Category Archives: Blog

The Dead Stations on TRADtv

Category : Blog , News , Press releases

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Dead Stations are out of use platforms on a remote train line winding through the forested mountains. An unscheduled stop leads a passenger to leave the train and continue on foot, straying from the path.

At 5pm Monday 27th June internet TV channel TRADtv will be streaming a live programme about our latest show, The Dead Stations.

The Dead Stations is an inventive cross-arts project by writer/producer Charlotte Hathaway and composer/performer Mike Vass, described by Alan Morrison in The National as “…one of the most ambitious projects to emerge in Scotland this year so far”.

The piece aims to tell a story by interweaving audio drama and music album, with animated visuals to focus the eye.

It began life as a recording project, which came about as a result of the 2013 Remembered/Imagined project which commissioned pairs of composers and writers to create a collaboration of words and music inspired by the School of Scottish Studies Sound Archives. The pieces were then performed by Mr McFall’s Chamber, an actor and a singer. It was the first time Charlotte and Mike had worked together creatively and they wanted to develop this concept to create a longer, more ambitious and more immersive piece.

“…a satisfyingly unsettling tale, perhaps made more so by the serenely beautiful music” **** TVBomb

Since its initial conception the project has grown arms and legs, involving animators (Nica Harrison and Atikah Zailani) and sound designers (Lewis Jones and Yoann Mylonakis) from Edinburgh College of Art. It attracted brilliant contributing talent from the likes of Ishbel McFarlane and Tommy Herbert (voice actors), Mairi Campbell and Yoann Mylonakis (musicians) and guestsKathleen MacInnes, Ian Watt, Euan Burton and Scott Mackay. A live tour developed, climaxing at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh, and the full animated film was showcased at Edinburgh’s Hidden Door Festival at the start of June 2016. The two songs for the project will be released as singles, along with a specially commissioned animated music video by Gavin Robinson for ‘Eyes Fixed’.

“Charlotte Hathaway has conceived a performance that compels on a number of different fronts, each one of them mesmerising”Folk Radio UK

The show on TRADtv will feature a segment of the main animated piece, an interview with Charlotte and Mike, and performance by Mike Vass and Mairi Campbell. The live audience will be invited to send in any questions they might have for the team. You can watch the show and get in contact with the station here. The recording is available as a CD (featuring the artwork by the project’s animators) released by Unroofed Records.

It’s a story designed to be listened to: a mystery about loneliness and the mind, inspired by a train ride through Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest and the tale of Little Red Riding Hood.

For more information contact charlotte@unroofed.com

The whole thing was made possible with the generous support of Creative Scotland, Arts Trust Scotland and Edinburgh College of Art.


The Dead Stations at Hidden Door Festival

Category : Blog , News

 

hidden door

After a great live tour, we’re delighted to be showcasing the recorded version of The Dead Stations (by Charlotte Hathaway and Mike Vass) at Edinburgh’s Hidden Door Festival at the end of May.

Hidden Door is a volunteer-run multi-arts festival dedicated to opening up disused spaces in Edinburgh, making them available to artists and emerging creative talent for new ideas and groundbreaking projects.

This year, from 27th May- 4th June 2016 Hidden Door will return to the amazing disused street lighting depot behind King’s Stables Road in Edinburgh for an event called ‘Hidden Door Electric City’. It will transform it, for one last time, into an area where the public can explore and discover live music venues, theatre spaces, bars, a cinema, and a multitude of art exhibition, installation spaces and some of Scotland’s best emerging creative talent.

Our show will feature the full Dead Stations album (we performed a stripped-down version for the live shows) with accompanying animated visuals from Nica Harrison and Atikah Zailani. There’ll also be a guest appearance of the music video animated by Gavin C Robinson.

Our piece is being shown in the cinema space at King’s Stables Road on the evening of Monday 30th May, exact time to be confirmed. See the website for further details.

Date: 30th May
Time: tbc (evening)
Venue: Kings Stables Road, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Tickets: £10 (£8) – ticket gives you access to all evening events for the day

 


VIDEO: Single launch Eyes Fixed by Mike Vass

Category : Blog , Videos

Talented animator Gavin Robinson has created a gorgeous new video for Mike Vass’s song ‘Eyes Fixed’, which features as part of The Dead Stations project. The track features the singing of Mairi Campbell and will be released as a single on 18th March.

