Innovative songwriting collective Hen Hoose launch Beldina Odenyo Bursary in honour of acclaimed musician and theatremaker

Open for applications from 6 May, the new bursary will support a female or non binary unrecorded artist, and comes as the Glasgow-based project gets set to expand its work over the next two years thanks to Creative Scotland funding.

Musician Beldina Odenyo. A woman playing the electric guitar.

Musician Beldina Odenyo. Image supplied by Hen Hoose.

Glasgow-based songwriting collective Hen Hoose is set to offer a range of new music activities having received support from The National Lottery through Creative Scotland, which will enable the project to run as a not-for-profit organisation for the next two years.

As part of these exciting plans, Hen Hoose are inviting applications for the newly-established Beldina Odenyo Bursary, created in honour of the acclaimed Kenyan-born Scottish musician, singer, poet and writer, who passed away in November 2021.

A much-loved and missed member of the Hen Hoose collective, the bursary made available in Beldina’s name will provide support and mentorship for an unrecorded artist, including studio sessions to record a debut track and help to plan its release. 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, while breaking down the barriers faced by many performers “caught up in the hustle” of trying to share their sound

Applications open on 6 May and close on 27 May, with artists asked to submit details of why they would benefit from the bursary, along with a rough demo that showcases their music.

Made possible by The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award shortlist prize fund that Hen Hoose received for their 2023 nomination, the bursary will be awarded by Hen Hoose founder and director Tamara Schlesinger and Beldina’s sister, Leah McAleer, who hope to honour the memory of the leading musician.

Speaking about the bursary, Beldina'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.”

Established during lockdown by artist Tamara, Hen Hoose was originally envisaged as a way to connect Scotland’s talent pool, helping local songwriters, producers and artists become more confident in their own music, while collaborating on exciting new projects across multiple genres. Since then, Hen Hoose has experienced huge growth and success, with collective members featured in Hollywood films, Netflix shows, global TV adverts and theatre productions – and now even more Scottish creatives will be welcomed into the fold.

Over the next two years, Hen Hoose will run a range of new events and expand its offering to artists beyond its core collective, introducing audio production courses, songwriting camps, mentoring sessions, and panel discussions, as well as releasing new music through collaborative songwriting projects and live performances. The main goal of the new activity is to offer wider opportunities for female and non-binary artists in Scotland, who are not currently collective members, enabling them to further develop, connect and collaborate through a number of different schemes.

Tamara explained: “Hen Hoose was a lockdown project that has become so much more, and the funding from Creative Scotland will now allow us to make a real impact in the music industry in Scotland over the next two years. It will ensure that we can create a wide range of opportunities for female and non binary artists, composers and producers.

“The stats speak for themselves – only 20% of artists signed to major labels, and 17% of composers registered at PRS, are women. So, 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. We are excited to be able to widen the opportunities that we already have in place in Hen Hoose, and to offer artists the chance to collaborate, develop new skills, and expand networks. Plus, we will continue to produce more exciting music within the core collective.”

In early June, new seven track multi-genre EP Hen Hoose – EP 1 is set to be released, featuring collaborations from artists such as The Anchoress, Jill Lorean, Shears, BISHI, Inge Thomson, Djana Gabrielle, Lucy Parnell, Kathryn Williams, Elisabeth Elektra, MALKA and many more. The first of three EPs to be released in 2024, the debut collection works to highlight the talent of the core Hen Hoose collective, showcasing an incredible range of music and production skills.

The first audio production course made possible under the new funding will take place on May 13 and 14 at Chem19 studios, hosted by Novasound. The two-day audio course will be adapted to the level of the applicants, and will primarily focus on widening the knowledge of artists who are already starting to produce music but want to gain a more solid understanding of the process.Details of how to apply for Hen Hoose’s new quarterly mentoring project, songwriting camps, and the first panel event, will be released in May, with the first activities taking place in June.

Siobhan Anderson, Music Officer at Creative Scotland commented: “Hen Hoose has made such an inspiring impact over the last four years in supporting female and non-binary musicians across Scotland. Their activity helps to break down barriers in the music industry, ensuring that emerging artists have valuable opportunities to grow and learn from each other and from mentors. Hen Hoose’s plan to increase and diversify their activity over the next two years will contribute to making the Scottish music scene a more vibrant and supportive landscape for up-and-coming talent.”Applications for the Beldina Odenyo Bursary can be made through the Hen Hoose website from 6 May, closing on 27 May.

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About Hen Hoose

Scottish musician Tamara Schlesinger formed songwriting collective and music production house Hen Hoose in 2020 as a response to inequality within the music industry. Hen Hoose unites a rich and diverse array of wonderfully talented, award-winning female and non-binary artists, writers and producers collaborating on the creation of exciting new music across multiple genres.

Based across the UK and Europe, members have individually created syncs for Hollywood films, Netflix shows, global TV adverts and have written for theatre productions, alongside highly successful careers as artists.Hen Hoose has been recognised by The Big Issue for their gender equality work and was named as one of their Cultural Changemakers in 2022. Additional recognition by the John Lennon Foundation in 2022, saw the organisation receive funding which, for the first time, enabled them to support artists beyond Scotland. Further support from PRS for Music in 2023 allowed the organisation to offer mentoring to artists across the UK.

Hen Hoose’s inaugural release, the Scottish Album of the Year Award nominated album Equaliser, written remotely during lockdown, was released in 2023.

About Beldina Odenyo (30 August 1990 to 5 November 2021)

Beldina Odenyo, who also performed under the stage name Heir Of The Cursed, was a vocalist, guitarist, poet and writer creating work between the fields of music and theatre. Her work explored the differences and kinship between her dual Kenyan and Scottish heritage through words, music and visual art, and as Heir of The Cursed, made songs influenced by the strange nuances of life, rooted in grief, Scottish weather, the constant and the inconstant.

About Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports culture and creativity across all parts of Scotland, distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information can be found at

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