Our Story

karine polwart

How it all began

In early 2020 a small group of Scottish artists began to discuss how to respond to Scotland hosting COP26 at such a crucial moment for global wellbeing and climate justice.

Oi Musica is an artist-led social enterprise that uses music to bring people and communities together. They specialise in street band music – massed drums, brass sections and collective celebration. The Soundhouse Choir is an all-welcome choir, where anyone no matter their level of experience can walk in the door and join the singing. With a shared belief in music’s power to unite and create positive change, the Soundhouse Choir and Oi Musica’s directors began discussions with multi-award-winning folk musician and theatre maker Karine Polwart. And ‘Enough is Enough’ was born.

The song was written collaboratively, with pilot funding from Creative Scotland. It was originally conceived for live performance during COP26 in November 2020. As the global pandemic took hold and the conference was postponed, plans had to change. The piece became a music video, and the idea to invite many, many more people to add their voice began to take shape.

What’s the big idea?

We envisage a crashing, tumbling outpouring of music that starts with a few small drops, gathering pace and momentum as more people join, and building to a climax during COP26 - a tidal wave of music and creativity that is hard to ignore!

From 1-12 November, world leaders and the world’s media will gather in Glasgow in huge numbers - both physically and digitally. Delayed by a year due to the global pandemic, The 26th UN Climate Change Conference comes at a critical moment, as multiple, interlinked crises unfold and intensify across the globe. The decisions made this November will affect us all.

Let it Grow is a call to action, an open invitation, a chance to express views and an opportunity to unite through music. It is a celebration of the power of collaboration and musical expression.

We are inviting people of all ages and from all walks of life to learn a simple song, or create something new on the same broad theme, and share it online in the weeks leading up to COP26. Anyone with a mobile phone can add their voice - no need for polished performances or big budget music videos. The power in this idea lies in the number of people taking part. We are stronger when acting together and everyone is welcome.

“Wherever there’s a tree that never grew - let it grow!”

The Song

glasgow streetlamp

Glasgow: The Tree, Bird, Fish and Bell

Selected to host what is widely recognised as the most critical global summit of our times, Glasgow is a UNESCO city of music with a rich cultural history. The city’s motto “Let Glasgow Flourish” and its coat of arms are connected to the legend of its founding saint, Mungo.

When writing the lyrics for ‘Enough is Enough’, Karine Polwart drew on the mythology of Saint Mungo and the ethical and ecological principles of our project partner, WEAll (the concept of learning to live with just enough and no more).

An old children’s rhyme about Glasgow and Saint Mungo goes:

Here is the bird that never flew
Here is the tree that never grew
Here is the bell that never rang
Here is the fish that never swam

The bird is the robin, which Mungo is said to have brought back to life and tamed after his classmates stoned it to death. It is beautifully represented in a city centre mural by the street artist SMUG. The tree, said to be a frozen hazel branch, was allegedly used by a young Mungo to rekindle the holy fire after it had been extinguished by his youthful peers. The bell may have been a gift from The Holy See, though no-one knows for sure where it came from or what happened to it. And the fish was a salmon with a ring in its mouth.

The tree represents both earth and fire, the bird represents air and the fish water. And the bell represents human spirit, as well as collective warning and action.

The stories and legends of the COP26 host city provide themes that are both universal, and particular to Glasgow.

The Movement

St Mungo mural

Building a Movement

Releasing Enough is Enough as a music video provided the opportunity to gauge interest in the idea of using music to respond to climate change and the wider economic systems which drive it.
Following widespread interest in the idea, Oi Musica focused considerable time on raising funds, building partnerships and bringing clarity to the idea.

‘Let it Grow’ was launched in mid-August 2021. It is a grassroots project, conceived by individual artists and supported by micro organisations working at community level. Alongside inviting musicians and performers of all kinds to take part, the project aims to amplify the voices of regular people from all walks of life, sharing their lived experience of the inequitable systems which fuel climate change, biodiversity loss, weather-related disasters and rising inequality.

If the idea resonates with you - grab an instrument, learn some of the lyrics, write something fresh and share your message loud and clear! See ‘How to get involved’

“Wherever there’s a bell that never rang - you can ring it!”

Share and connect on Social Media

  • #MusicForCOP26