Voluntary Arts Scotland is seeking a songwriter for its new project ‘Mouth of the River’, to create a brand new song for choirs across the city of Edinburgh, inspired by the Water of Leith.

Mouth of the River is funded by Scottish Natural Heritage’s PlungeIn! fund, and will see six Edinburgh-based choirs engaging with the Water of Leith through information sessions and volunteer days.

Following this, participants will be interviewed to gather their thoughts, feelings and memories about the 24-mile river that runs through Scotland’s capital. Inmates at HMP Edinburgh will also take part in the project during their creative writing and visual art classes.

Once this material has been gathered by Voluntary Arts Scotland (words, phrases, paintings, poems etc) it will be handed to the songwriter as inspiration for the new song. This should be arranged for 4-part SATB choirs, but with the facility for choirs who do not read music to learn by ear. Once complete, the song will be given to the relevant choir leaders to teach their choirs.

The six Edinburgh choirs we are working with on the project are: Pentland Singers, The Welcoming Choir, Loud & Proud, The Cheyne Gang, Springwell Golden Voices and Phoenix Choir: Leith. However, once they have sung and recorded the song, it will be gifted to all the choirs in Edinburgh to add to their repertoire, should they wish.


The above choirs all sing a wide range of repertoire, but we anticipate that this new song will be written in an accessible pop/Scottish folk style, with an energy that will have a broad appeal.


This project was originally scheduled to take place from April – December 2020, but due to Covid-19 has had to be postponed. At this stage, we are unsure when choirs will be able to meet up again – but we would like to have the songwriter in place for when that eventually happens.

The original schedule allowed for a two-month period for the songwriter to write the song, having received the material gathered from choir members and inmates.

It is not necessary for the songwriter to be based in Edinburgh, however we feel it would be beneficial for the writer to have some experience of visiting the Water of Leith (please note, there is no travel budget for this commission).


A fee of £1,500 is available. This includes arranging the song for SATB choir and providing a score for musical accompaniment.


Friday 14 August 2020

Please send an email outlining your interest in the project and your songwriting experience - we would also love to hear some examples of your work, so please send us links or attach music files.

Send to: Kelly Donaldson, Communications & Engagement Manager, Voluntary Arts Scotland, email [email protected]

For an informal chat about the brief, please call Kelly on 07843 056023.