The University of the Highlands and Islands has announced its first ‘live stream music tour', featuring alumni who will receive a fee for their performance.
This new initiative has been set-up by the university to show its support for its music alumni community, which has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
#UHIMusicLive will host two music sessions, every Wednesday and Friday night, for four weeks from Wednesday 18 November. All performers are alumni of the university and will be paid for their 45 minute live set on Facebook. Fees are being donated by several individuals and companies who also want to show their support in these difficult times.
Talking about how this initiative came to life, Pete Honeyman, Creative and Cultural Industries Subject Network Leader, said: "The University of the Highlands and Islands has been at the forefront of music education in Scotland for many years and we offer support to our students for life. These are extremely challenging times for the music industry, with live music forbidden and social distancing requirements making it almost impossible for group music-making to take place and we wanted to find a way to support our alumni.
"We've creatively combined our skills and resources to design, produce, promote and, importantly, make sure the performers are paid a fee, which has been achieved through the generosity of donors.
"We have been privileged to watch many of our alumni grow and maintain successful careers, entertaining many with live performances by at venues locally and world-wide from working bands and artists such as Julie Fowlis, The Rezillos, Nazareth, Stiltskin, Runrig, Wolfstone, Belle and Sebastian, Texas and many, many more. #UHIMusicLive will allow this tradition to continue whilst we patiently await a return to live music."
Nicky Murray, an applied music graduate who studied at North Highland College UHI, is one of the alumni performing, he said:
"It is very sweet to be invited to play and to still feel part of the University of the Highlands and Islands community. To be looked out for and to be given work opportunities feels very nice. Many graduates are trying out their first year of freelance, and to arrive at the world in the state that it is in at the moment has rendered many of these musicians below the poverty line. This is a great help."
Erin Ponsonby, a popular music graduate at Perth College UHI who will also be performing, added: "I am so grateful to have been asked to perform at the #UHIMusicLive online gig and also to be paid for my performance, especially during these times with Covid preventing musicians all over the world from performing live. After the release of my Little Town EP in April, my plan was to be touring Scotland but unfortunately Covid-19 measures prevented me from doing so as all my gigs this year have been cancelled. So being able to perform live again, even to a virtual audience, is very exciting and I look forward to watching the other artists too. This goes to show that even after graduating, the University of the Highlands and Islands continues to support their musicians in every way that they can which is very humbling."
Alison Wilson, Head of Development at the University of the Highlands and Islands, added: "We have had such a great response from the donors invited to support #UHIMusicLive. The spirit of community, people coming together to help our students and alumni through the challenges faced by Covid-19, is just wonderful. A huge thank you to everyone who has stepped forward to help us this year.
To watch any of the live performances, visit the university's Facebook page every Wednesday and Friday night at 8.30pm, for four weeks from 18 November. You can also 'like' the university's page to get notifications when the alumni go live.