A Colne Valley musician and an African community have come together in song.
Sophie Henderson, better known to some by her stage name Essy Beth, has created an uplifting video with Ghanaian children from the Ankoma Choir and a local musician, which was recorded while taking part in a six month volunteer programme.
Called Reaching Out, self-employed music teacher Sophie hopes it will raise money for the Ankoma Outreach, a non-for-profit organisation which supports a small village in the rural south central district of Kwahu who she helped by putting on music and singing workshops.
Now back at home in Slaithwaite, 24-year-old Sophie explained why she put it out.
“ I read about Ankoma Outreach and was inspired to join and help them”, she said.
“As a singer-songwriter I express my emotions, thoughts and feelings through song.
“Being surrounded by devastating poverty I wanted to create a song to raise awareness and money for the charity.
“It was very hard to see children smiling so brightly when they had absolutely nothing – some might not have even eaten that day.”
Working with a Ghanaian musician called Mensbeatz, Sophie created the track and wanted to involve the children in the recording.
She said: “The title Reaching Out seems perfect – it reflects Ankoma Outreach’s search for those in need to give them a helping hand in their daily lives.
“I created some of the song lyrics from direct conversations I had during my time with the children and the villagers.
“Some talked about what Ankoma Outreach did for them, such as “I was sick and you took me to hospital” , “I was roaming and you sent me to school” and “I was barefoot and you gave me some shoes.”
Sophie is determined to do more to help the good cause.
“I feel a huge piece of my heart is now with Ankoma Outreach and I am definitely planning on returning,” she added. “With the musicians I met out there I am planning to perform as an artist too at some of the Ghanaian bars.
“I plan to continually fundraise while in England.
“Just last week The Victoria Hotel in Newsome Huddersfield kindly donated £120 after hearing the ‘Reaching Out’ song at their open mic afternoon.
“And locally I plan on delivering African culture and singing workshops around different companies and schools this year.”
Anyone wanting to donate to Sophie’s cause via PayPal should visit the Ankoma Outreach website ankomaoutreach.yolasite.com
Anyone interested in hosting a workshop should email Sophie at firstname.lastname@example.org .