“to provide children with the opportunity to work together in teams, to create an inspiring and motivating environment that will give them a sense of security and purpose. They will be nurtured by teachers who will give them faith in their own abilities, in the value of childhood and learning. They will learn to develop and trust their own sense of judgement, to grow and express themselves as musicians and people”.
“Sierra Leone is my home as well as America. The School of Music is in honour of Marc Bolan and is to work with children to have a purpose for being. If you’re able to create, you never know what you may come up with. If you can learn how to write a song or play an instrument, it can always give you a livelihood. It’s not only for the African children; it’s for all of the children.”
Healing through music
In 2011, Gloria Jones and Rolan Bolan (son of Marc Bolan and Gloria Jones ) began a mission to honour the memory of Marc Bolan and launched the Marc Bolan School of Music in Makeni, Sierra Leone, West Africa. The aim of the school was primarily to educate 100 students and young people, who were orphaned by the civil war that raged from 1991-2002, and whom have been rescued from the notorious blood diamond mines.
Gloria partnered with the Light of Love Foundation in London, founded by Jed Dmochowski – a musician and songwriter and frontman of a Marc Bolan tribute band. Jed has played fundraising shows for the school (to pay for instruments) and has flown to Makeni to perform for the students.
The goal is simple – to heal through music.
Marc Bolan once said,
“I want to give every child the chance to dance”
‘Hi, Gloria Jones here. Thank you all so much for your interest and support for our project, to build The Marc Bolan School of Music in Makeni, Sierra Leone. Keep giving, keep supporting our children, our teachers. Help us to make more music! This school will be at the heart of the community, to inspire and to serve. Keep Marc’s music in your hearts, and see his wonderful legacy grow in a beautiful way.’
Howmany bricks does it take to build a school?
Our school needs 50,000 bricks.
You can donate today by ‘buying a brick’. You can buy one brick, or as many as you like!
Each brick costs just £1
Donation is easy by using any of the PayPal donate buttons on this site.
Help us see this come together, give whatever you can!
All donations will be acknowledged.
BUY A BRICK!
And build a school.
Building costs and plans
The building itself will have two or three storeys, with two classrooms, rehearsal rooms and an entrance hall as well as storage facilities and the usual amenities.
The total projected cost of building the School is £40,000 of which;
£23,000 is needed for materials and building costs, the supply of energy cables and the fitting out of classrooms.
£2,500 (approx) for air transport costs for two representatives of Bolans architects to travel to Sierra Leone and visit and co-ordinate construction.
£5,000 is the estimated cost for additional musical instruments. This will include violins and other stringed instruments as well as amplifiers and a PA system.
In addition to the above, £5,000 is needed in order to officially register The Light Of Love Foundation UK as an official charity (rather than a Charitable Organisation as it is now). The foundation has been set up exclusively to raise funds for The Marc Bolan School of Music in Sierra Leone.
EVERY SINGLE PENNY RAISED will go directly to the building of the school and the delivery of lessons by qualified teachers. The monthly cost of running the school, paying teachers, supplies, is estimated approximately at $250 US. There are no middlemen, and everybody involved with this project is giving their time, energy and skills for no fee.
So, how many bricks does it take to build a school?
Even if you don’t win an Oscar, you do have a host of after parties to choose from.
Gloria hot trotted to the ‘Fame and Philanthropy’ shindig in Beverly Hills afterwards, a benefit party for actress Charlize Theron’s Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP). Other guests included Halle Berry and Sean Penn, with a keynote speech given by director and producer James Cameron.
Gloria is making use of her time in LA to publicise the Marc Bolan School of Music and the campaign to raise the £50,000 needed to build the school, and no doubt celebrating the Oscar success of ’20 Feet From Stardom’ just a little too.
It’s the morning after the night before and we are sure Gloria Jones is still partying in LA, after the success of ’20 Feet From Stardom’ in winning the Oscar for Best Feature Documentary. The film is a remarkable insight into the contribution of backing singers, until now, forgotten in the history books of popular music.
Director Morgan Neville has been making music documentaries for 20 years and ’20 Feet From Stardom’ began as an idea from producer Gil Friesenis. It was a labour of love to make and is deserving of all the accolades it has so far received. Gloria appears in the film and Morgan is very supportive of her mission to build the Marc Bolan School. We hope to interview Morgan, so watch this space.
Jared Leto won Best Supporting Actor for his role as Rayon in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ and Matthew McConaughey also won Best Actor. The film features tracks from Marc Bolan and T-Rex
Former Sweet Sweet Lies frontman Dominic Van Trapp took a trip to the Marc Bolan School of Music in Sierra Leone. This is his report.
I pulled up to the music school in Makeni, Sierra Leone on the back of a beaten up Honda, driven by one of the teachers, Amadu, with more than a hint of nerves. I had previously taught music in England, and in Rajasthan in India, but this was different again. Sierra Leone had been ravaged by a war that left many without families, homes, jobs and limbs. Many of the locals had been witness to atrocities I could only read about. I had no idea how they would respond to me coming over and trying to teach them Western music. One of my classes was also being watched by Gloria Jones, one of the finest soul singers the world has known, who had along with her son, set up the school in honour of her late husband Marc Bolan.
