Oi Musica uses the music of street bands to bring people and communities together. Initially a creative partnership between musicians Olivia Furness and Marcus Britton, Oi Musica was founded to create high quality music experiences for all. We are based in East Edinburgh and we work throughout Scotland and beyond. In 2018 we gained social enterprise status, and as such are committed to creating music opportunities for those who might otherwise miss out. We are now working with an increasing pool of musicians and community music practitioners to achieve this.
Founders Olivia and Marcus are united by a shared passion to inspire, include and educate through music. We believe that music making should be for everyone – regardless of age, experience, or any other factor; and we are committed to broadening participation in music. As an organisation, we are increasingly focusing on work that can provide lasting benefits for individual participants as well as the communities where they live. We work with a huge range of organisations to achieve this, including schools, community centres, youth groups, local authorities, arts organisations, community organisations, festivals and bands at all stages.
A Bit of Background
Our shared passion for street bands, carnival music and outdoor arts has led us on many a musical adventure together. In 2004 we co-founded Orkestra del Sol – Scotland’s first and only street band working in the French fanfare style. Orkestra del Sol went on to tour the UK, Europe, India, China and Australia. The band has released 4 albums, recorded live sessions for BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio Scotland, and has gained critical acclaim both on the UK’s street theatre circuit and the wider music scene. Our experience of writing and recording with the band has been invaluable, as has the experience of creating street shows and touring internationally. We are dedicated to creating more opportunities for more people to play in street bands, and we are passionate about working to develop a thriving street band scene in Scotland.
After rediscovering her passion for music at The Edinburgh Samba School in 2001, Oli went on to develop her skills as a percussionist and performer with a host of bands, projects and performance companies. In 2002 she met Marcus at the Brighton Samba Encounter – the UK’s first national gathering of samba bands – and by the end of 2003 they had started rough rehearsals with what would become Orkestra del Sol. Oli plays tenor sax, clarinet, samba drums, congas and percussion. From 2008-10 she studied Afro-Brazilian percussion under the expert guidance of master drummer Ravin Jayasuriya (One Voice Music); she has written and arranged music for a variety of projects and bands and has many years’ experience as a professional touring musician. She has worked in music education since 2003, and alongside this has cultivated a successful career running projects and events , including as Co-Founder and Director of Scotland’s first dedicated street band festival – the Encontro Street Band Festival.
Having been encouraged by musical parents to start learning the french horn aged 7, Marcus had the best possible start for a brass player, going on to teach himself trumpet and later sousaphone, which he played with Orkestra del Sol for 11 years. He now has over 20 years’ experience as a performing musician, bandleader, composer, brass arranger and teacher, has conducted orchestras and directed a diverse range of bands and ensembles. Since catching the bug for street band music after joining Brighton’s Carnival Collective in 2000, Marcus has never stopped having fun with street bands! Marcus also DJs, and dabbles in digital music production. He has produced original soundtracks for film, theatre and dance pieces, and has created a number of live electronic acts – including digital dub cumbia duo Cucumelo Radio and the inimitable festival smash hit Grandma Staflash – watch this space!
Oi Musica creates inspirational musical experiences. Our projects, events and workshops celebrate the joy of group music making, and we are passionate about increasing participation in music throughout Scotland, particularly amongst young people.
Our work is inspired and informed by a diverse skill set, with our combined experience including marching band, samba bateria, orchestral and digital music, as well as outdoor arts, education, international collaborations and professional performance.
We are a social enterprise, working across the education and events sectors, with extensive experience in both. We run our own projects and programmes as well as working as guest artists, educators and musicians on a wide range of external projects. We specialise in the following three areas:
A catch-all term for any kind of music that can be made out of doors, on the move and with no need for amplification – the street band offers endless exciting possibilities. We work predominantly with samba drums and brass sections, but we’re happy to include all sorts. Every street band is different, involving anything from half a dozen players right up to 100 massed drummers.
Our passion for creating and working with street bands continues to flourish with each new project. We have established a number of groups in communities throughout Scotland – both adult and youth – and we continue to work with many on a long term basis.
We offer everything from one off taster sessions and open have-a-go workshops to educational programmes, massed band extravaganzas and advice and support for setting up your own street band or horn section. Just get in touch!
Digital Music Making
Our digital music making workshops provide participants with the opportunity to use drum machines, samplers, keyboards, record decks and effects units. Working with hardware in this way – as opposed to using music software on a screen – allows participants to develop musical skills that are tactile and hands on. Players can develop their musicianship in a tangible way, with the added possibility of making music in a group. Our digital music workshops can be tailored either towards creating a band, or to developing individual music writing and arranging skills.
Music has an incredible power to unite. It is a fantastic and effective tool for creating meaningful shared experiences. We have worked with a host of organisations, companies and businesses to create accessible and rewarding activities, using music as a tool for bringing people together. Whether you’d like something structured and challenging, or just a fun shared experience away from the office, Oi Musica can create bespoke team events to suit any organisation, big or small.
photos by Chrisdonia (firstname.lastname@example.org)