 

eyes fixed vid image


VIDEO: Dead Stations Trailer

Category : Blog , News , Videos

Whilst making The Dead Stations, we’ve been lucky to work with two talented young animators, Nica Harrison and Atikah Zailani. They’ve made visuals to go with the live show, and a trailer. Take a look!


Press Release: Mike Vass/Mairi Campbell The Dead Stations

Category : Blog , Press releases

Press release

11th January 2016

DS flyer crop

Mike Vass and Mairi Campbell collaborate on exciting new project and tour

PRESS SHOTS OF MIKE AND MAIRI AVAILABLE HERE

 

Scottish musicians Mike Vass and Mairi Campbell have joined forces for the exciting new creative project The Dead Stations, which is touring Scotland in early 2016.

The Dead Stations combines live music, recorded audio drama and animation to tell the thrilling tale of what happens after a passenger alights at a deserted train station in a forest. The show is inspired by a train journey on a remote rail track, and by abstract ideas about Little Red Riding Hood.

Award-winning composer and multi-instrumentalist Vass has composed the music for the project. And in his first serious foray into songwriting, Vass has written the two stunning songs, Sleepless and Eyes Fixed, especially for the project. Vass’s last album In The Wake Of Neil Gunn was nominated for the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award 2015.

Campbell, who has just won Instrumentalist of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards, gives voice to Vass’s epic songs, which combine classical, electronic and pop influences.

Campbell and Vass will perform the score to The Dead Stations in the project’s launch tour, which culminates in a performance at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh. In the live piece, Campbell sings and plays viola and Vass plays tenor guitar and violin.

“I’m really proud of how the songs have turned out,” said Vass. “Mairi was the obvious choice for the songs and for this project. I love the tone, character and emotion that she conveys with her voice and with the fiddle.”

Campbell said: “I’m excited to be part of Mike and Charlotte’s vision to bring music and story together. Mike has such a unique and interesting songwriting voice. The songs he has written for this project are just gorgeous.”

The Dead Stations is written and directed by Charlotte Hathaway, an exciting new Glasgow-based writer, and is supported by Creative Scotland, Arts Trust Scotland and Edinburgh College of Art.

Vass and Hathaway first worked together creatively on the Remembered/Imagined project in 2013, which saw composers and writers pair up to create a new work that was performed by Mr McFall’s Chamber.

Hathaway said: “Mike and I wanted to build on our first creative project to make a more ambitious and immersive piece, and it’s been really exciting to tie all the different elements of that together. The actors, recording engineer, animators and sound designers have all been fantastic to work with, and Mike and Mairi are the most incredible musicians so this has been a creative dream team for me.

“In terms of the narrative of the story, I don’t want to give too much away at this stage. It’s quite dark, but I’m intrigued to see how the audience will feel about the characters in the end.”

**

HEAR SLEEPLESS ON SOUNDCLOUD:

soundcloud.com/mikevass/sleepless-feat-mairi-campbell

HEAR EYES FIXED ON SOUNDCLOUD:

soundcloud.com/mikevass/eyes-fixed-feat-mairi-campbell

**

Scotland tour dates

26 February – Skye @ SEALL Sabhal Mor Ostaig

27 February – Inverie @ Knoydart

28 February – Ardfern @ Craignish Village Hall

5 March – Banchory @ Woodend Barn

6 March – Drumnadrochit @ Glenurqhart Public Hall

11 March – Edinburgh @ Queens Hall – also featuring Yoann Mylonakis

ends

**

Editors’ notes

Twitter:

@saystheking (Mike Vass)

@mairimusic

@CRRHathaway

@UnroofedRecords

#deadstations

All show information www.charlottehathaway.com

Mike Vass, Mairi Campbell and Charlotte Hathaway are available for interview or comment

www.charlottehathaway.com

mikevass.com

www.mairicampbell.scot

 

About Mike Vass

Winner of the prestigious ‘Composer of the Year’ title at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards in 2012 and nominated ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ in 2014, Mike has been described as ‘one of the most original composers working in the field of acoustic music’ (Richard Lindsay, Ullapool Guitar Festival).

