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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA

The local meets the global on Earth Day 2024 at Rochdale Central Library.

Preview by Steve Cooke


Force of Nature is a free, family-friendly live music and spoken word performance developed by Community Arts North West (CAN) as part of Rochdale’s celebrations of Earth Day 2024.


Rochdale’s Earth Day 2024 events have been developed through a partnership with Rochdale Libraries, CAN, Rochdale Borough Council, Your Trust, and Touchstones. The event takes place at Number 1, Riverside on Saturday 20 April, between 12 pm and 3pm. 


Force of Nature is led by The Song Warriors: Sarah Yaseen, Emmanuela Yogolelo, and Meduulla, accompanied by a six-strong band. The performance features African Agwaya, hip-hop, and spoken word.


The performance connects the global to the local in a conversation about climate change and inequality. Climate change that is disproportionately affecting countries in the developing world, including Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.


Performers appearing in Force of Nature have appeared individually at leading venues and festivals, including RNCM, Band On The Wall, the world music festival, WOMAD, the Women of the World Festival, Manchester Jazz Festival, and the Leeds and Reading Music festivals.  Hip-hop artist Meduulla was a finalist in BBC’s The Rap Game UK and had her music picked as Track of the Week on BBC 1Xtra Radio.


The Force of Nature performance also features Rochdale Women’s Welfare Association members who will share their reflections on environmental sustainability in Pakistan.


The group have been working with poet and spoken word artist Sarah Yaseen.


Sarah Yaseen worked with the Rochdale Women’s Welfare Association for over a month to run writing and memory workshops about the changes to the environment in Pakistan. With many women having family roots in Pakistan, the group knows how the climate emergency seriously impacts the country.


Pakistan experienced unprecedented floods in 2022. More than 33 million people were directly affected, with a staggering 20.6 million requiring urgent humanitarian assistance. The consequences were dire – nearly eight million people were displaced and at least two million houses destroyed. 


As part of the workshops, Sarah has shared how Pakistan is now leading the way in taking positive steps to address climate change, such as through the Ten Billion Trees Tsunami programme.


Sarah Yaseen, artist and workshop leader, says:

“It’s important that women’s voices are heard in raising awareness of the climate emergency and highlighting how countries like Pakistan are suffering the impacts of climate change to a far greater degree than countries in the West, despite the West producing far more carbon emissions.”


“In places like Pakistan, climate change is causing extreme weather, including record temperature, storms, flooding, and droughts. It’s causing food shortages, worsening poverty, and forcing people to leave their homes.”


“And, nearer to home, climate change inequality will impact the UK’s poorer communities through rising food prices.”


“Now is the time to raise awareness about climate justice, and what better way than through art, music and poetry?


"It’s brilliant to be performing Force of Nature in Rochdale Library taking the climate change message to library users. CAN’s performances in libraries previously and we hope to see some moves amongst the shelves on 20 April.”



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