22 Nov 2021
Image of Rukus

Rukus tells us more about A Song for Derbyshire

A Song for Us celebrates our communities and the power of music to bring us together. A nationwide project, Sound UK has commissioned Rukus, in partnership with Baby People, to write a new song inspired by the people of Derbyshire.

Ahead of the premiere, we caught up with Rukus to find out more about his connections to Derbyshire and about the new song, Mountains.

Can you tell us about your links to Derbyshire and what it means to you?

I have lived and worked in Derbyshire for over 20 years and have been an active member of the East Midlands arts and music scene.

Derby on a personal note is where I believe I matured as a young adult. I came to this region to study, having been born in Birmingham, but ended up staying. This wasn’t planned, but I met great people, like minded souls and energies, and the rest is history as they say. Derby has a vibrancy and warmth that attracted me, a real ‘melting pot’ of different cultures, ideas and vibes.

Can you tell us about the inspiration for your song for Derbyshire?

After various workshops, questionnaires and polls that we put out to the general public, and also speaking with the young people we work with everyday, a picture of hope, new beginnings and the realisation that after all that has happened, the fear, the uncertainty, the hard times, we can get through this TOGETHER!

We can move mountains and quite simply the way or the perspective you look at things is important. Through the beauty and commonality of human beings – various ages, cultures, and from different areas around Derbyshire – we found positives from what can be classed as a negative situation. We wanted to celebrate this! Overcoming hardship, fresh starts, diversity, reflections, unity, joyfulness, all in one song.

This has been an incredibly difficult time we’re all living through. What have you learnt about yourself in the last 18 months? What keeps you positive? And how important has creativity and music been to you?

I’ve learnt I am more resilient than I thought, but more importantly I realised you sometimes must stand still in order to appreciate what is around you. We were obviously forced by circumstances to ‘take a stock’ and re-evaluate what is important and that was the greatest lesson learnt for me because the simple things like family, friends and a sunny day kept me positive and my spirit up.

I believe creativity and the arts are so important right now! The entire world has been through so much and the need for the players of instruments to play and the writers of music to write isn’t to be taken lightly. Musicians and artists have always been the voice of the ‘voiceless’ and now more than ever are at the forefront of movements and change.

A Song for Us encourages creativity in everyone. Do you have any tips or words of encouragement for people wanting to create their own song?

I would say simply let your ‘inner voice speak’ and don’t be afraid. Words are powerful and can do so much if used in the right way. You never know, something that you have written may touch someone’s soul in a way that your favourite song touched yours. But you will never know if you just think about it…DO IT! In fact, start now.

The public are also encouraged to share their favourite tracks to the music map, tracks that comfort, celebrate, commemorate or simply sum up this time. What track would you choose and why?

Zee Musiq – Lessons. It’s a song that’s about reflections, whether that’s about relationships or life in general and understanding, accepting and taking the lessons from it all. Which is what a lot of us had to do over this period of time.

Can you tell us about the local musicians performing your new song and how these collaborations came about?

I have worked and been a part of the music scene within the East Midlands area for a long time. During this time I have been able to work with some phenomenal talent locally and have managed and mentored quite a few artists myself due to the nature of my work at Baby People.

The collective performing the new song ‘Mountains’ are members of Melisma Voice Collective, which is made up of young people from Derbyshire who rehearse here at Baby People and are directed by Zee Musiq and artists from the local community who we have mentored over this period of time.

Mountains – A Song for Derbyshire – co-written by Rukus and Zee Musiq – was performed live on Saturday 13 November at Baby People’s 20th birthday celebrations and will be available online from 25 November (7pm) on the Song for Derbyshire county page.