He is in great demand as a performer, composer, producer and teacher; regularly touring with Scots singer Fiona Hunter whose critically acclaimed debut solo album he produced and arranged. He has performed extensively in the past few years with a number of acts including leading Scots Song band Malinky, the Paul McKenna Band, The Battlefield Band, Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes, Siobhan Miller, Robyn Stapleton, in a duo with twin sister Ali, and with International super group Fiddle Rendezvous, featuring Bruce Molsky, Maryann Kennedy and Gerry O’Connor.

Mike’s New Voices Commission ‘String Theory’ debuted in 2010 at Celtic Connections, and was described as ‘the most direct and honest since the idea was first conceived … precision, subtlety and attention to detail’. One of the highlights, the avant-garde piece ‘Man’s Search’ inspired by Viktor Frankl’s best-selling book, was described as ‘utterly compelling’ and was subsequently featured by the Victor Frankl Institute in Austria to commemorate Frankl’s birthday.

In 2012 Mike went on to release his critically acclaimed solo project ‘DecemberWell’, a highly original, kaleidoscopic work inspired by the Scottish Winter month of December. In the summer of 2014  Mike undertook his most ambitious project yet: ‘In the Wake of Neil Gunn’, a Creative Scotland Traditional Arts Commissioning project featuring a mirror voyage of writer Neil Gunn’s 1937 odyssey and a new album of original music inspired by the trip. The resulting album was longlisted for the SAY Award 2015 and shortlisted for Album of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards 2015.

 

About Mairi Campbell

Mairi Campbell is an influential and pioneering figure in Scottish music. Her music has a rooted and powerful quality and her musical interests are wide ranging: from playing Scottish dance music to pushing the boundaries of the traditional music scene with her soundings and improvisations.

Mairi recently won Instrumentalist of the Year 2015 at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards; and has previously won Scots singer of the year and tutor of the year. She has also won the Live Ireland Music Award for best female musician of the year, as well as the award for best composition of the year.

Her voice was heard worldwide when her version of Auld Lang Syne (with David Francis as The Cast) was used in a pivotal scene in the film Sex and The City (2008). She has performed the song at the Kennedy Center Awards before President Clinton and at the Scottish Parliament.

Mairi is a skilled and experienced free improviser who has continuously developed her practice and found collaborators and mentors in this field. Most recently she has worked with Kath Burlinson (Authentic Artist Collective) and Paul Oertel and Nancy Spanier. She is also trained in InterPlay, a cross-form arts and community building practice. In 2007 Mairi founded her own music retreats on the Isle of Lismore.

 

**

For all press enquiries please contact Charlotte Hathaway on charlotte@unroofed.com or 07986121370


TRACK: A meditation on loss from Mike Vass

Category : Tracks

Mike has been in the studio this week recording a new single. We’re very please to announce it here. You can get it on bandcamp and shortly iTunes and other platforms. Thanks for supporting independent music!


Dead Stations tour dates announced

Category : News

https://soundcloud.com/mikevass/the-dead-stations

The Dead Stations by Charlotte Hathaway and Mike Vass

We are excited to announce the dates of our 2016 Dead Stations launch tour featuring Mairi Campbell:

“The whole forest has this feeling of going on forever. And if you lose track of the train line then you’re lost…”

A story told through live music, recorded actors and projected animation. Mike Vass and Mairi Campbell come together to create a haunting landscape of music and song.

Dead Stations are out of use platforms on a remote train line through the forested mountains.

The piece came about as a result of the 2013 Remembered/Imagined project which commissioned pairs of composers and writers to create a collaboration of words and music inspired by the School of Scottish Studies Sound Archives; and performed by Mr McFall’s Chamber, an actor and a singer.

It was the first time Charlotte and Mike had worked together creatively and they wanted to develop this concept to create a longer, more ambitious and more immersive piece.

The Dead Stations brings together music, sound design and recorded voice actors to build the atmosphere, with animators creating accompanying images.

