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Musicians help offer shelter to Oxford's homeless
Buy this photo » David McMahon, David Fullerton, Joseph Aristide and, front, David Thompson
A GROUP of Oxfordshire musicians are working together on a song to raise funds for the homeless this Christmas.
David McMahon, 26, from Cowley, often known as ‘Pringle’, was homeless himself for a year when he was aged 14.
He co-wrote the hip hop track with producer Jeebase, from Gloucester, which also features Joseph Aristide, known as Bobo, from Blackbird Leys, who also used to be homeless.
The song focuses on the issue of homelessness at Christmas and is called The Night Shelter, after the shelter in Luther Street, Oxford.
Six musicians feature on the track — David and Bobo, together with Michael Hicks, from Bicester, Charlton Allen, from Bicester, Lewis Byfield from Bicester, and Miles AG, from London.
Oxford Homeless Pathways, which runs the night shelter and is backing the music project, provides a range of services for homeless people aged 25 and over.
Mr McMahon, who is a British Gas engineer, said: “My mother had volunteered for the charity before and said it was a good cause to work for.
“Not everybody on the track has been homeless – but myself and Bobo have been before and that’s also why we wanted to work for the charity. The local artists we got involved were friends of mine.
“The idea was that friends on Facebook always ask you to donate for a charity run or a sponsored skydive, but you don’t get anything back from that. I thought if we created a track that wouldn’t cost anything to make, everyone who donated would each get a track to keep.”
All the people involved have given their time for free, including production and meetings.
A video is currently being produced to help support the cause on YouTube and other social media.
Mr McMahon added: “The track is finished and we’re now filming the video “It will all be finished at the end of November, so it will be ready for Christmas.
“It’s a good time to think of people who are homeless – for one thing, the weather is freezing.”
Lesley Dewhurst, chief executive of Oxford Homeless Pathways, said: “We’re really excited and Pringle, as we like to call him, and one of the other musicians came to look around.
“He played us the track and it was really good.
“Christmas is the sort of time of year when people are much more aware of how things can be very lonely and distressing for people over this period.
“Let’s hope that the track will go viral.”
The song will be released at the end of November on iTunes and will cost 99p.
All profits will be donated to Oxford Homeless Pathways, which will be about 78p per track sold after fees are deducted.
Funds will go direct into providing homeless people with training and education to gain new skills.
“Darling it is late now and I’m wondering where you are,
Things are getting dark here and the snow’s about to fall.
I did not know
That you were hungry and homeless and stuck here alone with no place to call home — you fall
I was wondering where you are.”
To find out more about Oxford Homeless Pathways, see oxhop.org.uk