First chancers - Rap Group

5th May 2006 at 01:00
If you go down to west London on a Saturday morning, you may hear the sound of the First Chancers, a rap band whose three members all have learning and physical disabilities.

Eugenia Berton, 21, Daniel Mitchell, 22, and Zoe Brien, 22, who formed the band four years ago, write all their own songs and are about to issue their third CD, this time using instrumental backing and a choir of young people with learning difficulties.

During the day, Zoe and Eugenia are further education students and Daniel works as a volunteer in a cafe run by Hafad (Hammersmith and Fulham Action on Disability), the youth support organisation under whose auspices the band was originally formed.

Hafad continues to support them, bringing together the eight-strong backing choir for the new CD and organising supporting musicians and percussion and keyboard teaching for the band so they can accompany themselves.

But in the evenings they perform at gigs across south London: at the Albany Theatre, the Ealing Jazz Festival, the Croydon Clocktower and the nightclub Beautiful Octopus.

Their lyrics are "soul-searching", according to their manager and Hafad creative arts youth worker Kirstie Wallace, and their commitment profound: making the new CD has been at least four months' work.

"Their songs are based on their life experiences: around what it's like to be a teenager with disabilities. They're fabulous," she says.

For more details, contact Hafad on 0207 471 8535.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today