News

Callout: dancers aged 16-25 needed to perform in The Jaialdia Mix

The Jaialdia Mix is an exciting new dance performance project for young people aged between 16 – 25 years old.

We are looking for a group of young people with some experience in traditional dance (with a special focus on highland) to be involved in a collaborative project with young people from the Basque Country. This free-to-participate international project is a unique cultural dance experience where selected participants will have the opportunity to visit, rehearse, socialise and perform together, creating a pop-up community of talented young dancers from two northern cultures sharing their indigenous music and dance.

Between June and September you will take part in 15 sessions, working with a professional choreographer and musician, to create a new dance of style that combines Basque and Scottish traditional dancing with contemporary styling.

This exciting new dance will be performed to original music in this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe (August) and then at the Atlantikaldia Festival in the Basque Country in September 2019.

Deadline: If you are interested in being part of The Mix ask for an enquiry form which includes details of the dates of the project from allan@dancebase.co.uk by Monday 10 June at 13.00.

The young people in The Jaialdia Mix will be invited to meet at Dance Base in the Grassmarket in Edinburgh on Saturday 15 June to receive full information about the project and to take part in an introductory workshop. The performers will be selected through the course of that workshop.

  • Dates:
    Saturday 15 June
    Sunday 16 June
    Saturday 22 June
    Sunday 23 June
    Sunday 30 June
    Monday 22 – Friday 26 July
    Between Monday 5 – 11 August (Dates TBC)
    Atlantikaldia Festival – September (Dates TBC)

The Jaialdia Mix is funded by Creative Scotland and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Youth Talent Development Fund. This is a partnership project between Dance Base, Scotland National Centre for Dance, Atlantikaldia and Etxepare Basque Institute, Basque Country with support from the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland and TRACS. 

News

SOLAS FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2019 LINE UP

Kobi Onyame, Niteworks, a solo performance from Honeyblood’s Stina Tweeddale and Solareye are among the acts for the tenth anniversary of Solas Festival this year, taking place in the brand new location of Errol Park, Perthshire.

Solas Festival is an all-age, three day celebration of the arts taking place over midsummer weekend at the beautiful, secluded site of Errol Park in rural Perthshire, overlooking the silvery Tay. Solas is designed to entertain, inspire and challenge with a wide-ranging programme of music, spoken word, theatre, dance, debate, workshops and more. There’s so much to get involved in, all in a safe, family friendly, chilled out atmosphere. Affordable weekend and day tickets are on sale now, with significant discounts for concessions, under 18s and free access for children under 12.

The Festival is being supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland, through their National Event Fund Programme.

MUSIC

Kicking off the festival with a bang on Friday night are the fantastic Niteworks, with their special fusion of traditional Gaelic music and electronic influences. Hailing from the Isle of Skye, they have been setting dancefloors ablaze since 2011, winning ‘Up and Coming Artist of the Year’ at the 2012 Scottish Trad Awards, followed by major performances at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, Glasgow’s Hydro Arena, many festivals and much more.

Our Saturday night headliner, Kobi Onyame, has been making waves in the UK hip-hop scene for years and we can’t wait to welcome him to Solas. Born in Accra, Ghana but now based in Scotland, Onyame is described by OkayAfrica magazine as ‘the UK hip-hop game’s unintentional preacher of sunny vibes’, with his music a vibrant spectacle that draws heavily on African culture – both sonically and visually. His latest album, ‘GOLD’, was shortlisted for the prestigious Scottish Album of the Year award in 2018 and has received widespread critical acclaim. The album mashes his Ghanaian heritage with contemporary hip-hop and creates an almost wistful echo of a yearning for home that somehow has its roots in the past and present simultaneously, inspiring a vibrant live show full of character, heart and soul.

Other musical highlights coming to Solas this year include a special solo performance from Honeyblood’s Stina Tweeddale, whose latest album ‘In Plain Sight’ is set for release this month amidst a string of live and festival performances. We will also welcome more Scottish hip-hop from Solareye, winner of Best Hip-Hop at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards in 2018. The big, brash sounds of Supa & Da Kryptonites will play the festival out on Sunday night with aplomb, and we also look forward to performances from the likes of critically acclaimed artists Kapil Seshasayee, Martha Ffion and Beerjacket. There will be a strong folk and traditional music presence across the weekend, welcoming back 2018 favourities Josie & Pablo, plus special slots from Savourna Stevenson & Steve Kettley, Brighde Chaimbeul, the experimental sounds of Jessica Danz and up and coming trad six-piece HEISK. Not to mention psych-folk singer-songwriter Lizzie Reid and epic camp-pop offerings fromHYYTS.

