Hen Hoose launches Beldina Odenyo bursary

Songwriting collective Hen Hoose is launching the Beldina Odenyo Bursary, created in honour of the musician, singer, poet and Hen Hoose member who passed away in 2021

Article by Jamie Dunn | 17 Apr 2024
  • Musician Beldina Odenyo-image supplied by Hen Hoose

One of the most exciting and innovative projects to emerge on the Scottish music scene over the last few years has been Hen Hoose, the Glasgow-based songwriting collective featuring some of our favourite local musicians (think Amandah Wilkinson, Carla J Easton, Emma Pollock, Nightwave and Susan Bear, to name just a handful of the uber-talented 23-strong female and non-binary collective).

The good news is that Hen Hoose has just received some National Lottery funding through Creative Scotland which will enable them to continue the project for the next few years, and one of the most exciting elements of their upcoming plans is a new bursary to support and provide mentorship for an unrecorded artist.

The award is titled the Beldina Odenyo Bursary, named in honour of the late Hen Hoose member Beldina Odenyo, the Kenyan-born Scottish musician, singer, poet and writer who performed as Heir of the Cursed. Odenyo died in 2021 at the age of just 31 when her career was very much in its ascendancy. 

The aim of the bursary is to provide support and mentorship for an unrecorded artist, and will include studio sessions to record a debut track and help to plan its release. The award is open to female and non-binary musicians with no previous studio experience. “The bursary represents a unique opportunity for Scottish talent to learn from members of the collective,” says Hen Hoose, “while breaking down the barriers faced by many performers ‘caught up in the hustle’ of trying to share their sound.”

The bursary will be awarded by Hen Hoose founder and director Tamara Schlesinger and Odenyo’s sister, Leah McAleer. Speaking about the bursary, Odenyo’s family said: “Music was Beldina’s soul and solace. In the midst of dangerously underfunded creative industries, we hope that this bursary will support and sustain another struggling artist to find and form their song, and connect with the incredible Hen Hoose collective.”

Members of the Hen Hoose musicians collective sit on a variety of chairs and sofas in an orange-walled room.
(L-R) Cariss Crosbie, Tamara Schlesinger, Elisabeth Elektra, Kiana Kalantar-Hormozi, SHEARS, Carla J Easton, Jill Lorean, Djana Gabrielle, members of the Hen Hoose collective. Image: Demelza Kingston

Hen Hoose has plenty more planned for the coming months. It'll be running a range of new events to expand its offering to artists beyond its core collective. On offer will be audio production courses, songwriting camps, mentoring sessions, panel discussions and more. Hen Hoose is also releasing new music this year. Three EPs are planned, kicking off with Hen Hoose – EP 1 in June, which will feature collaborations from artists such as The Anchoress, Jill Lorean, Shears, BISHI, Inge Thomson, Djana Gabrielle, Lucy Parnell, Kathryn Williams, Elisabeth Elektra, and MALKA.

“We hope to shine a light on the talent that we have here in Scotland, while also creating pathways into the industry and making a real difference for local artists,” says Schlesinger. 

Applications for the Beldina Odenyo Bursary can be made through the Hen Hoose website from 6 May; applications close on 27 May. Visit henhoose.com for more information