Almost immediately my fears were allayed. The kids were great, warm, and enthusiastic, with a real passion for music. Amadu had already achieved incredible things. The kids had only been playing for three months, and yet already had a good grounding on each of their instruments to a level that I had first thought they had been playing for at least a year. Due to the variation of instruments and voices in the room, I decided to do a group song, and began with ‘Ring of Fire’ by Johnny Cash. The kids loved it. They listened carefully as I explained the background of the song, the story of a man’s triumph against adversity.
They picked up the chords very quickly, and a lesson I thought would take two days had taken one. I decided to work on harmonies. The children had rich, full voices, and though it was challenging (they had never sung in harmony before) I wanted to push them as far as I could in the short time I was there. They absorbed the information like a sponge, and within two hours I had a group of children that had never sung in harmony before singing in four separate parts.
It was beautiful, and I was no longer quite as nervous about meeting Gloria, as I was immensely proud of what they had accomplished. On the second day Gloria came into class and introduced herself. My initial nerves were completely misguided, “Call me mom” she said with an incredible warmth and sincerity. The class gave the rendition of Ring of Fire they had been practicing and a tear rolled down her cheek as she sat at the back of the class. I was also witness to the other teachers in full swing. They were incredible. They had real passion and dedication to the project, and the kids hung on their every word. I left with a feeling of warmth, and pride to be a part of something so incredibly special. The class had the excited feeling one gets so very rarely, a feeling of: Something incredible is about to happen.
There are several reasons why this school is incredibly important. These children, ordinarily, would never have the chance to learn music like this. They are only too aware of this, and repay the opportunity tenfold with their dedication and commitment. If they are so willing to offer their dedication and commitment, would it not be a terrible crime that this gift was not met with our generosity? Many of the children are old enough to have been alive during the war, and even those who aren’t will certainly have felt its repercussions. Music allows people to lose themselves in creativity. It allows people to come together and share in a totally non-exclusive art form. It allows them the space to be themselves, irrespective of background or circumstance. Sierra Leone is indeed different to the UK in many ways, but if this experience has taught me one thing it’s that when it comes to music, we all love to boogie.
Here at campaign HQ we are continuously exploring ways to get as many of you as possible involved in the quest to support and build the Marc Bolan School for Music.
Who can get involved?
You, friends, family, schools, colleges. workplaces and clubs etc.
Anyone can get involved with fundraising for this project.
Whether you are able to raise £1 or £1000, every penny counts!
We have already had some amazing responses and requests to become involved! Some of you have contacted us with some great ideas and plans to raise money for our “Buy A Brick” campaign. We would love to have images and video footage of your fundraising gigs and events to put up here on the website!
Here are some of the ideas that you have come up with already:
Music Concerts/ Benefit Performances
Comedy and Talent Shows
Sponsored events- buggy walks etc
A Sponsored Workplace Silence (this one sounds interesting!
Celebrity giveaways for our Auction
What other great ideas could you, your school, or workplace come up with?
You may be an organisation, school or community group wishing to organise a charity event. Or maybe you are a musician or part of a band wanting to organise a benefit gig. You may even be a celebrity and willing to offer an item for our ongoing auctions.
Whatever your idea, or event, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll offer advice and help to publicise your idea. All fundraising events will be featured on our website, facebook and twitter feeds.
“The project has official support on both a local community and a national level, including the approval of the President of Sierra Leone. Our friend Mr Bai Koroma is the Community Representative for Youth Culture and Fine Arts. He has been active in helping us buy the land, seeing through all the legal processes. He himself has used the word ‘poverty’ to describe the conditions which prevail in much of Sierra Leone, and this is why The Marc Bolan School of Music is so important and so welcome.” GLORIA JONES
Making a difference
Since the quest began to build the school, much has already been achieved. Instruments have been donated and bought from funds raised so far. Some of the donors include;
Zak Starkey, who donated THREE full Drum Kits!
Artist and Producer Charles Politakes, who generously donated his Les Paul!
Lessons have already begun, using a room a few times a week and two students, twins Hans and David Ceesay are now performing, writing and earning money through music in Sierra Leone! This is a reflection of the faith shown in this project so far, and is just the beginning of what the school can achieve.
Students include youngsters from the local community in Makeni, all of whom need our support through education. We want to get them playing, singing, writing and even theorising right away!
is the debut album from the Tranquilizers, a London based collective of musicians, writing music that they (and they hope others) find interesting.
Best described as a fusion of acid jazz, folk, soul, and indie, it is hard to catagorise Tranquilizers, but it works. Mastered by the renowned engineer Jon Astley, the album is instantly haunting, opening with the eiree ‘All I Needed’, a track that washes over and soothes before giving way to the more soulful sound of ‘How Long Has The Train Been Gone’. ‘Life is Better Than Watching Films’ is the perfect indie pop song, playful and cheeky, followed by the achingly beautiful ‘Tranquilizers’. The perfect accompaniment to a glass of wine at the end of a long day, ‘To Forget An Actor’ is a remarkable debut.
‘To Forget an Actor’ is available on CD, vinyl and download and can be purchased here.
Half of all proceeds from sales will be donated to the Marc Bolan School of Music ‘Buy a Brick’ campaign.