megan black

NEWS: Scottish Artists with Palestine

Scottish Artists with Palestine are creatives from the country taking a stand and being proactive in support of Palestine. The initiative is led by its founder, the singer-songwriter Megan Black, who took time out to talk about where the idea came from.

How was “Scottish Artists with Palestine” created?
I put out a video on my own Instagram page. A big part of my job is using social media. Seeing what’s happening in the world, I just felt really powerless because I don’t have the resources to donate lots of money. So I was like, “what can I do?” and that for me is music and the community that I have through music. I put a call out to Scottish artists, “do you want to use your creativity to fundraise?” And that’s how it started. I created the page and then so many artists got in touch. Everybody was like, we could do this and we could do that, which is amazing, because people genuinely care about this. The thought was to do something that’s creative and empowering yet still joyful, despite what’s going on. That’s the only thing we can do that creates community and creates solidarity.

I do understand the politics behind this war are complex. But we feel powerless and this is something we can do through music. So with a bunch of amazing artists we have already set up a gig in Edinburgh on 30 June.

We have a submissions form so artists can submit themselves to play in a show. We have one in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Ayrshire and there will also be an all-dayer. These will be donation on entry so everyone can come and show solidarity, or donate things for a raffle. We also have a song-writing team and we’re creating a track which we’re looking for artists to contribute to and the donations for that will go to Operation Olive Branch. We are looking for artists from all over Scotland to be involved in putting down a vocal track and harmonies to build into it. This is the most direct route to get money to Palestinians and it is a organisation which can verify genuine cases of need. It’s going to be donation based so if people want to come along and show solidarity, or donate things for a raffle.

In addition we have now also opened up for artists to submit their own songs if they are willing to donate them. These will be gathered and released as a compilation album, and really this is the result of the amazing response we’ve had for this fundraiser. These can be original songs or collaborations they perhaps want to make within the community. Deadline for submissions for album is 1 July.

The hope of course is that there is a ceasefire but even when the current armed conflict ends the humanitarian crisis will continue. The devastation will require rebuilding on an unprecedented level in the aftermath in Gaza. The hope is that this can be a continuous series of events.

I think a big switch for me was when people were being moved to Rafah at the same time as the Met Gala was going on. The extreme of what is happening in Gaza and yet seeing these people who have such a following not speaking out. That for me was really when I was like, Okay, do I want to be one of those people who just didn’t do anything when I knew I could? I’m not able to donate money but I have a community through the Scottish music scene. These are the people I work with. These are people that I know share similar views and I feel like music can be such a great way of talking about serious things which you find perhaps overwhelming.

Is the “Scottish Artists with Palestine” instagram page the best place to contact you?
Yes. I even had a message from a producer this morning who said he would raffle off a studio session. It’s so good to see how many people are happy to give their creative work for free for this cause. I’ll be donating merch. There is also a call out to Scottish businesses and individuals for donations to raffle at the event in Edinburgh on 30 June. We are also looking to showcase local Palestinian businesses. Whether that’s business cards at the venue or showcasing work, just trying to drive people towards these businesses as a way of support. Everyone who is involved so far is at the grassroots level. We appreciate everyone has other things they need to be doing but its really nice to see people going yeah, ok, what can I do here?

What is the final message you would like to share?
We have individuals organising the various events at the moment. If you’re an artist, please send music. Please get involved in the performances. Even if you don’t get chosen to play a particular showcase, come along. If you can’t afford a ticket, we’ll get you one, anything you can to get the events out there. Link Operation Olive Branch to stories and tag them into any posts. If you work in the press please get in touch we’re happy to do interviews. For anyone with ideas contact us with what you want to do and if we’ll make it work if you can. I think the main focus of this is on how we can use music, and how we can use the community that we have in the Scottish music scene, to show solidarity and to raise money. So anyone who makes music or whose uncle plays guitar or whatever it is, you please try and get involved where you can.

For more information and to find out details of how to get involved please check the Scottish Artists with Palestine Instagram page.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.