SPEAKERS, TALKS AND WORKSHOPS

Solas would not be the same without its extensive programme of non-musical contributions, from spoken word artists and comedians to politicians, activists, religious thinkers and poets. Highlights on this year’s programme include Scotland’s Makar,Jackie Kay, comedian Josie Long and up-and-coming young writer Chris McQueer. We’ll also be joined by Nadine Aisha Jassat, included in YWCA Scotland’s ’30 Inspiring Women Under 30’ in 2017, poet Juana Adcock, Scottish slam champion Calum Rodger, and theatre-maker Robert Softley Gale, the artistic director of Birds of Paradise Theatre.

We’ll also have Alastair McIntosh talking about non-violence, Donald Trump and the psycho-history of Lewis. Kenny MacAskill will be talking about Red Clydeside and the events of 1919. Gutter Magazine will present a show case of new Scottish writing. Kapil Seshasayee will talk about his concept album exploring caste discrimination in Scotland and the Desi diaspora, and Pádraig Ó Tuama will discuss Other Tongues, and writing between languages with Sara Shaarawi and Juana Adcock. Henry Bell will be talking about his recent biography of Scottish revolutionary John Maclean, Ricky Ross will talk to the man behind The Vow, Murray Foote about his journey from no to yes, and the festival will also explore the future of Scotland with Gerry Hassan and Simon Barrow.

FAMILIES AND ACTIVITIES

As a festival, we pride ourselves on providing a safe, relaxed, family friendly atmosphere. There is plenty of space and toys for your wee ones to play with, as well as participatory activities and performances to engage and excite them. The festival’s children’s programme promises enriching nature based activities like den-building and fire-cooking, perfect for a midsummer weekend in stunning Perthshire. Last year the children’s entertainer Mr Boom was a real hit, and the festival is delighted he’ll be back for another year! There will also be roaming street theatre for kids to get involved in with the Unicorn Dance Party, previously at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. And don’t forget that kids under 12 go free, so it really is an affordable weekend for all the family.

WORKSHOPS

From overtone singing to Indian ragas, Palestinian cooking to Scottish trad, circus skills to intimate theatre, Solas Festival will host an array of workshops to get your mind and body moving.

CHOIR OFFER

To celebrate the Festival’s tenth anniversary, Solas will also be welcoming choirs from across the country to attend the festival and form a special ‘super choir’, led by singer and workshop leader Corinna Hewat. Groups of ten singers or more are invited to attend and will receive a special 60% discount on tickets. Find out more information on the offer here.

NOTES TO EDITORS

Solas Festival

Solas Festival will take place from the 21st to the 23rd of June in Errol Park, Perthshire. Celebrating it’s tenth anniversary, Solas is designed to entertain, inspire and challenge with a wide-ranging programme of music, spoken word, theatre, dance, debate, workshops and more. There’s so much to get involved in, all in a safe, family friendly, chilled out atmosphere. Tickets are on sale now: weekend including camping £95/£60 conc/£30 under 18s and day tickets. Children aged under 12 go free. More information is available at www.solasfestival.co.uk

Follow Solas on Facebook and Twitter @solasfestival and Instagram @solas.festival.

EventScotland

EventScotland is working to make Scotland the perfect stage for events. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. For further information about EventScotland, its funding programmes and latest event news visit www.EventScotland.org. Follow EventScotland on Twitter @EventScotNews.

EventScotland is a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, the national tourism organisation which markets Scotland as a tourism destination across the world, gives support to the tourism industry and brings sustainable tourism growth to Scotland. For more information about VisitScotland see www.visitscotland.org or for consumer information on Scotland as a visitor destination see www.visitscotland.com.

 

News

BBC Radio Scotland Launches Search for Scotland’s Singer/Songwriter of the Year

BBC Radio Scotland is on the hunt for the country’s newest star with a brand new award to find Scotland’s Singer/Songwriter of the Year 2019.

The search will launch on Thursday 2 May on BBC Scotland’s Quay Sessions with Roddy Hart when chart-topping Scots singer/songwriter, Lewis Capaldi, performs before a live audience in Glasgow. Entrants will be able to apply online via a link on the BBC Radio Scotland website, details of which will be released during the programme.

