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Peace report suggestion that loyalist bands should march to new tune described as 'cultural engineering'

By Rebecca Black

Published 31/03/2016

Junior Minister Emma Pengelly, Ruairide Burca, the Irish Joint Secretary, Gary McIlwaine, Shankill Road Defenders, and Colombian musician Mauricio Velezsierra at the Music Unite event last year
Junior Minister Emma Pengelly, Ruairide Burca, the Irish Joint Secretary, Gary McIlwaine, Shankill Road Defenders, and Colombian musician Mauricio Velezsierra at the Music Unite event last year

Loyalist marching bands could become one of the official sounds of Northern Ireland - but only if they widen their repertoire, a report has found.

However, an Ulster Bands lobbyist has questioned some the report's recommendations, voicing fears that they appear to aim to "institutionalise neutrality" within bands.

The report, Music Unite, by the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, is the result of a pilot project to examine how music could help promote non-violence here.

It follows a scheme involving the Shankill Road Defenders collaborating with musicians from other cultural backgrounds, experimenting with different music and performing at high-profile events such as Culture Night in Belfast.

The report found that the bandsmen were initially apprehensive about taking part but quickly became enthusiastic participants in performances with musicians from Kurdistan, India, Slovakia, Ghana, Jamaica and Ireland.

The Ulster Bands lobbyist praised the project and the bands which took part as contributing to increasing positive perceptions, but he also expressed concern about some of the 14 recommendations made in the study.

The recommendations include looking at targeted funding for loyalist bands to encourage them to widen musical horizons and collaborate with musicians from other cultural backgrounds; to develop codes of conduct for bandsmen as part of their music training; that bands should employ professional musical directors and include neutral music in their repertoire; and that large musical events, festivals and public celebrations should routinely involve loyalist cultural and musical traditions.

The lobbyist said it was felt that the project organisers had preconceived ideas about the bands. "Within the report itself, several elements unfortunately minimise the positive aspects and would challenge the value of bands participating in a future extended or related project," he added.

"In its recommendations it becomes clear that the project organisers have both entered the process with preconceived ideas about the band movement and a directly related agenda. Its claim that the arts provides an opportunity to bring bands into the mainstream both labels the band scene as not being part of the arts while also casting aside a movement of more than 600 bands and 30,000 members - the largest musical-centred movement in Northern Ireland by some length and massive on any terms - as being an underground practice."

He also said he found the aim to "institutionalise neutrality" in bands to be disturbing.

