateur Laka D and our former Learning and Participation intern Zoë Carrasik Whitfield delivered a series of singing workshops to women who have encountered the criminal justice system or are at risk of offending including substance abuse and those with mental health issues.  This arm of the project offered a safe environment for women in the community to develop confidence through music and benefit from group singing as a cathartic release.

The project culminated in two separate informal sharings where the groups got to perform in a non-intimidating environment and express the skills that they’d developed over the course of the sessions.

The Jagonari Centre was founded by a group of Bangladeshi women in 1987 and has since continued to reinvent itself to support the local women. The name ‘Jagonari’ was taken from a Bengali poem ‘Rise up women’ written by Nazrul Islam which continues to embody the ethos of its work.

The Jagonari project is part of our far-reaching Learning and Participation programme which engages people from 2 days old to 90+, many of which have not had regular access to the arts.


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