The Refugee Festival Scotland and Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita at An Lanntair

  • Published on: 19th June 2019
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This week Caroline McKoen, Fundraising Development Coordinator from The Refugee Survival Trust, tells us how the charity are working with musicians Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita to celebrate Refugee Festival Scotland which takes place from Thursday 20 – Sunday 30 June 2019.

I had the good fortune to have tickets for Catrin & Seckou’s performance in Glasgow during Celtic Connections last winter. It was one of those dark, wet evenings when everything feels close around you and you’re doubting the wisdom of having left home. There was a fair bit of grumbling and sniffing as the audience dripped in and shuffled to find seats but within moments of the first notes, we were all transported by music both delicate and beautiful but at the same time powerful, uplifting and restoring.

I had been in a new job with the Refugee Survival Trust for about two weeks and migration and the plight of asylum seekers and refugees here in Scotland was very much on my mind. So, to come across music that was also exploring the idea of migration and that gave a new context to the act of moving between worlds was really exciting and inspiring – much like the music itself. Rather boldly, I introduced myself to Dilwyn, Catrin & Seckou’s producer, after the show and in subsequent meetings and conversations we discovered a natural alliance between the themes that Catrin & Seckou are exploring in their album SOAR and RST’s values and work here in Scotland. This led to Catrin and Seckou’s open-hearted offer to collect donations for RST on their Scottish tour.

I love how Catrin & Seckou’s music is such a fantastic, collaboration between ages-old musical traditions that speaks so directly to the here and now. For me, it’s a reminder and an example of how we can all benefit from new sounds, new ideas and new connections. A New Scot myself, I’ve been fortunate to work in and around music or performance and with issues relating to refugees, migration and diversity for more than twenty years. Since moving to Scotland my passion for bringing people and ideas together through music has taken flight again.

Thig crìoch air an t-saoghal, ach mairidh gaol is ceòl.
The world will end but love and music will endure.

The Refugee Survival Trust (RST) is a Scottish charity providing practical support to asylum seekers and refugees, especially those who are at risk of destitution. RST also supports refugees and asylum seekers to access employment and educational opportunities; raises public awareness of issues affecting asylum seekers in Scotland and campaigns for a more humane asylum system. Find out more at

Catrin & Seckou will be live at An Lanntair on Monday 24 June. Get your tickets now –