Jersey-born musician Sam Falle often uses the folk tradition of the island as inspiration for his song writing.
Under the moniker ‘Winterfalle,’ Sam’s music has been played on Radio One and 6Music and he’s currently working on his second album called ‘Out of the Sea’ which will be released next year.
Now living in London, Jersey is never far from Sam’s thoughts as he tells Express the five things he would improve about his island home…
The arts have been low on the list of States priorities for over a decade. But good news: the Assembly has just voted to allocate 1% of its total budget for arts and culture.
Pictured: A proposition by Deputy Montfort Tadier secured 1% of States budget for arts and culture.
It’s increasingly understood that investment in the arts nurtures a nation’s ‘soft power’ and that can have a big economic impact. We must hope that our local politicians are now waking up to the far-reaching role that the arts can play for the island both at home and abroad.
I’d like to see priority given to engaging the local community in new and challenging ways and to creating new opportunities for local talent to increase Jersey’s national and international profile.
In navigating my way as a musician from Jersey to the UK, I learnt a lot about what to do and what not do through trial and error. I wish I’d been given more advice at the outset. So I guess this point is directed at Jersey’s expat music community: we should be more proactive at giving back to our scene, through advice and sharing experiences.
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It can feel like there are particular difficulties faced in reaching national and international stages simply because you are from Jersey.
In London alone, a number of musicians who grew up in Jersey are doing creative work across a wide range of musical genres from Hip Hop to Pop to Folk. To them, I make this plea: let’s give back to try to help up-and-coming folk get their work out there.
Something has to be done to stop the exodus of young people. We know the story: kids go through local schools, move abroad for higher education, get a job in a city and stay there. I’m part of that story too.
That ‘youth drain’ makes for an ageing population – a demographic bubble that’s places a real strain on our services.
Pictured: Sam thinks more needs to be done to prevent young Jersey people leaving the island for good.
Many young Jersey people would like to return to make their lives in the island and would do so were it not for the very real barriers to re-entry.
I certainly believe a university would have a transformative effect. It would give us a student workforce, which would supercharge local industries such as hospitality, significantly boost tourism and rebalance the risky overreliance of the island’s economy on finance. Again the problem is solvable, but when are we going to see any action?
Between school and visits to our local museums, young folk get only the barest outline of a particular local history: mammoths driven off cliffs at La Cotte, our coastal fortifications, the German occupation etc… What is lacking is a serious attempt on the part of schools to teach how this increasingly diverse community has evolved and how certain key aspects of life such as the parish system or our constitutional relationship with the UK or Europe might be better understood.
Pictured: Sam thinks that local history and current affairs are just as important in the classroom.
Kids of all ages need an understanding of Jersey’s key industries, politics or economics and career opportunities… It’s brilliant that we opened the vote to over-16’s, but I’d wager that most 16 year olds would struggle to explain to you the difference between a Deputy and a Senator or the top political concerns of the moment. That’s not their fault - it’s how we prioritise what we teach them.
We live in a time of rapid social and moral change. Many folk understandably find it difficult to keep up with shifting expectations, but we need to ensure our education system is properly equipping young people to be humane, tolerant and open-minded.
One fundamental change to make is in sex education. At school, we learnt nothing about consent. All too often young people learn about sex from online porn which can foster a warped idea of intimacy and poorly equip them for future relationships.
Pictured: "All too often young people learn about sex from online porn which can foster a warped idea of intimacy."
Sex ed also often ignores or glosses over the LGBTQ+ experience. Limiting education about queerness fosters ignorance and reinforces prejudice in cis-normative people and breeds shame and dysfunction in queer people. Jersey should be applauded for staging its first Pride a few years ago and the Island has now legalised gay marriage. But there is a lot more that we need to do to make our island tolerant and accepting.
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