It’s a story designed to be listened to: a mystery about loneliness and the mind, inspired by a train ride through Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest and abstract ideas about Little Red Riding Hood.

 

Written and conceived by Charlotte Hathaway, music and lyrics by Mike Vass.

Collaborating with: Nica Harrison and Atikah Zailani (animation); and Lewis Jones of Red Eye Sound Design and Yoann Mylonakis (sound design)

Featuring performances by:

Mairi Campbell (vocals and viola)
Mike Vass (tenor guitar and violin)
Yoann Mylonakis (piano)
Ishbel McFarlane (voice actor)
Tommy Herbert (voice actor)
Ian Watt (voice actor)
Kathleen MacInnes (voice actor)

Poster design by Lizzy Doe and additional material from Iain Hutchison, Euan Burton and Scott Mackay.

Supported by Creative Scotland, Arts Trust Scotland and Edinburgh College of Art

For more information contact charlotte@unroofed.com

https://soundcloud.com/mikevass/eyes-fixed-feat-mairi-campbell


Album of the Year Award Nomination

Category : News , Uncategorized

We’re over the moon that, after a fantastic year for the album, Mike Vass’ In the Wake of Neil Gunn has been shortlisted for Album of the Year at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards.

Voting is open until 20th November, and the Awards take place on 5th December. Take a look at the other nominations and vote here.


TRACK: Eyes Fixed by Mike Vass feat. Mairi Campbell

Category : Blog , Tracks

We’re working on an experimental new project combining scripted drama with music and animation for a record that’s not quite music album, not quite radio drama, and when seen live, isn’t quite animated film either. It’s a wonderful mixture of all the media. The project features original score by Mike Vass and writing by Charlotte Hathaway, as well as animation and sound design from Edinburgh College of Art. We’re very excited about it, and the sound is making an excursion from Mike’s more recognisable Scottish traditional melodies. The album ‘The Dead Stations‘ is due to be released at the end of February with a short tour of Scotland and launch at Edinburgh’s Queens Hall in March.

This sample track features vocals and viola from Mairi Campbell:

https://soundcloud.com/mikevass/eyes-fixed-feat-mairi-campbell

Supported by Creative Scotland and Arts Trust Scotland


In the Wake of Neil Gunn @ Edinburgh Fringe

www.acousticmusiccentre.co.uk
www.madeinscotlandshowcase.com

The 10-track recording, recently nominated for the Scottish Album of the Year Award, featured samples of “found sound” recorded on the trip (from flapping flags to Tobermory clock chime) and live instruments captured later in the studio. Highly original and genre-hopping across folk, classical and electronic styles, it is a suite of music that ebbs and flows, variously subtle and symphonic.

At the Fringe shows Mike will be joined by some of Scotland’s foremost traditional musicians who also featured on the album. While Mike plays tenor guitar and masterminds the sampling, Jennifer Port plays oboe and clarsach (Celtic harp), Hamish Napier is on piano and flute, Euan Burton plays double bass and Innes Watson plays guitar. Adding to the filmic sound is The Cairn String Quartet of Katie Rush and Catherine Robertson on violin, Annemarie McGahon on viola and Susan Applebe on cello.

The performance will integrate traditional, classical and electronic elements alongside film, photography and spoken extracts from Gunn’s work – vividly evoking the moods of the sea, weather and landscape in one memorable musical-maritime experience.


Mike Vass nominated for the SAY Award

Category : Blog , News

SAY-awardWe’re over the moon that our first release, Mike Vass’s beautiful album ‘In the Wake of Neil Gunn’ has made the longlist for the SAY Award. He’s up there along with fellow trad representatives Treacherous Orchestra as well as heavyweights like Belle and Sebastian, Mogwai, Paolo Nutini and The Phantom Band.

“The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award is a prestigious and exciting arts prize developed by the Scottish Music Industry Association to celebrate, promote and reward the most outstanding albums released by Scottish artists between (for this year only) January 2014 and March 2015. Inaugurated in partnership with Creative Scotland, The SAY Award promotes a longlist of twenty albums which, in turn, is reduced to a shortlist of ten in advance of the award ceremony when the winner is announced.

