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Musicians in Exile"Where can I go to make music?" asked one refugee from El Salvador arriving in Scotland. The answer he was given was “Musicians in Exile” - a community project for asylum seeking and refugee musicians in Glasgow.

Professional facilitators help the ensemble shape their rehearsals, but what and how they play and perform is up to the musicians themselves. There is a great deal of intercultural interaction between the musicians, supporting each other musically and performing in mixed languages and styles. 

As many asylum seekers flee without their instruments, these are purchased where possible and given to the musicians on long-term loan. Once every two months, they perform in Glasgow, livestreaming the concerts on their Facebook page. This gives everyone a regular goal and also presents the musicians to the wider public. 

Legally forbidden to work, playing in the ensemble offers the musicians an outlet to give back to their host communities. Music is a universal language, with the power to bridge cultural and language barriers - asylum seekers who are still mastering English, as well as audiences unfamiliar with the cultures of new Scots, find this particularly meaningful. 

Through the group, the musicians build a new sense of family, networks with local musicians and retrieve their intrinsic cultures, benefiting their own well-being and that of the wider community.

 

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