Brass for Africa, an award-winning non-profit organisation focused on providing Music & Life-Skills education to disadvantaged children and young people in Sub-Saharan Africa, announces the launch of its first-ever all-female band: The Tayside Pearls.

Gender equality is a main strategic focus area for Brass for Africa and the organisation strives towards this by enforcing policies that ensure gender balance in their programmes, reducing the dropout rate of adolescent girls, and encouraging girls and young women to take up leadership roles within their organisations and communities.

Coinciding with their annual gender equality campaign in the month of March, Brass for Africa launched The Tayside Pearls on the 9th of March 2024. The project aims to challenge and change misconceptions and mindsets and showcase what girls and young women are capable of as they progress in their musical proficiency and life-skills.

The girls will come together to train at Brass for Africa’s training centre in Uganda, a country often referred to as “The Pearl of Africa”. This incredible all-female band is sponsored in memory of a Brass for Africa donor and female brass player Allison Thomson. Allison came from Carnoustie on the banks of the River Tay in Scotland. The Tay was a famous source of Scottish freshwater pearls which are rare, valuable and highly sought after. The girls who make up this band are also very special and highly valued; they are the pearls of the Brass for Africa programmes. Hence the name The Tayside Pearls.

Three times a year, The Tayside Pearls, an audition band comprising up to 30 girls from across Brass for Africa’s programmes in Uganda and Rwanda, will gather for a long weekend of intensive rehearsals, team building, social interaction, and workshops. Every long weekend will culminate in an inspirational public performance that will raise awareness of gender equality.

Lizzie Burrowes, Brass for Africa Director of Music Education, and conductor of The Tayside Pearls says:

“We acknowledge the distinctive challenges faced by our female participants and how this affects their access to our programmes. This band will create female leaders and role models who will not only change mindsets but also heighten motivation and dedication in girls across all our programmes. Allison’s legacy of The Tayside Pearls will champion equality for many years to come.”

Take action! You can make a difference by taking part in our #InspireInclusion campaign until the 31st of March.