Just Ama-Zing!

If music be the food of love …

A local woman is working to build a stronger and happier community by deploying two secret ingredients – music and food!

Ama, who lives in Ferry Road Drive, started her monthly Ama-zing Harmonies evenings in West Pilton Neighbourhood Centre back in March – and attendances have grown and grown. Monday’s session saw more than forty people of all ages enjoying food, company and a chance to sing songs together

Ama and her husband came to North Edinburgh from Nigeria in 2005 and West Pilton is now very much the family home.

“I have been here quite a long time now and I feel very fortunate. I have a husband and two children and I feel at home here, but I know there is also deprivation and antisocial behaviour. Some people have very little.. I have gained so much, and I thought to myself : what can I give back?

“I sing and write songs and music, so that was the start of the idea. Music helps people to feel good and everyone likes to eat, too, so I put the two things together and came up with the idea of Ama-zing Harmonies as a way of bringing the people of our community together.”

From small beginnings in March the group has grown in size with each month that passes.

“People enjoy meeting and talking to other people in a social setting, and Ama-zing Harmonies gets people of all ages and cultures together. There are no age or race barriers – everyone is welcome here. We bring food along, eat together and sing together – it is such a simple idea but it lifts the spirits; singing is very good for you!”

Ama-zing Harmonies is run on a shoestring budget – it receives no funding and Ama, who works part-time, currently meets the costs of the sessions herself. “The Neighbourhood Centre is right in the heart of the community in West Pilton and it is perfect for us. It costs £20 for an hour for us to hire our room and that is quite a lot of money when you do not have much. It would be great if we could get some funding to support the group.”

Ama has no fixed plan for the future but she would love to see the group develop and grow further. “I didn’t know how things would grow when I started the group – but now I don’t want it to stop! Perhaps we could do public performances as a community choir in the future, that is one idea, but for the moment it is good that people can just come along and participate. You do not have to have a wonderful voice – everyone can sing and everyone can be a part of our group.”

Ama-zing Harmonies meet on the last Monday of the month at West Pilton Neighbourhood Centre from 6 – 7pm. The next session takes place on 31 July – all are welcome.

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