The winner will be announced on BBC Music Day in September at a special event hosted by Deacon Blue’s Ricky Ross. Ricky, an acclaimed singer/songwriter, is also host of BBC Radio Scotland’s Another Country.

Entrants, who must be over 17, will be asked to submit short videos, featuring an original composition and a cover version of a favourite song by 5pm on Friday 31 May.

The award will be judged by a panel of industry insiders. Entries will be shortlisted by the judges to 10 who will then go to public vote in early September. The top 4 from the public vote will perform at a live final where the judges will select the recipient of the BBC Radio Scotland Singer/Songwriter of the Year 2019 award.

The final four will be mentored by songwriter and producer, Davie Scott. Davie, lead vocalist with The Pearlfishers, is also a leading light in the University of West Scotland’s Masters in Songwriting course. The grand finale will take place on BBC Music Day on Thursday 26 September 2019.

Ricky Ross said: ‘Great storytelling is at the heart of a great song. The lyric, the right chord change, the story and how that connects emotionally with us every day make a great song part of our lives. This award is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring singer/songwriters in Scotland and I am delighted to be involved.’

BBC Radio Scotland executive producer, Sharon Mair, said: ‘As far as musical talent is concerned, Scotland has always punched well above its weight. BBC Radio Scotland has been at the forefront of developing musical talent in Scotland for the past 30 years and I am so pleased we are launching this award, which will provide a great platform for new talent looking for opportunities in 2019.’

More info: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p073nw31

News

Fringe 2019 Tickets On Sale!

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2 – 26 August 2019

The world’s largest arts festival is almost upon us again and the Centre has the usual packed programme of top-class events for children and adults, showcasing stories in all their forms.

Children’s Shows

Specifically designed for babies, Celeste’s Circus is an award-winning show that offers a first trip for wee ones into the magic world of circus with visual thrills, spills, oohs and ahhs, and plenty of bubbles.

For older kids (5+), join storyteller Daniel Serridge at his dinner table of foolishness as he regales you with tales of disgusting banquets, salubrious suppers and measly meals, serving you a Feast of Fools. While Janis Mackay’s delightful family show Wee Seals and Selkies combines storytelling and music to create an enchanting performance, evoking the Scottish northern seashores.

Storytelling Sessions to Suit All

If you’re looking for traditional tales that suit all, Dougie Mackay has got a pocket full of Supernatural: Wonder Tales from Scotland, featuring strange places full of fantastic creatures, where the veil is thin, and the people are wise, wild and terrifying.

Telling the tale of the Viking’s arrival in Scotland, Danish storyteller Svend-Erik Engh and Scottish musician/singer Neil Sutcliffe, invite you to board their long ship of music and tales at Walk the Oars.

The Golden Fly is an epic tale of a shape-shifting goddess in search of her truth. Follow storyteller Alice Fernbank and musician Graham Dickson on a storytelling voyage laden with song and myth, presented through flute and voice.

Theatre to Inspire Change

Puppet State Theatre Company are enchanting us with two of their critically acclaimed literary adaptations, starting the Fringe run with JRR Tolkien’s Leaf by Niggle, a miniature masterpiece of enchanting storytelling for fantasy fans and phobics alike, followed by The Man Who Planted Trees, Jean Giono’s classic environmental tale using puppetry and inspiring storytelling.

David Greig’s Dr. Korczak’s Example, set in 1942 in the final days of an orphanage in the Jewish ghetto of Warsaw, tells the true story of Janusz Korczak, a Polish doctor and writer who championed every child’s right to freedom, respect and love.

Half music concert, half spoken word performance, (Can This Be) Home examines the immigrant experience of Brexit, performed by Kolbrún Sigfúsdóttir with flautist/composer Tom Oakes.

Stories with Something to Say

Ancient mythology and modern storytelling collide in Blood and Gold’s contemporary exploration of the legacy of colonialism and slavery by Scottish Kenyan storyteller Mara Menzies, which is part of the Made in Scotland showcase.

With Jenny Lindsay’s trademark wit and lyrical dexterity – This Script combines poetic memoir with a fierce call for empathy – delving into often turbulent contemporary waters.

Looking for a fantastic night out in August? Loud Poets: Best of Fringe showcases the top spoken word talent the festival has to offer, from the laugh-out-loud funny to thoughtful and emotional, there’s something for everyone.

