THEY banded together through a shared love of music and the shared experience of fleeing danger in their home countries.

Today a group of asylum-seeking and refugee musicians from Glasgow will take centre stage at the climate summit the whole world is watching.

Aref Ghorbani of Musicians in Exile told The National that playing at COP26 will be a “once in a lifetime” experience: “We are not just performing for our local community, we are now also performing for wider community of people from all around the world.”

The group is based across the river from COP26in the city’s Govan district, which has long served as a home to varied migrant communities. Founded in 2018, it provides free instruments, rehearsal space, travel expenses and gigs to marginalised music-makers.

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Today eight members – Iranians Ghorbani and Milad Gharibi, Zimbabwean Eyve Madyise, Chile native Jose Rojas, Midya Jan from Syria, Angaddeep and Param Singh Vig from India/Afghanistan and Scotsman Calum Ingram – will perform music from their homelands as well as original compositions created for COP26.

These deal with the impacts of climate change on refugees and vulnerable communities around the world and call out a warning to the global leaders attending the UN talks.

Ghorbani, a vocalist and sitar player, says it’s an “honour” to perform in the event’s official green zone at the Scottish Events Campus. Musicians in Exile was one of 200 acts selected by organisers from around 1000 hopefuls. He said: “We are all really proud, we are all really honoured to be part of this.

“We’ve played in some amazing venues but this is really, really important to us and I’m looking forward to a fantastic outcome from COP26.”

Ghorbani was a scientist before he fled Iran for the UK. The middle eastern country was the most commonly named place of origin for people claiming asylum in the UK last year. In October 2020, a Kurdish-Iranian family of five were amongst seven people who died when a small boat sank off the coast of France.

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They included 15-month-old Artin, six-year-old Armin, nine-year-old Anita and their 35-year-old parents Rasoul Iran-Nejad and Shiva Mohammad Panahi.

It’s feared that the impacts of climate change will drive more people from their homes in the coming years as rising temperatures make food cultivation more difficult, leading to more hunger, and extreme weather like floods, storms and drought-related wildfires having a stronger affect on populations.

Ghorbani said he wants to sound a “warning” to world leaders through song. He and his bandmates only learned they’d been selected around six weeks ago and have been rehearsing ever since.

He said: “We know how important this is and how important it is to have participation as refugees and as New Scots.”