With a first prize of £20,000, nine runners-up prizes of £1,000 and a Graduate Design Commission valued at £2,500, The SAY Award is a hugely ambitious arts prize that reflects the cultural importance of music in Scotland, celebrates its links with art and design and rewards the extraordinary wealth of artistic talent we seem to effortlessly produce on an annual basis.

The SAY Award this year, has been an SMIA production in partnership with Creative Scotland and PPL. Our media partners are The List and The Skinny.” – SAY Award website

Over the next few weeks all of the albums will be streamed live (Mike’s on 11th May) and listeners will be able to nominate their favourite. Find out more about the process here. We love the SAY Award because it brings to a fore a great variety of new music we might not normally pick up. This year’s list is fabulous and we can’t wait to delight our ears with all these albums over the next little while.

Take a look at Mike’s nomination page here and find out more about the In the Wake of Neil Gunn journey here.

 


Crossing Points Encore

Category : Blog , News

Our exciting Scots/Gaelic bilingual collaboration between Fiona Hunter and Kathleen MacInnes returns to the Scottish Storytelling Centre on the 28th March as part of Trad Talk’s ‘Crossing Points’ day. The concert will feature really interesting approaches to fusing traditional Scots and Gaelic song, as well as accompaniment from Mike Vass.

“It was those two voices working in tandem … that served notice that they already have something special going on… a quality of vocal sound that made it exciting just to be in the same room.” **** Rob Adams, The Herald.

“inspired collaboration” **** Jim Gilchrist, The Scotsman.

You can get tickets here. In the meantime, have a listen to a preview:


Mike Vass at the Edinburgh Fringe 2015

Category : Blog , News

We are very excited to announce that we will be bringing ‘Mike Vass – In the Wake of Neil Gunn’ to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year. Watch this space for more information!


VIDEO series: Coming Home commission by Mike Vass

Category : Blog , Videos

Mike Vass was commissioned to write a new suite of music as part of a cross-arts project called ‘Coming Home’ which resulted in a pop-up exhibition at St. Margaret’s House, Edinburgh, this January. The music was written to be played by Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin’s Big Band – a group of about 20 musicians aged 12-18.  You can find out more about the project here.

The concerto was in three movements: ‘Leaving Home’, ‘Away Being’ and ‘Coming Home’.

 

The whole series in one film, including storytelling by Allison Galbraith:


PRESS RELEASE: New commission from Mike Vass

Category : Blog , Press releases

PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NOVEMBER 2014

COLLABORATIVE ARTIST JAN BEE BROWN LAUNCHES CROSS-ARTS PROJECT FEATURING PHOTOGRAPHY AND A NEW MUSIC COMMISSION BY MIKE VASS

10403076_352524491561619_4542633375739687403_nCollaborative artist Jan Bee Brown has commissioned Scottish fiddler and composer Mike Vass to write a suite of new music to accompany a pop-up exhibition, ‘Away Being’. It is part of a new cross-arts project called ‘Coming Home’, which was inspired by a series of photographs by Ian Paterson and John Maher, ‘Leaving Home’.

‘Leaving Home – A’ Fàgail na Dachaigh’ is a collection of photographs of abandoned croft houses by Ian Paterson and John Maher that was shown at An Lanntair in Stornoway in 2013. Jan Bee was inspired by the photographs and their stories, which told of the people who had abandoned these crofts. She envisioned a projected sequence of images accompanied by haunting music performed by groups of musicians appearing gradually as the sequence developed. She wanted to work with artists from different practices as well as community projects.

‘A collaborative art project is like skimming a stone across a pond,’ she explains, ‘an unusual pebble catches your eye, you weigh it in your hand, then you give it your best throw and hold your breath as you count the bounces. The pebble’s final ‘plop’ creates ripples of its own.’

This has materialised as ‘Coming Home – A’ Tighinn Dhachaigh’, a project funded by Enterprise Music Scotland which has engaged Scots Trad Award past winner and current nominee Mike Vass to work with Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin’s Big Band (25 young musicians meeting monthly at Summerhall in Edinburgh). During this process he has composed a new suite of music inspired by the photographs and the young peoples’ responses to a series of questions: What does coming home mean to you? How does leaving home make you feel? What makes Scotland feel like home?