In his dynamic solo-performance I am Mark, Stefan Smart recreates Mark’s Gospel the way the story was once narrated – as a full-bodied drama brought startlingly to life.

Experimental/Verbatim

For those who love to explore the experimental side of the Fringe, The Red Hourglass features five characters locked up together in a mysterious research facility – a unique horror comedy from Alan Bissett.

Dispatches on the Red Dress uniquely weaves immersive storytelling with live fiddle, banjo and genre-melding original songs, presenting new writing wrapped up in the warmth of a live gig from BBC Radio 2 Folk award-winner Rowan Rheingans.

Returning to the Netherbow stage to celebrate the centenary year of Hamish Henderson (1919-2002), On the Radical Road is an evocative, innovative, shape-shifting drama sculpted from Hamish’s poetry, music and songs.

The Night With… Evenings delivers three concert programmes over multiple days, featuring Scottish composers and poetry, aiming to showcase interesting music in informal spaces.

Scotland’s Greats

Burns for Brunch revives the nation’s favourite Scot with a twist, as the bard awakes in Auld Reekie 2019 sharing his thoughts, poems and songs, casting a satiric eye around his Scotland and ours.

Acclaimed musical duo Neil Adam and Judy Turner present the wit, wisdom, adventures and heartbreaks of the beloved author of Treasure Island, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, in Sing Me A Song: The Robert Louis Stevenson Show.

Classics Retold

You can’t beat a classic, which is why TumbleDry Theatre are serving you a fine selection of horror stories by iconic authors in A Trilogy of Horrors: Vol I (Dickens, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe) and A Trilogy of Horrors: Vol II (HP Lovecraft, E Nesbit, HG Wells) – guaranteed to give you a fright.

You can call the Centre for special preview prices, family tickets, accessible performances and 241 offers on 0131 556 9579 and browse further information on the fantastic line-up online.

You can also book the Centre’s events through the Fringe Box Office:
0131 226 0000 | edfringe.com

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News

Staying Healthy On Tour Workshop – 22nd May 2019, Glasgow

Check out this fantastic FREE workshop from The Musicians’ Union. Make sure you register soon if you’d like to go along.

 

In this free workshop you will learn how to stay healthy whilst on tour, by juggling the many demands that this has both on body and mind.

75% of musicians develop a health problem in relation to their occupation. Touring is intense, tiring and there is a higher risk of developing injuries or health problems which can have an impact on performance, career and personal well-being.

In this session we will explore the key areas that put health at risk while on tour.

These include the physical and emotional demands of touring, pain and injury, social isolation, maintaining a healthy diet, sleep, hearing, exercise, use of alcohol and drugs, and sexual health.

We will discuss strategies for tour planning, taking into account personal health issues, the impact of air travel, moving equipment, appropriate recovery times, vaccinations and strategies to promote resilience on tour. We will explore group dynamics, leadership and communication planning too.

Seeking physical and emotional support while touring can be difficult, particularly when working abroad. Planning in advance can help prevent some of these problems. We aim to raise awareness and share practical strategies to promote healthy artists and successful tours.

To register to attend this FREE workshop please email glasgow@theMU.org.

About Dr Pippa Wheble

Dr Pippa Wheble, a GP with a Masters in Performing Arts Medicine, will be leading this course. She works as an assessing clinician for BAPAM (The British Association for Performing Arts Medicine) and is part of the BAPAM Trainer Network.

She specialises in the physical, vocal and mental health issues for performing artists and teaches conscious breathing for improved mental health and well-being.

She is also a violinist and singer based in Edinburgh. She is experienced with performance anxiety and burnout and is passionate about promoting health and well-being for musicians and healthcare professionals.

About BAPAM

BAPAM’s healthy performance training sessions are designed to help you avoid the health problems often encountered in the course of an arts career. When problems do occur they provide specialist medical advice in their free clinics.

BAPAM (the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine) use evidence based clinical and educational approaches to support musicians, all performing arts professionals and students.

BAPAM run a regular free clinic in Glasgow for anyone working in performing industries. You can book a free confidential appointment by calling 020 7404 8444 or by emailing info@BAPAM.org.uk. The next two clinics in Glasgow take place on 10 May and 7 June 2019.

Visit BAPAM’s website for more information.

Event location

Scottish Music Centre, City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow G1 1NQ

News

Retail & Box Office Supervisor

Applications are now open for a Retail and Box Office Supervisor at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

You will play a pivotal role within the Scottish Storytelling Centre team by overseeing and supervising the box office and retail aspects of the Centre, leading a small team of permanent and temporary staff to ensure the provision of outstanding customer service for visitors to the Centre.

