Masha Myndru is part of the Musicians Artists at Risk Resettlement Scheme (MARRS), a programme established in 2021 by Beyond Skin, which aims to protect artists in Afghanistan who are facing severe threats from the regime there. Since its establishment however, MARRS was was extended to help people from other countries in similar positions.
To date MARRS has supported over 200 adults & children, including professional and amateur artists as well as those who get involved in creative activities to improve their mental health, language skills or simply to meet and collaborate with different communities. A Guitar Club was created by Iranian musician and music teacher, Shiva, and guitar technician, Leif Bodnarchuk, with support from musician, Paul Kane, at the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast. Over 150 guitars have been donated to the club thanks to the generosity of the NI public.
Masha Myndru was a teacher in Vinnytsia, a city in central Ukraine, who arrived in Northern Ireland seeking refuge. As part of (MARRS), Masha was invited into Start Together Music Studios Belfast after she contacted Beyond Skin expressing an interest in singing. From that session the idea of making a music video was born.
Masha sang in talent competitions and concerts in her homeland before being forced to leave and commented, “It’s always been my dream to sing and record a song. When I heard about Beyond Skin, I never imagined my dream would come true.”
Darren Ferguson, Chief Executive, at Beyond Skin, said, “When we got Masha into the studio we had no agenda or plan, just to have some fun making music. Masha asked if she could sing along to one of her favourite songs called Сестра (translated as ‘sister’) by Ukraine rock group The Hardkiss, Her voice is amazing and that brought about the idea of doing a music video. A few whatsapp messages later to Kirsty Orr who manages various choirs and Keiron Black from punk rock band Cut Rubber and we were off.”
Darren continued, “The arts is the most effective bridge builder, educator, and healer. People come to our shores seeking safety, bringing their skills, and from what I have seen, a treasure chest of gifts that can boost our creative industries and economy whilst assisting the health of individuals and communities. MARRS is a team effort in the spirit of togetherness and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland has been a vital part of that team."
Patricia Lavery, Head of Community Arts and Education at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added, “Congratulations to singer Masha Myndru, Beyond Skin and all involved in creating this wonderful music video celebrating Make Music Day 2023. We know that taking part in arts activities improves health and wellbeing outcomes and brings people and communities closer together. MARRS is a vital lifeline to these artists who are facing incredibly difficult circumstances and the Arts Council is proud to support Beyond Skin with this important work.”
Beyond Skin’s MARRS initiative is supported by The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. This music video has received additional funding support from the Community Foundation NI and the Red Cross Ukraine fund.
"Сестра" will be available on Beyond Skin’s youtube, bandcamp and facebook platforms on 21 June. To find out more about MARRS and the work of Beyond Skin visit www.beyondskin.net and to get involved in Make Music Day 2023 visit www.makemusicday.co.uk or email email@example.com
About the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is the lead funding and development agency for the Arts providing support to arts projects throughout the region, through its Treasury and The National Lottery funds. Our funding enables artists and arts organisations to increase access to the arts across society and deliver great art that is within everyone’s reach.
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