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Occupation: Five songs that shook the world

The protest song, re-invented by you.

Technology has changed our world. But change takes more than access to knowledge. It needs a powerful voice.

For Welsh National Opera's Occupation: Five songs that shook the world, five songwriters and composers were asked to write five new songs about world events that meant something to them.

The project used music and social media as tools for public protest. You could follow the musicians and find out about the songs' progress on the Occupation website, and talk to the composers about the project on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

For the final song, composer Dan-Wyn Jones invited you to get involved in helping him write it, and suggest news stories that you thought should feature.

A new song was released on the Occupation website every few weeks from November 2014 to January 2015, with videos published on Vimeo.

Song 1 was Grains of Dust by Carleen Anderson, inspired by the protests in Ferguson, USA.

Song 2 was The Sleeping-Mat Ballad by Judith Weir, about the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. The film director was Margaret Constantas.

Song 3 was a new version of Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen by Cerys Matthews, inspired by US protests following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The film was directed by Cyrus Mirza’shafa.

Song 4 was Black Christmas by High Contrast. It was written about Black Friday and the culture of commercialisation. The film director was Ewan Jones Morris.

Song 5 was Occupation by Dan-Wyn Jones, created using a mashup of protest lyrics submitted by you.

Listen to the songs

About this Artist

Occupation was commissioned by The Space and produced by Welsh National Opera. 

Welsh National Opera creates award-winning operas and concerts that are adventurous, high quality, and made for everyone to enjoy. It connects with the wider world through its community and education work, and its use of technology. 

Tim Hopkins is a director, scenographer, theatre- and film-maker, and was the Creative Director of Occupation. He has directed productions for The Royal Opera, English National Opera and Southbank Centre.

Carleen Anderson is a singer/songwriter, music arranger and poet. Before becoming a solo artist, she was the vocalist and songwriter for the band The Young Disciples.

Judith Weir is a composer and former Artistic Director of Spitalfields Festival, and has been Master of The Queen's Music since July 2014. Her 2011 opera, Miss Fortune, premiered at Bregenz, Austria.

Cerys Matthews MBE is a founding member of the band Catatonia, hosts an award-winning Sunday radio show on BBC 6 Music, and is a cultural reporter for The One Show.

Lincoln Barrett, also known as High Contrast, is a music producer, DJ and filmmaker. He has headlined some of the world’s biggest festivals, and wrote music for the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games with the band Underworld.

Daniel-Wyn Jones is a bilingual Cardiff-based composer who is influenced by modern, popular and classical music and other creative work – from theatre and modern dance to conceptual and performance art.

Margaret Constantas is a BAFTA-winning writer and director. The live performance of her film, BRANCHES: The Nature of Performance, was part of the Cultural Olympiad, London 2012 Festival.

Cyrus Mirza'Shafa is a film and video maker. He has had several short films funded by the BFI, Ffilm Cymru Wales and Creative Skillset, and is currently working on a feature film.

Ewan Jones Morris is a filmmaker and animator. He has directed videos for artists including DJ Shadow, The Human League, Cate Le Bon and Islet, and collaborated with Bedwyr Williams on films that were exhibited at the Venice Biennale.