The role also contains responsibility for the Duty Management of the Centre on a rota basis.

You must have excellent communication, teamwork and interpersonal skills, be highly organised and able to demonstrate a flexible and adaptable approach to your work in order to meet the daily demands presented.

Numeracy and the ability to pay close attention to detail are essential along with a good level of IT skills.

This is a fixed-term post until 31 March 2021.  You will work 35 hours per week on a flexible rota which will include evenings and weekends.

The Scottish Storytelling Centre is a partnership between The Church of Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland (TRACS). The SSC is a vibrant arts venue with a seasonal programme of live storytelling, theatre, music, exhibitions, workshops, family events, and festivals.

  • Title:  Retail & Box Office Supervisor
  • Location:  Edinburgh
  • Hours:  35 per week
  • Closing date:  Monday 13 May, 12pm
  • Reference number: 13/19

Full Job Description

Application Form A

Application Form B

Applicants need to return Parts A and B marked ‘Private and Confidential’ to:
Human Resources Department, The Church of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4YN
or email: recruitment@cofscotland.org.uk

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Scottish Music Industry Association – SURVEY

All individuals working in any capacity in Scotland’s music industry are invited to complete the new survey to help inform future activities.

Deadline: 10th May 2019
https://bit.ly/2XX03iu

News

Digital Ghosts: New Gothic Storytelling in Scotland

The Scottish Storytelling Forum (SSF) is a membership organisation, dedicated to keeping the art of live oral storytelling alive and growing in Scotland – a diverse network of storytellers and individuals supporting Scotland’s vibrant storytelling community.  It’s facilitated by Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland (TRACS) and based at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

The SSF blog series hopes to introduce you to the many different strands within the storytelling scene in Scotland and Beyond.

This month, we hear from Rebecca Wojturska, lover of all things gothic and founder of Haunt Publishing, an independent publisher of Gothic fiction in all formats and creator of a new audio book that celebrates the various forms of oral storytelling throughout Scotland. The first, focusing on Gothic horror stories.

‘Oral storytelling has a strong tradition in Scotland, with a dark vein of the Gothic running throughout. From local lore to Burke and Hare and beyond, some seriously spooky tales haunt the history of Scotland and are kept alive-and-well through, not only traditional oral storytelling and haunted tours, but also through new modes.

‘My interest in storytelling blossomed when, during holidays in the Highlands, I would watch the local storyteller, who would sweep into a pub, adorned in a floor-length black coat and wide-brimmed hat, pockets full of props, and tell us stories in hushed whispers (which somehow carried through the room). The description of romantic landscapes blended with unease and fear was perfect. I sat, transfixed, jumping at all the right moments and nervously laughing if the storyteller broke the tension they had built with dark humour.

‘Since then I have enjoyed haunted tours and events at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh, which highlight the rich tradition that storytellers preserve and disseminate. From original stories of internal horrors to retellings of classics including Poe, Shelley and Dickens, the mode of storytelling has so much to offer when it comes to preserving local history and the literary tradition.

‘Alongside the preservation of traditional storytelling, new forms are emerging; new ways of orally transmitting stories that reach new audiences further afield. It has been interesting to see the development of digital storytelling, podcasts and spoken word events, all of which serve to communicate new stories that will hopefully be passed along and down through time.

‘When I founded Haunt Publishing in 2017, it didn’t take me long to decide what my first project would be. I not only wanted to celebrate the rich tradition of oral storytelling that I had grown to love within Scotland, but also the new and emerging forms, which bring new audiences. Basically, I wanted to showcase Gothic horror stories and storytellers from across Scotland working in the form today. Whether they were historians who deliver chilling tales of the likes of Burke and Hare, local storytellers who sweeps into pubs and storytelling events, writers involved with spoken word nights, or those who creates spooky podcasts, I wanted to celebrate it all.

‘Haunt’s anthology will showcase the range of oral storytelling, and some of the best storytellers, in Scotland: traditional tales told by well-known storytellers of the past (archived recordings licensed from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Scottish Studies); contemporary storytellers keeping traditional methods alive; and writers working in newly emerging oral spaces (e.g. spoken word events, podcasts).

