Scottish youth make music online
Anise was born on The Shetland Islands and as the child of a Chinese-Malaysian father and a white Scottish mother, she understood from a young age what it meant to feel different.
Anise and her mother moved to Edinburgh when she was 4 years old, but even in the city she often felt like an outsider. Anise said, “There was only one other person at school who was half Chinese, half Scottish. I remember going home to my mum and saying, ‘I met this girl and she’s exactly the same as me!”
As a teenager Anise struggled with mental health problems. She had an eating disorder and her severe lack of self-confidence left her feeling lonely and isolated.
Anise is 21 years old now – a talented young woman who plays the Celtic harp and hopes to turn her passion for rapping and spoken word performance into a career as an art or music therapist. She still struggles with her mental health at times, but readily admits things are definitely better.
She said, “I’ve completely changed. I’m not ashamed of who I used to be, but I’m a completely different person now.”
Anise credits part of that transformation to her involvement with Intercultural Youth Scotland (IYS) – a National Lottery-funded organisation dedicated to nurturing the talents of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) young people. Thanks to you, it offers everything from music workshops and mentoring to dance classes and debates to more than 1500 BAME young people across Scotland.
Anise went to her first IYS session last year and quickly embraced the opportunities and support. She said, “Without IYS I don’t know where I’d be. They totally believed in me and made me take a step back and help me grow up and be a good role model for other young people.
“Just having that support and feeling you fit in somewhere is great.”
When the coronavirus hit, everything changed. The IYS music workshops that had nurtured Anise’s talent and helped her make new friends were cancelled.
But thanks to National Lottery players, IYS has successfully moved most of its services online. Using social media and video conferencing platforms, it continues to engage, support and nurture its community of young people in Scotland.
Anise describes the way IYS has been able to deliver its services online as a “lifesaver”. She said, “Checking in with people is really lovely – there’s a real sense of community. We may not be together, but we’re doing quizzes and games and it’s keeping my mind occupied. There are all these different platforms where [IYS are] promoting young people’s music so you can hear who’s around and what they’re doing.”
Like everyone else, Anise is looking forward to the end of the lockdown. She said, “IYS is getting a new recording space with all the proper equipment. I do what I can do at home with my microphone and my computer, but it would be great to have a space where I don’t annoy the neighbours!”
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3rd June 2020
Photographer: Alessandra Mureddu
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