Beginning with St Andrew’s Day and running through to Burns Night, the Scottish Storytelling Centre in association with Scotland’s Winter Festivals entertains across the colder months by showcasing how Scotland’s traditions can bring people together, home and away, in cross-generational celebration.
Inspired by St Andrew himself, ‘Fisherman’s Feast, Sailor’s Rest’ on St Andrew’s Day has received support through Scotland’s Winter Festivals to bring the Galilean fisherman’s story of strength and sociability to life, accompanied by a sumptuous supper of fish and chips, celebrating cultural diversity and the contribution of exiles and migrants to Scotland’s culture.
Storyteller and author Donald Smith, who will recite the St Andrew story, said:
‘Andrew’s story is one of persecution and exile. But throughout he is a bridge builder, making friends and connections wherever he goes, even as a refugee. That makes him the patron saint of welcome and hospitality, especially in troubled times.’
The traditional, creative arts are a vital and diverse element of Scottish cultural life, valued by people and communities – locally, nationally and internationally – whatever their background. In Scotland, the traditional arts are underpinned by hospitality: sharing what we have to offer as people gather together, by invitation or coincidence, providing a means for voices hidden from mainstream society to be heard.
‘Fisherman’s Feast, Sailor’s Rest’ on Thursday 30 November at 7pm will embrace music, song, poetry and story with contributions from Marjorie Lotfi Gill, Carlos Arredondo and John Hamilton – representing Iranian, Chilean and Irish inheritances.
John Hamilton as host will intersperse the evening with a selection of short stories exploring tales of the sea that link Ireland to Scotland, and both to the rest of the world, as he states:
‘The sea is a road that leads away in hope or in despair. It may also be the road that leads home.’
Marjorie Lotfi Gill will share poems for her pamphlet ‘Pilgrim’, commissioned by
Enterprise Music Scotland, which loosely follow the experiences of her father who left Tabriz as a young migrant for America, returned to Tehran, and then left for good during the Iranian Revolution, perfectly exemplify the spirit of the first St Andrew’s Day in America 288 years ago, as Marjorie explains:
‘The poems consider loss of homeland, the work of assimilation, questions of belonging and how the places we are from never leave us.’
Carlos Arredondo is a self–taught guitarist and singer inspired by the Chilean folklorists, Violeta Parra and Victor Jara. He is one of the oldest Latin American performers in Scotland with more than 40 years’ experience and he will share poetry and songs that explore the displacement of people from one place to another.
Storytelling, music, song and dance can play a vital role in promoting understanding between people of different faiths, nationalities and abilities, so this is the perfect event to discover and take part in tradition.
Alongside this special evening for St Andrew’s Day, the Storytelling Centre have collaborated with Girotondo Italian Children’s Club to present a fusion of Italy’s stories and folk dances mixed with Scotland’s ceilidh tradition for an ‘Italian & Scottish Ceilidh’ full of fun and intrigue for all the family, on Saturday 2 December.
Dr Alasdair Allan, Minister for International Development and Europe, said:
‘Our patron saint, St Andrew was known for being strong, sociable and fair, encouraging people to share what they had with those in need. Celebrating St Andrew’s Day presents a powerful opportunity for Scots to keep the spirit of St Andrew alive, by coming together and helping others within their community.
‘This year, a wide range of events will take place across Scotland from Friday 17 November until Sunday 3 December, where communities will be invited to champion the values of St Andrew by coming together in a celebration that helps others.’
See www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk for further information and further events as part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals for Hogmanay and Burns Night.
Fisherman’s Feast, Sailor’s Rest | Thu 30 Nov | 7pm (2hrs) | £15
Italian & Scottish Ceilidh | Sat 2 Dec | 5.30pm (2hrs 30) | £5