Karuna the band, from left Arngeir Haukkson, Lewis, Abi Rooley-Towle


From Scotland to Canada via London, four musicians and an artist came together during lockdown to create a song to raise funds for Médecins Sans Frontieres, to help the worlds most vulnerable people. Here, Moray-based singer songwriter, Abi Rooley-Towle explains how it happened. 

Like a prayer flag

A wish for a better world mixed with creativity and kindness is a powerful recipe for creating a song to see us through these corona times. It was these qualities that brought our team – four musicians, and an artist – together in a group project through lockdown to create a song to raise funds for Médecins Sans Frontieres, to help the worlds most vulnerable people at this time.

It is a time of global uncertainty, sickness, death, poverty and despair but our human qualities of kindness, resilience, creativity and collective problem solving will be what sees us through.

I, the singer song writer, was inspired by the image of a prayer flag which is used to send blessings around the world. I reckoned that a song works in much the same way so I wrote this song for people to join in the chorus and send collective blessings for healing around the world. By turning it into a video with a donate button it then allows people to help in practical ways too.


A shared humanity

A dual experience of helping and the action of singing together around the world unites us as a global human family . “We are in it together” and solutions to all the associated corona problems will be addressed more effectively if we can remember this shared humanity.

Creating the song long distance was not without its problems – lack of experience and poor equipment meant there were many hurdles to overcome- recorded bird song, back firing motorbikes, an ill tuned recorder to name but a few! The beautiful cover art work was done as a bespoke project by artist Yuni Ko, in Canada. Three of the musicians live in and around London but could not meet up and I the singer song writer live in North East Scotland. Many of us had never met so the whole project relied on digital communication and the common held wish that holds this project together.

Once it was finished it took weeks to get it through copyright as everyone at the agency was furloughed and there was no one available to answer questions. Finally the song was ready to launch and Medecins sans Frontieres felt like a good fit as a charitable home for the song. They work across all countries in the places that need it the most for people who need it the most. It is the worlds most vulnerable that need the most help and so we hope that this song for a good cause will contribute in raising funds for their tireless efforts in helping people.

The band Karuna

As the songs creators we have decided to set up a band as a result of working on this song together. We are calling the band Karuna, which is Sanskrit for compassion. It feels an apt name for a band that is born out of this crazy time and a wonderful piece of creativity at an otherwise fairly barren time.

We will work together around the nucleus of my other songs and will start by creating a song cycle inspired by this time called “Songs for Our Time.’ Our new band logo is another piece of artwork by Yuni Ko alongside the cover art work for the song.

I have called the song “Heartsease” as it is my wish for our hearts to have a little collective healing and peace through joining in the song . May it rekindle a calmness and a hope and a care for each other at this time and bring a little light. And, like the lyric line in the song may we “pass the flicker from hand to hand” and send it round the world to create ripples of healing and help.

You can help by donating to the HeartseaseSongCampaign HERE on JustGiving 

This post was first published on Abi’s blog: Abi’s World of Music 

Read more from Abi on Walking Heads blog: Love and kindness in a time of Covid   

Feature image is by Jan Mosiman: Flying Kite CC BY-ND 2.0

Main image at the top of this page is a screenshot from the video showing newly formed Karuna band, from left Arngeir Haukkson, Tamsin Lewis, Abi Rooley-Towle