‘We’re delighted to be involved in this project,’ says Charlotte Hathaway who directs the Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin Big Band. ‘Our goal is to really challenge our young musicians and take part in artistically exciting ventures. Coming Home has enabled us to be part of the creation of some gorgeous music and provided some fantastic performance opportunities.’

Informal pop-up exhibition ‘Away Being’ will premier the commission, ushering in 2015 by linking music, stories and visual art. The Big Band will be accompanied by live visuals from Video Lab’s VJ Mettje Hunneman and the exhibition will also feature photographs by Ian Paterson and John Maher with artwork by Liz Skulina, Catriona Taylor, Ulrike Oeter and Isabel Ferrand.

‘I’ve travelled all over the world this year,’ says Mike, ‘from touring in the USA to sailing the West Coast of Scotland in search of musical inspiration. Leaving home and coming home have become big themes in my life. It’s been really fascinating to develop these ideas with the young musicians from Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin.’

‘Away Being’ will be in residence in Gallery 1 at St. Margaret’s House from 15th December with a launch event 2pm-4pm on 4th January.

———————————————————–

Ends

Notes to editors

 

Away Being pop-up details

January 4th 2015 c/o Edinburgh Palette in Gallery 1 at St Margaret’s House, 151 London Rd, Edinburgh, EH7 6AE from 2pm – 4pm.

Parking at St Margaret’s House can be accessed via Restalrig Road South.

RSVP Jan Bee Brown: jbeebrown@mac.com

 

Mike Vass

Winner of the prestigious ‘Composer of the Year’ title at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards in 2012 and 2014 nominee for ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’, Mike Vass has been described as ‘one of the most original composers working in the field of acoustic music’ (Richard Lindsay, Ullapool Guitar Festival). He is in great demand as a performer, composer, producer and teacher; regularly touring with Scots singer Fiona Hunter whose critically acclaimed debut solo album he produced and arranged. He has performed extensively in the past few years with a number of acts including leading Scots Song band Malinky, the Paul McKenna Band, Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes, in a duo with twin sister Ali, and with International super group Fiddle Rendezvous, featuring Bruce Molsky, Maryann Kennedy and Gerry O’Connor. Mike’s New Voices Commission ‘String Theory’ debuted in 2010 at Celtic Connections, and was described as ‘the most direct and honest since the idea was first conceived … precision, subtlety and attention to detail’. In 2012 Mike went on to release his critically acclaimed solo project ‘DecemberWell’. A highly original, kaleidoscopic work inspired by the Scottish Winter month of December. 2014 has seen Mike undertake his most ambitious project yet: ‘In the Wake of Neil Gunn’, a Creative Scotland Traditional Arts Commissioning project featuring a mirror voyage of writer Neil Gunn’s 1937 odyssey and a new album of original music inspired by the trip.

www.mikevass.com

 

Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin

Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin is a volunteer-run organisation set up in 1995 by a group of parents who wanted to provide an opportunity for young people from across the city to come together and learn skills in traditional Scottish music. Over the past 19 years they have grown from strength to strength and, in addition to the hugely popular annual Easter event, EYG has a year-round programme of workshops and performance opportunities for young people aged 9 – 25. EYG has also developed several cross-cultural collaborations and runs the Big Band, which aims to bring 20+ high school-aged musicians together approximately once a month during term time to learn challenging new music, make group arrangements, and perform gigs.

Big Band performing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGDQjzs6Glo

www.eyg.org.uk

 

Leaving Home – ‘A’ Fàgail na Dachaigh’

Is a collection of stunning photographs of abandoned croft houses by Ian Paterson and John Maher that was shown at An Lanntair in Stornoway in 2013. www.leavinghome.co.uk

Ian Paterson www.camairish.com

John Maher www.theflyingmonk.co.uk

 

Jan Bee Brown & The Thrive Archive

The Thrive Archive was set up to research, celebrate and archive the stories of diverse community groups throughout Scotland using cross-art projects. From inner cities to remote islands Jan Bee has 25 years of experience working on collaborative projects as an artist, curator and theatre designer. This pioneering creative consultancy, driven by cake and bolstered by bunting, offers a new template for community groups and local artists to help create their own collaborative and sustainable arts projects that tell their story and help their community to thrive. www.facebook.com/thethrivearchive

Coming Home is a pilot project for The Thrive Archive.

