Nile Rodgers to help BBC bring music to people with dementia

Nile Rodgers

Grammy-winning musician Nile Rodgers is supporting a new initiative to bring music to everyone living with dementia by 2020.

The US producer, whose hits have ranged from David Bowie’s Let’s Dance to Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, has been named an ambassador of BBC Music Day 2019, which will see hundreds of events take place across the UK in celebration of the power of music to change lives.

The programme of events, taking place on September 26, will include the first ever music and dementia festival co-created by people living with dementia and the first NHS Dementia Village opening its doors ahead of the launch.

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Rodgers has witnessed first-hand five family members suffer from Alzheimer’s, including his mother Beverly – who lived with the disease for 13 years.

“The UK is my home from home so I’m delighted to be an Ambassador for BBC Music Day and to highlight the important role music plays in the well-being of our society,” the Chic star said.

“I’ve witnessed my mother’s and my aunt’s experience with dementia and I know just how transformational music can be for people with this condition.”

Rodgers told the BBC that he had never heard his mother sing aloud until she developed Alzheimer’s.

“Every time we passed any kind of shop that was playing music, she would start to sing,” he said.

“Anything that was old, she knew perfectly. So a Frank Sinatra song would come on, or Diana Ross or Barbra Streisand. My mom just nailed it. It was incredible.”

More than 50 organisations, including Home Instead Senior Care, Dementia UK, Music for Dementia 2020, Rock Choir and Playlist for Life, are involved in the initiative.

They will create events and take part in broadcasts across radio, TV and digital channels.

Tags : BBC Music Day 2019music and dementiaNile Rodgers
Sarah Clarke

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