Rebecca Harris and her partner, Franklin Mockett, formed multi-disciplinary project, Samana, when they embarked on a spontaneous year-long trip across the natural wilderness and cities of Eastern Europe.
In 2019 they set themselves an enormous challenge when they moved into a rundown farmhouse in rural Wales, “it was a complete shell of a house, with no water or electricity”, Rebecca recalls. That year, they spent their time juggling their music career with manual labour to rebuild their home using age-old traditional building methods, whilst sleeping in a caravan outside the house.
By early 2020, after gaining some momentum following their debut album, they had saved up enough money from their live performances to travel to a remote area of France to spend two weeks recording new music. Little did they know, just a day after arriving, the country was about to be locked down.
“The implications of COVID couldn’t have hit at a worse time”.
Rebecca and Franklin were ineligible for government support and had lost all prospects of upcoming work. Living so remotely meant there were few opportunities to pick up alternative work and, as they have no access to an internet connection, they had no way of performing online to generate an income either.
Early into lockdown, Rebecca was hugely relieved to be supported by Help Musicians’ Coronavirus Hardship Fund, support that would continue for 15 months. She comments: “given our circumstances in living rurally, it’s a different kettle of fish. We are completely reliant on our income from live touring. It highlights the importance of this fund, in facilitating the foundations of life; allowing us to be able to eat and sustain our principal needs.”
“Being helped during a time like this is the difference for many individuals between being a musician or not being a musician” Rebecca said. “The incapacity to comprehend a future where we are able to fulfil our needs to share our creations has been incredibly painful, but the Hardship fund really has eased the load in allowing us to focus on our work in the face of such uncertainty, and has eased our worries with regards to maintaining the financial obligations of bills and food shops.”
With no idea when live performances would be a possibility, many musicians were forced to leave the industry, however Rebecca remained adamant that music was her calling, expressing she “could never give up music. Music is imperative for the soul.”
Having endured such a challenging year both financially and emotionally, the charity is so pleased to hear that Samana return to live gigging this September; their first performance since December 2019. “I’m so looking forward to playing live again”, Rebecca says speaking about the upcoming gig, “it’s so overwhelming to have not played in so long. I know I’ll be nervous as it’s been such a long time, but I’m interested to see what happens.”
Join us on Thursday 2 September as Samana take over Help Musicians’ Instagram , sharing their experiences of performing Samana’s first live gig in over 18 months.
In 2021, our centenary year, musicians continue to need support to survive, create and thrive. Your donation will go directly to the frontline of securing a future for musicians.
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