Musical mentoring project leads to Parliament

SongCatcher project creator and founder Jackie Bristow (left) has been working with talented...
SongCatcher project creator and founder Jackie Bristow (left) has been working with talented young Southern musicians, including Freya Jeffery, of Dunedin. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Young Dunedin musician Freya Jeffery, 12, is in for a thrilling experience, when she joins international musician Jackie Bristow in performing at Parliament next week.

The creator and founder of the Central Otago-based SongCatcher songwriting and performance mentoring programme, Bristow is taking two of her young pupils, Freya and Taylah Miller, 12, to Wellington for the launch of the SongCatcher/Youthtown EP Volume 1.

"It’s going to be very exciting for all of us to be there and perform in that space," Bristow said.

The SongCatcher project began when Bristow, who maintains a busy international touring schedule, was in lockdown in New Zealand during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In conjunction with national not-for-profit youth empowerment organisation Youthtown, Bristow started leading songwriting and performance workshops for young musicians, and SongCatcher was born.

Her sister Katrina Bristow is also involved in the project, helping to co-ordinate and teaching performance.

Bristow said the most exciting part of the project was the lyrical development of the youngsters, aged from 9 years to about 15 years, and the upbeat nature of their songs.

"It has been a beautiful thing to connect with these girls and help them to find their voice," she said.

The six-song EP, including Freya’s song Reach the Highest Peak, was professionally recorded and mixed, and produced in Nashville, with the support of Bristow’s international "music family".