Under the radar: Ensemble

Led by Donna Maciocia, the Ensemble initiative has allowed young people to record songs with established musicians, and the results will be released as an album later this month, write Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon

Jill O'Sullivan and Jonnie Common - two of the artists working on the Ensemble project
Jill O'Sullivan and Jonnie Common - two of the artists working on the Ensemble project

Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative has funded some impressive projects over the years and Ensemble is no exception. Led by songwriter extraordinaire Donna Maciocia and run by Wheatly Care, it sees established musicians team up with young people who have experienced homelessness, living in care, mental health issues and those seeking asylum.

Over the past year they have collaborated over three six-week writing blocks before going into the Chem19 recording studios to record songs. The result is a highly listenable album released on 30 April. Titled No Place Like It, it is a collection of songs themed around home and community.

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In addition to Macioca and some very talented budding artists, participants include Martha Ffion, Jill O’Sullivan, Jamie Scott, Jonnie Common, Ross Clark and Djana Gabrielle (most of whom have featured in this column). www.wheatley-care.com/ensemble

Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon run music industry seminar and social night Born To Be Wide, www.borntobewide.co.uk

Off Axis is an artist-to-artist, non-profit gig swapping network, enabling bands to build a nationwide fanbase by playing meaningful gigs throughout the UK. They offer a sustainable, transparent and professional touring model, where musicians keep 100 per cent of profits. Off Axis also help new artists showcase at festivals such as Kendal Calling, Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival and Un-Convention. They are accepting applications for 2021, http://www.offaxisnetwork.com/

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