On New Year’s Day, Louis (AF) and I will be appearing at Scot:Lands, a series of performance events happening throughout Edinburgh as part of its Hogmanay celebrations. The afternoon features dozens of artists across ten themed stages around the city. Ours is ‘Heart:Land’, presented by Roddy Hart:
“Curator of the famously fabulous and ongoing “Roaming Roots Revue”, Roddy Hart, one of Scotland’s key (musical) players assembles a stellar line-up of brilliant and emerging home-grown musicians playing both material inspired by a place and paying homage to the great songs that connect them to their Scottish roots. An afternoon of hope and nostalgia, a unique journey into the Heartland of Scottish contemporary music.”
Featuring Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire, Withered Hand, Andrew Mitchell & Alice Marra (Hazey Janes), Louis Abbott & Sarah Hayes (Admiral Fallow) and Tommy Reilly.
The Celtic Connections train has begun its rumblings. Always an exciting time of year! I’ll be playing three concerts in different guises throughout the festival…
23rd January, Tron Theatre: Inge Thomson‘s Da Fishing Hands is a beautiful collection of songs and instrumentals inspired by Fair Isle and the sea. Inge has also recently been nominated for Composer of the Year at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards! tickets
24th January, Glasgow Art Club: This will be the debut outing of a duo with fiddler Fiona MacAskill; our Wildings bandmate Jen will be away on three month Live Music Now residency in Mumbai, so she gave us her blessing! We’ll be supporting the wonderful Finlay MacDonald & Chris Stout. tickets
29th January, Oran Mor: A solo show, with Adam Cohen headlining. tickets
I had a great time at Gran’s House Studio last week, recording my Celtic Connections New Voices composition, Woven. Big thanks to Phil Hague (drums and percussion), Ali Hutton (guitar), James Lindsay (bass) and Angus Lyon (engineering and patience) for their sterling efforts laying down the ‘engine room’ of the album. I’ll be back in the studio early next year to add the rest of the parts, along with Fiona MacAskill (fiddle) and Mairearad Green (accordion): can’t wait! The recording project has been made possible by an Emerging Excellence Award from Help Musicians UK, for which I’m very grateful.
Really looking forward to playing a solo set at Edinburgh Carers Council‘s fundraiser gig on 23rd October at Electric Circus. Also on the bill are the mighty Withered Hand and Blue Rose Code. Should be a great night (and it’s my birthday)! Ticket info here.
I’ve been enjoying the opportunity to play in some classical music settings recently, and the challenge of getting my flute chops up to scratch! Following on from Northern Lights Wind Quintet’s Saturday lunchtime performance at St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee, I’ve two more concerts coming up in October. Flutes en Route is an ensemble that started life while its members were all students at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). I joined the quartet in 2010, and since then we’ve had lots of great times from recitals to community concerts and the development of a musical storytelling project in conjunction with Live Music Now. We’ll be playing a varied programme at Stranraer ‘Music For All’ (St John’s Church, Stranraer) on Friday 3rd October at 7.30pm.
October also sees the launch of The Glasgow New Music Expedition, a group I’m very proud to be part of. The ensemble performs music by living composers, and will open its concert season at the Arches, Glasgow, on the 17th. Our Artistic Director, Richard Greer, has been working hard to organise it all: no mean feat. GNME now needs an extra boost to its infrastructure to ensure that everything runs in a smooth and professional manner, doing justice to everybody’s hard work so far. If you’re interested in giving the group a hand, take a look at GNME’s kickstarter campaign here. Earplugs at the ready, I’m off to practise the piccolo now…
I’ll leave you with this fascinating video – discovered by accident this morning – reminding us all that everything has its purpose and part to play in a bigger system.
It was a privilege to be part of National Theatre of Scotland’s Blabbermouth – a twelve hour celebration of Scottish writing in song, poetry and speech – on Wednesday 17th September. A hugely uplifting, moving and enjoyable experience. Read a round-up from Brian Ferguson here.
I’m off for a return visit to Ramsbottom Festival with Admiral Fallow tomorrow, having first played there in 2012. It has a great line up, friendly atmosphere (and good food stalls if I remember correctly…) Then, the following weekend brings a trio of shows: another outing of Inge Thomson‘s superb Da Fishing Hands at the inaugural Findhorn Bay Arts Festival, a lunchtime concert in Dundee with Northern Lights Wind Quintet, and a solo gig closer to home at the Glad Cafe in Glasgow, supporting Kim Churchill for Glow Arts.
I’m also really looking forward to beginning work with another Belt It Oot singing group next week. I had a wonderful few months teaching on the project earlier this year, and am so pleased it’s been awarded more funding.
Over and out for now…
I am absolutely delighted to have received an Emerging Excellence Award from Help Musicians UK, which will provide a vital contribution to the recording of my Celtic Connections commission, ‘Woven’. I’ve booked studio time for later in the year, and can’t wait to get started! For more information about how to apply for these awards, keep an eye on this page for the next deadline. Many thanks to Help Musicians UK for their support.