‘Finding the storytellers was easier than anticipated, as the Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland website and the Scottish Storytelling Forum have a wonderful directory of storytellers and strong network of active professional tellers willing to help.  I was able to browse storytellers from across Scotland and narrow my search down to the spookiest of spooky tellers. I contacted those who hadn’t already contacted me, regarding submissions, and found the process of communicating and booking easy and efficient!

‘I’m proud to have a variety of names on board, including David Brown, Pauline Cordiner, Fran Flett Hollinrake, Sheila Kinninmonth and Daru McAleece. Each celebrate different modes of storytelling and will bring fresh telling to classic tales and local lore.

‘The anthology will also contain traditional tales told by well-known, respected storytellers of the past (archived recordings licensed from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Scottish Studies), including Stanley Robertson, Betty Whyte and Duncan Williamson. It will also showcase those involved in modern forms of storytelling, such as spoken word and podcasts. These are: Fiona Barnett, Paul Bristow, Chris Edwards, Gavin Inglis, Kirsty Logan, Conner McAleese, Jen McGregor, Paul McQuade, Ricky Monahan Brown, Jude Reid, Max Scratchmann and Dave Watson.

‘Although storytelling is best served live and face-to-face, not everyone is able to encounter this, perhaps owning to disability, monetary struggles or location. I therefore decided the core format for the project should be an audio book; a one-off purchase which can help bring oral storytelling into the home, to seep into the walls and create shadows in the corners. A key aim of the audio book is to bring this listening experience to this audience as well as to listeners across the world. A print book will also be available for the avid readers amongst the story-loving community.

‘This project is (as far as we are aware) unique: the first to bring together and showcase, in a single book, many forms of oral Gothic storytelling in Scotland, old and new.’

The anthology will be released later this year. Keep an eye on www.hauntpublishing.com and their Twitter feed @hauntpublishing

You might want to leave the lights on though whilst you give it a listen! 

About Haunt:
Haunt Publishing was founded in 2018 and is an independent publisher of Gothic fiction in all formats. Dedicated to exploring both traditional and contemporary Gothic literature, Haunt will promote global and underrepresented voices. Haunt publishes in any genre – horror, thrillers, mystery – that has a taste of Gothic. Haunt is led by Rebecca Wojturska, who loves all things Gothic. With three dissertations in Gothic literature and almost six years’ experience in publishing, she has finally combined her two loves.

About the Scottish Storytelling Forum:
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May Day Is Here! Dress Up, Dance & Celebrate the Arrival of Summer

May Day, known as Beltane in Gaelic, marks the beginning of summer in the Scottish Calendar. Yet some still argue that the Scots are a pessimistic nation…

Whatever the weather, traditionally life moved outdoors on 1 May after the long dark days of winter and TRACS is marking the celebration this year in traditional and new ways.

Just as Beltane Eve fires were once lit on hilltops across Scotland, the Beltane Fire Society perform a seasonal ceremony, including a wild mix of fire, drumming, dance and acrobatics, on Calton Hill on Tue 30 April, with a focus on climate change this year through the May Queen, the embodiment of the Earth. Follow the story as the May Queen awakens and transforms the Green Man from his wintery guise.

On Wed 1 May, many will watch the sun rise from Arthur’s Seat, and that evening ‘Stones of the Ancestors’ will evoke Scotland’s oldest landscape myths. Join Stuart McHardy and Douglas Scott as they launch their book, exploring Scotland’s standing stones and folklore legends, in front of the accompanying photography exhibition, on display at the Storytelling Centre until Sun 5 May.

On Sat 4 May the Edinburgh and Lothians May Day Procession will muster in Johnstone Terrace at 11.30am. This event links with International Labour Day, with the May Mummers (join in costume on the day) and processional musicians – led by Stan Reeves’ The Aye Notes – adding a splash of traditional cultural colour to the event.

On the same afternoon there is political song and declarations event Pith and Power, featuring Jenny Lindsay and Dick Gaughan. Then on Sun 5 May there is a ‘Come All Ye’ song and story ceilidh in tribute to Hamish Henderson in his centenary year, with a galaxy of Scottish folk talent including Lori Watson, Alison McMorland & Geordie MacIntyre, Nancy Nicolson and Margaret Bennett.Throughout this period Scotland’s capital is thrumming with traditional music and song through Tradfest. In addition to the music programme, partner venues including the Scottish Storytelling Centre and Edinburgh Filmhouse mount their own concurrent and complementary programming, ranging from film to spoken word, and family events.