North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Amy and Charlie Que with Molly Jupp from Holywood. Pic Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye
North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Amy and Charlie Que with Molly Jupp from Holywood. Pic Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye
Orange Order parades pictured marching through Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Allen Ford from Nevada, USA, pictured during the Twelfth of July demonstration in Limavady which is one of the Orange Orders flagship parades. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 12.07.14
Roses Lane Ends Temperance Flute Band pictured leading the praise during the platform proceedings at the Twelfth demonstration at Ballinderry.
Georgina Davis pictured with her brother Christopher and her father Clark (members of Ballymacash LOL No 317) at Lisburn Orange Hall as brethren from Lisburn District LOL No 6 get ready to leave for the twelfth demonstration at Ballinderry.
Adele Bogle and Michelle Price get a selfie with the First Minister Peter Robinson at the twelfth demonstration at Ballinderry.
Caitlin Adams, Hailey Adams and Jessica Harper pictured at the twelfth demonstration at Ballinderry.
Wor Bro Norman Bell (Worshipful District Master of Ballinderry District LOL No 3) pictured with Bro Paul McCullough (Worshipful Master) and members of Ballinderry Black Reds LOL No 148 pictured prior to leaving Ballinderry War Memorial Hall for the twelfth demonstration at Ballinderry.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. North Down First Flute
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Claire Thompson
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Kenzie and Kyla Richard with Bethany McMillan fro Newtownards
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. LOL 1758
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. LOL 1592
Ballinderry District LOL No 3 colour party pictured prior to leaving Ballinderry War Memorial Hall for the twelfth demonstration at Ballinderry. L to R: Bros - Alan Barnes, Stephen Farr, Graham McDonald, Raymond Thompson and Neil Gilmore.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. Gerald Solinas speaks to the PSNI at this evenings 12th July return parade at Twaddell Avenue in Ardoyne north Belfast
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. Gerald Solinas, left, and James Small pictured at Camp Twaddell at Ardoyne in North Belfast with other protestors. Tens of thousands of Orangemen and women are taking part in 12 July celebrations across Northern Ireland. The 12 July is traditionally the biggest day in the Protestant marching season - running from April to August - and 17 parades are due to take place. They mark King William III's victory over Catholic King James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. Christian peace campaigners pictured at this evenings 12th July return parade at Twaddell Avenue in Ardoyne north Belfast There was a heavy police presence in the Ardoyne area. No resident protest groups held demonstrations. It comes after the Parades Commission ruled that the outward parade could proceed, however the evening return leg past the interface has been banned.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Ulsters Pride WLOL 110: Effie Butler, Jean Rodgers, Marion White and Margaret Jackson
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. LOL 164
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Courtney Palmer - Ballyhalbert Flute Band
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. WLOL 110
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Upper Ards District 11Laura Gorman of Donaghadee
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Dempsey Courtney Ballentine pictured with Mum Lynn and Sister Jody at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Orange Brethren from Sandy Row arrive at the field first aat Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Cat Thompson and Patricia Doherty from Belfast Members pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Junior Minister Jonathan Bell pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Arthur Campbell and David and Eric Hay pictured at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 MLA Peter Weir pictured at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
12/07/2014: Crowds line the streets of Belfast city centre to watch the annual twelfth of July orange parades. Photograph: Stephen Kilkenny/Photocall Ireland
12/07/2014: Crowds line the streets of Belfast city centre to watch the annual twelfth of July orange parades. Photograph: Stephen Kilkenny/Photocall Ireland
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Jimmy Lee - North Down First Flute
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Kenzie and Kyla Richard with Bethany McMillan fro Newtownards
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. George Smyth LOL1919
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Nationalist protesters outside St Patrick's Church as Bands and Orangemen take part during the 12th of July celebrations in Belfast. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Nationalist protesters outside St Patrick's Church as Bands and Orangemen take part during the 12th of July celebrations in Belfast. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 12: Orangemen march past Ardoyne this morning before the start of Northern Ireland's annual 12th of July march in Belfast city centre on July 12, 2014 in Belfast. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 12: Orangeman band members play their drums during the annual 12th of July march as it made it's way through Belfast city centre on July 12, 2014. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 12: A female band supporter runs past a shop front on her way to watch the start of the annual 12th of July march in Belfast city centre on July 12, 2014 in Belfast. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 12: An Orange bandsman catches his baton during the 12th of July annual march through Belfast city centre on July 12, 2014. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
A Loyalist supporter challenges police officers after an Orange Order parade made it's way down Crumlin Road adjacent to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood as part of the annual Twelfth of July celebrations, marking the victory of King William III's victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690
Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) leader Billy Hutchinson (second right in black top) watches on as an Orange Order parade makes it's way down Crumlin Road adjacent to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood as part of the annual Twelfth of July celebrations, marking the victory of King William III's victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690
A loyalist supporter dressed as a riot police officer approaches police as they await an Orange Order parade on Crumlin Road adjacent to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood as part of the annual Twelfth of July celebrations, marking the victory of King William III's victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690
An Orange Order parade on Crumlin Road adjacent to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood as part of the annual Twelfth of July celebrations, marking the victory of King William III's victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690
A loyalist supporter dressed as a riot police officer approaches police as they await an Orange Order parade on Crumlin Road adjacent to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood as part of the annual Twelfth of July celebrations, marking the victory of King William III's victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
Loyalist protesters and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist protesters and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Residents and police pictured after Orangemen, bands and supporters march past Ardoyne shop fronts this morning. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
Orangemen, bands and supporters march past Ardoyne shop fronts this morning. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
The police presence at Twaddell Avenue as Orangemen, bands and supporters march pass Ardoyne shop fronts this morning. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
A Twaddell avenue protester dressed as a PSNI officer is pictured as Orangemen, bands and supporters march past Ardoyne shop fronts this morning. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly speaking after Orangemen, bands and supporters march past Ardoyne shop fronts this morning. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
Nelson McCausland MLA (centre) joins loyalist marchers and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist protesters and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist protesters and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist marchers and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist marchers and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist marchers and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist marchers and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
New PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton talks to officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Phtograph by Kelvin Boyes/Presseye

"The terminology used and the goals defined clearly fall far beyond education and into the realms of cultural engineering," the lobbyist added.

"Every bandsman and woman in Northern Ireland welcomes the public display elements of this project. The opportunities and goals to create further similar opportunities are honourable and hopefully can be built on."

Lord Alderdice, chairman of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, said the aim of the project was to find ways of addressing the alienation of young people, especially young men in the working-class loyalist community.

"I have long been of the view that the arts, especially music, have a key role to play in the processes of healing," Lord Alderdice said.

"However, taking this principle from individual treatment to wider community problems when certain kinds of music had deeply divisive resonances was a much more challenging option."

The peer added that he feels bands are "beginning to find a new route to peace and relationship building in our divided society".

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