This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Refugees to sing loud and proud as part of festival


Unique event

Voices from around the world who have made Scotland their home will be heard at a special concert as part of Refugee Festival Scotland later this week.

The Raising Voices concert on 22 June at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall’s New Auditorium will be a landmark collaboration between Scottish Refugee Council, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) and three celebrated community choirs.

Capturing the festival’s spirit of bringing together people from different backgrounds in friendship and solidarity, the performance is one of the flagship events in this year’s Refugee Festival Scotland programme. It embodies the theme of this year’s festival, RISE, honouring the resilience of people who are rebuilding their lives in safety in Scotland.

Maryhill Integration Network’s Joyous Choir, the Harper African Voice choirand Ukrainian vocal choir Soloway, will each perform uplifting and moving songs from countries and cultures around the world, including Nigeria, Ukraine, South Africa and Italy.

Open to audience members of all ages, the performance will be presented by celebrated poet, co-founder of Seeds of Thought arts group and UNESCO artist-in-residence at the University of Glasgow, Tawona Sitholé. The music will be conducted and arranged by Jon Hargreaves whose impressive creative portfolio encompasses artistic directorships, conducting, executive producing, and composing and arranging for a host of orchestras and solo artists.

A teacher at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Jon has had arrangements played at the likes of the BBC Proms and Celtic Connections, and will now apply his expertise to this special Raising Voices performance.

Saturday’s concert will open with the incredible sound of the Joyous Choir. Since its inception in 2013, this musical group has been using singing to support social inclusion and improve wellbeing in a welcoming and creative space. The choir welcomes participants from diverse backgrounds, including people seeking asylum and refuge in Glasgow alongside those born and raised in the city. The group shares songs from different cultures, and explores themes such as friendship, protest, sisterhood, dreams, freedom and hope.

Next to take to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall stage will be Harper African Voice, a Christian worship choir based in Glasgow’s Harper Memorial Baptist Church. The 19-person strong choir was set up over two years ago with the aim to promote integration and grow cross-cultural relationships. The group includes people from various walks of life including asylum seekers and international students, spanning an incredible 35 nations.

The Solo Way choir will round off the afternoon’s entertainment. The group was founded in November 2022, when Bozhena Yakymenko gathered a group of Ukrainian women who had recently arrived in Glasgow to sing Christmas carols. The choir has grown steadily since and their aim is to encourage everyone to share in a message of solidarity. 

Refugee Festival Scotland manager, Mónica Laiseca said: “It is a sincere joy to be teaming up with the RSNO and diverse choirs from across Glasgow for this special event as part of Refugee Festival Scotland 2024. The concert is all about celebrating communities through song and we are delighted to be able to showcase the music of different cultures and nations as part of one completely unique performance.

"We would encourage families and music fans alike to join us this weekend for what is an empowering message of welcome and a celebration of Scotland as a place where everyone can thrive and come together in a hopeful and inspiring way.”

RSNO director of engagement Andy Stevenson said: “It’s a real privilege to return to the Scottish Refugee Festival to perform with these amazing choirs and artists. We strive to engage with the people of Scotland in every possible way and working with New Scots to invest in our shared culture is an honour.

"Music reaches beyond geographical and language barriers in a unique way and I can’t wait to join everyone at the Raising Voices event for an afternoon of celebrating our connections.”



Be the first to comment