Singer-songwriter Kathryn Joseph and filmmakers Adura Onashile and Laura Cameron-Lewis have collaborated on a musical and cinematic tribute to the late Beldina Odenyo Onassis, also known as the Heiress of the Accursed.
A short film featuring a new Joseph-recorded version of Glasgow-based Beldina’s song ‘A Way From Rage’ has been on the Isle of Lewis and will premiere at the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival in Glasgow next month.
Beldina spent time there working on the theater show Move, one of her latest projects, which premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last year.
She had won acclaim for her work in Scottish music and theatre.
The 31-year-old singer made her last live appearance at the Scottish Album of the Year Awards in Edinburgh last autumn, and was due to present a headline show at this year’s Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow.
She had also worked with writer Hannah Lavery on her shows Lament for Sheku Bayoh, which was part of the Edinburgh International Festival last year, and Blood Salt Spring.
Named one of Scotland’s 30 most inspiring women under 30 in 2017, Beldina has been widely praised for her work exploring the African diaspora, her experiences living in Scotland as a young black woman and his mental health issues.
Joseph was asked by the festival to record a new version of A Way From Rage after Beldina performed one of his songs, The Bird, during his performance at the awards ceremony.
Onashile appears this year at the Edinburgh International Festival, in the lead role of Medea.
Joseph said: “Beldina was one of the most beautiful and amazing humans I have ever known. His songs are the most beautiful of all and it’s a total privilege for me to be able to sing one of them.
“The words she left us are important and I hope they help others. She has always been the kindest, most beautiful and beautiful champion of others and our hearts are broken that she is gone. . She was our goddess. And always will be.”
Onashile and Cameron-Lewis said: “We both knew Beldina and deeply admired her and her work.
“We wanted to give her a film that we hoped she would have liked, something that focused on the elements of dark and light in a landscape that she loved.
“We hope that this film, about the power of a woman facing and overcoming the grief she carries within, is a small tribute to Beldina herself and her immense gift for evoking the depths and contours of life. ‘human experience.”
Andrew Eaton-Lewis, arts program manager at the Mental Health Foundation, which runs the festival, said: “Beldina was an amazing artist and human being.
“One of his great gifts was the ability to write songs of empathy and comfort, songs with the power to help people through painful experiences, a gift often found in people who have struggled with their own mental health.
“A Way From Rage continues to be a powerful expression of that. We hope people find comfort in what Kathryn, Adura and Laura have created.