Band bringing together refugees to share music from around the world 

Featuring refugee and immigrant musicians, The Other project explores the music of each member's country

An Edinburgh band made up of musicians from across the world is taking to the stage to perform its first record.

Launched in 2019 by guitar teacher Iain Mackechnie, The Other Project features an ensemble refugee and immigrant musicians in Scotland together to create music from different cultures.

The aim was to rally local musicians with lived experience of displacement together to allow members to share their diverse cultures and music styles with locals in Edinburgh. 

The Other is made up of seven musicians from Iran, Chile, Brazil and Scotland playing a variety of instruments including guitar, harp, sitar and percussion.

Guitarist and project founder Iain Mackechnie

Speaking ahead of their live performance at the Pianodrome at Ocean Terminal on Friday, Iain said they hope to promote understanding between cultures and help break down barriers through music.

He said: “The idea is we always perceive other cultures, other people as different to us.

“We may perceive that they may not share our values.

“But it’s about that everyone is ‘the other.’ We will always be judged by someone else’s perspective. Basically we’re all human.

“We want to be supportive of those who, through no choice of their own, have experienced forced displacement.

“It’s about bringing people together to play music, learning about each other’s musical styles and culture and the importance of music where they come from.”

The gig comes ahead of the launch of their debut album and is accompanied with an art display created by Yemeni artist Shantha Altwai, inspired by each musician’s personal stories.

Aref Ghorbani is a classically trained musician who came to Scotland from Iran as a refugee in February 2018.

Aref Ghorbani came to Scotland from Iran in 2018

He found out about the project through a friend in Musicians In Exile and joined jam sessions with Iain to sing and play sitar, before becoming a full-time member of the band.

He said: “The beauty of this band is that we are eager to learn more about each other.

“We have a free space to share our music and culture. We build up songs we made all together.

“It’s really positive to be a part of a band playing music that is different from the music in your home country.

“It’s encouraging that everyone is so open and interested. It’s been amazing and a pleasure to work with them.”

“I can’t wait to share our music with the wider community.”

The Other is performing at the Pianodrome in Edinburgh on Friday May 12.

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