All this creative activity puts the Traditional Arts in fresh and sometimes unexpected contexts.

Seasonal turning points such as May Day/Beltane continue to offer all Scotland’s communities ways to explore our relationship with the natural world, and to address environmental change.

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The Art of Treepling – Mini Traditional Dance Festival Announced on International Dance Day

The Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland & The University of Edinburgh present ‘The Art of Treepling’, a mini festival of percussive dance culminating the First Footing residency with international dance artist Nic Gareiss. 

TODAY, on International Dance Day, the grand culmination of the First Footing residency – The Art of Treepling – is announced. The mini festival of percussive dance including public workshops, masterclasses, work-in-progress showings, dance-for-camera screenings, panels and performances with international dance artists Sandy Silva (Canada), Colin Dunne (Ireland) and artist-in-residence Nic Gareiss (USA) is now on sale, and celebrates bringing Scotland’s dance communities and traditional musicians together to encourage renewed engagement, connectivity and support for traditional dance.

Colin Dunne, Sandy Silva, Nic Gareiss

The Art of Treepling weekend celebrates and unites these relationships and although it marks the close of the First Footing residency, it is just the beginning for imaging new futures for step dance.

Treepling is a phrase found in Joan and Tom Flett’s 1964 book ‘Traditional Dancing in Scotland’ which means “beating out the rhythm of the music with the feet” and was one of the lesser-known features of Scottish dancing that almost completely disappeared.

The residency has rejuvenated treepling, bringing the phrase back into the vocabulary of contemporary dance artists and educators and reaching across Scotland to bring new energy and support to the Scottish step dance tradition, as Nic Gareiss states:

Over the past six months of the First Footing residency, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of travelling widely throughout Scotland – from Aberdeen to the Isle of Skye, Inverness to Dumfries – to teach workshops, give performances, and offer professional development to step dancers and teachers. I have been overwhelmed by the warmth, enthusiasm, and tremendous heart across dance communities here.

There’s new palpable energy around percussive dance – the act of making music with our feet – which is a practice indigenous to Scotland that many dancers here are joyfully engaging with once again. In this spirit, I wanted to put together a weekend of events to culminate and celebrate the eight-month residency. The Art of Treepling weekend is a parting gift designed to intrigue, nourish, encourage, exhort and hopefully delight the rich community of dancers and dance lovers in this country, and we hope you can join us in Edinburgh from Friday 7 – Sunday 9 June!

 

The packed programme has been coordinated and supported by the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland and The University of Edinburgh who host 8 opportunities to engage, reimaging percussive dance as a rich cultural locus of music-making, creativity, identity and community-building.

Nic is an internationally recognised percussive dance artist voted Dance Magazine’s 2019 “25 to Watch” and we’ve been extremely lucky to have him in Scotland these past seven months, working with the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland to inspire and foster new connections, sharing footwork and his wealth of knowledge on traditional dance forms.

He has taken influence from Scotland’s communities and through the School of Scottish Studies archives to reimagine The Art of Treepling, which we’ll have the pleasure of seeing and hearing at his work-in-progress sharing on Friday 7 June. We also have the great honour of hosting two of Nic’s former teachers, acclaimed dance artists Sandy Silva and Colin Dunne who will share their years of practice in masterclasses, panel talks and the final treat – Treepling in Performance – featuring solos and improvisations by these three masters of contemporary percussive dance.(Michelle Brady, Dance Network Co-ordinator Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland)

Traditional step dance in a contemporary setting is the ethos of the First Footing residency, ensuring ancient methods are understood and utilised in modern times, with dance integral to human expression, as Wendy Timmons states:

2019 marks a celebratory year for dance at The University of Edinburgh. It is ten years since the MSc Dance Science and Education was launched and delivered at Moray House School of Education and Sport, which provides dance practitioners and artists with a distinctive route to academic study, research and optional qualified teacher status.

‘Over the past decade we’ve developed a strong “community of practice” where the conforms of dance are explored, challenged and questioned. The artist in residence project is a vital part of this community and Nic Gareiss marks our fourth successful residency, which has been a very distinct and rewarding journey.

DATES:           Friday 7 – Sunday 9 June 2019
LOCATIONS:  Scottish Storytelling Centre, St. Leonard’s Land Dance Studio, St. Cecilia’s Hall, The University of Edinburgh
TICKETS:       Available from the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s Box Office, 0131 556 9579

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Event Listings

Fri 7 June

Sat 8 June

Sun 9 June