Our Story

Common and Kind was founded in June 2016

The story begins in London on the morning of the 24th of June. Motivated by the divisive impact of events and rhetoric in the UK and concurrent developments across the world, singer and community leader Michael Solomon Williams posted on social media, calling upon people to respond positively and collaboratively to division.

The response was phenomenal. Thousands of musicians, from pop and classical singers, musical theatre, folk and opera stars to chamber choirs and community choirs came forward, as well as orchestral players, concert soloists, jazz musicians and many more across the world. In an age of division, music could unite like nothing else.

To channel the offerings of thousands across the world, Michael wrote the single Human Kind. Featuring the words of John Donne (‘No man’s an island’) and Jo Cox (‘more in common’), the song was conceived to be adaptable for all musical genres. It was designed so that it could be recorded anywhere in the world, bringing people together from all communities, cultures and nations.

The base ingredient was recorded at the end of the first Union Chapel concert on Tuesday 2nd August 2016. With a huge line-up of solo artists, massed choral and orchestral forces, it was a truly extraordinary evening of music spanning styles and crossing borders, all organised in a matter of weeks. Artists included leading international stars from a huge variety of backgrounds: Cassidy Janson, star of Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, mezzo soprano Dame Sarah Connolly, guitarist Mark Lettieri from Snarky Puppy, pop chart-topper Sarah Jane Morris and Bengali folk icon Saida Tani. James Burton conducted the massed choir of four hundred people and orchestra led by Britten Sinfonia principal Thomas Gould. Journalist, author and activist George Monbiot premiered his collaborative album with Scottish folk singer Ewan McLennan, ‘Breaking the Spell of Loneliness’. The concert was hosted by legendary journalist and broadcaster Robin Lustig, former anchor of BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight.

Get the single on Amazon Music

Since that concert, choirs and soloists from across the world sent in recordings. They include Pihcintu, a choir combining refugees from Cambodia, China, Congo, El Salvador, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Vietnam, West Indies, and Zambia as well as choirs from Vietnam, Northern Ireland, Scotland, India, Malaysia, the UK and USA. The single also features soloists Cassidy Janson,  J.Hoard, Dame Sarah Connolly, Saida Tani and nine members of Snarky Puppy.

Human Kind was released on the 16/06/2017 in memory of Jo Cox. As well as the free-to-view Youtube video featuring concert and worldwide footage, the single is available for MP3 download. All proceeds of online sales are donated to Musicians without Borders, Music Action International & Amnesty International.

Past Events

2016

Artists included leading international stars from a huge variety of backgrounds.

  • Cassidy Janson
  • Dame Sarah Connolly
  • Mark Lettieri
  • Sarah Jane Morris
  • Saida Tani
  • George Monbiot
  • Ewan McLennan
  • James Burton
  • Thomas Gould
  • Andrew McCormack
  • Bernhard Schimpelsberger

2017

In 2017 we returned in style to the Union Chapel. This year the massed choir of 400 was the product of partnership workshops between fourteen different choirs of all description (from classical chamber choirs to reggae and gospel choirs, community choirs and more), the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants and Rainbows Across Borders LGBT asylum seekers. Another extraordinary array of solo artists came together from across the musical spectrum.

  • J. Hoard
  • T U R Y A
  • Bernhard Schimpelsberger
  • Justin Stanton (Snarky Puppy)
  • Thomas Gould
  • Saida Tani
  • Ahmed Mukhtar
  • Palisander
  • Brad Allen Williams

2018

We returned to the Union Chapel in 2018 for another extraordinary concert. This year the massed choir of four hundred included school partnerships for the first time, bringing children from a range of backgrounds together from across London, along with adult choir refugee partnerships and a sensational line-up of solo artists.

  • J. Hoard
  • Ty
  • SuRie
  • Bernhard Schimpelsberger
  • Chris Gall
  • Nadine Benjamin
  • The Beethoven Orchestra for Humanity
  • Saida Tani
  • George Monbiot
  • Ewan McLennan

2019

In 2019 the massed choir of four hundred included school partnerships from Brent, Hackney,Tower Hamlets and Haringey, bringing children from a range of backgrounds together from across London, along with adult choir & refugee partnerships and a sensational line-up of solo artists.

  • Gwilym Simcock
  • Tim Garland
  • J Hoard
  • Saida Tani
  • Nish Kumar
  • Beethoven Orchestra for Humanity
  • Nadine Benjamin
  • Cassidy Janson