Fresh from their recent appearance at Edinburgh International Festival, Musicians in Exile, a group of asylum seeking and refugee musicians from Glasgow, visited Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park this week (Tuesday 6th February) to learn about the impact of the climate emergency of Scottish nature. The visit will provide inspiration for a concert with Gaelic folk rock group DLÙ in March.
Members of Govan based orchestra, The Glasgow Barons, the group have been displaced from countries including Ukraine and Iran and had little experience of Scotland out-with Glasgow. This visit helped them learn about Scottish identity and experience the health and wellbeing benefits of connecting with nature.
National Park Rangers guided the group along forest trails from Balmaha, demonstrating the importance of Scotland’s rainforests for nature and climate while capturing sounds and colours of their environment for inspiration enroute.
Paul MacAlindin, Artistic Director of The Glasgow Barons said: “Musicians in Exile have been sharing their musical voices across Scotland’s communities over five years and sang about our climate crisis at COP26. Now, for the first time, we’re connecting directly with Scotland’s natural heritage to see, first hand, how the world is changing on our doorstep.”
Ensuring the National Park is a place where people from all backgrounds can benefit from experiencing nature is the aim at the heart of Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park’s equality, diversity and inclusion work.
Chief Executive, Gordon Watson, said, “It is always hugely rewarding to see people enjoying, valuing, and helping us look after the National Park, and particularly in this instance where it’s something the group haven’t had a chance to experience before.
“Removing barriers to help people from all backgrounds to connect with nature within the National Park is a key objective in our National Park Partnership Plan. Seeing this group reap the benefits, while also helping them to talk about the impacts of the climate emergency on nature with their community, has been a brilliant project to be involved in.”
Other initiatives to increase access to the National Park for all include a travel grant for those where cost is a barrier. Last year (2022/23), £5,000 was distributed to groups to enable visits to learn about and connect with the park. Free engagement sessions with our Rangers are also available year-round, allowing groups to learn about and connect with nature, while experiencing the wellbeing benefits of being in the National Park.
Since 2018, Glasgow Barons has seen over 60 musicians participate in the Musicians in Exile community music project. The forthcoming performance, inspired by their visit to the National Park, takes place on 16 March, 7.30pm in Edmiston House, 100 Edmiston Drive, for the Govan Music Festival.