Jan Bee Brown www.janbeebrown.co.uk

Liz Skulina http://lizskulina.co.uk

Catriona Taylor www.catrionataylor.co.uk

Mettje Hunneman of Video Lab www.videolabstudio.co.uk

 

Contact Jan Bee Brown jbeebrown@mac.com 07799852162


Mike Vass nominated at Scots Trad Music Awards

Category : Blog , News

We are delighted that Mike Vass has been nominated for ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ at the Scots Trad Music Awards 2014.

He said ‘I feel very lucky to be part of such a vibrant and growing Scottish music scene, and to have had the privilege of playing with so many great musicians and friends over the years.’

Voting is currently open until 28th November and you can find out more about his nomination and how to vote here.


First public performance of Mike Vass’ new commission for Coming Home

Category : Blog , News

Unroofed are working with Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin and Jan Bee Brown on a cross-arts project called ‘Coming Home’. Mike has been commissioned to create a sequence of new music to be performed by young musicians, which will get its first outing at the Queens Hall, Edinburgh on Saturday 15th November. Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin’s Big Band will support Kathleen MacInnes and Rachel Newton during the show. Find out more.

Coming Home- ‘a’ tighinn dhachaigh.’
10403076_352524491561619_4542633375739687403_nComing Home is a cross arts platform project exploring our rich and diverse culture and the importance of community in Scotland today. The project is inspired by the importance of a sense of belonging and by the powerful feelings associated with a sense of place. In 2013 photographs of abandoned croft houses in the Highlands and Islands, by Ian Paterson and John Maher, were shown in the exhibition ‘Leaving Home’ in Stornoway. These photographs acted as a springboard for a creative collaboration between Jan Bee Brown, lead artist at The Thrive Archive and composer Mike Vass. Mike’s composition has been funded by Enterprise Music Scotland and enables the young musicians of Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin Big Band to interact on both an emotional and creative level and work with a variety of creative artists. We hope this pilot project will result in future collaborations with diverse community groups and enable performances throughout 2015 interweaving this new composition with stories and images.

This is the world premier of work in progress, we are perhaps only half way through our collaborative journey so join us to see the result at The Thrive Archive on Facebook


Release of first official Unroofed Record

Category : Blog , News

We are delighted to announce the first official release from Unroofed Records, Mike Vass – In the Wake of Neil Gunn. The journey started over a year ago now, with Mike taken ill in hospital with Lyme Disease leading to the conception of In the Wake of Neil Gunn and Unroofed Records itself.

Huge thanks to everyone who was part of it, including Creative Scotland, Enterprise Music Scotland, House of Lochar and Calmac Ferries for contributing sponsorship. Also the fabulous designer Lizzy Doe who has made a lot of gorgeous artwork to go with the project, including the sleeve itself.

We’re still setting up our shop system but the album can be bought through the project website and on iTunes.

We have already begun our next album project which is a cross-arts concept album featuring drama, music, song, and animation in collaboration with Edinburgh College of Art. Watch this space for more on The Dead Stations.

Here is a music video made by Salmon Films for the track ‘Heave and Roll’, enjoy!


VIDEO series from In the Wake of Neil Gunn

Category : Blog , Videos

We’ve been producing a number of short films connected to the In the Wake of Neil Gunn project (some by Salmon Films and some put together by Mike). You can find out more about the tour here and pre-order the album here. Here they are in their full glory.

Mike’s original interview with Conxita Fornieles of Salmon Films at the School of Scottish Studies whilst he was researching music to play on the May tour. Transcriptions of the researched tunes are available for download here.

 

Mike improvises on the fiddle during a calm spot on the way from Arisaig to Tobermory, with a reading from Neil Gunn’s Off in a Boat by film-maker Stu Edwards.

 

Mike is joined by Innes Watson for a concert in Iona Abbey, where he explains Gunn’s experience in the place.

 

Whilst in Eigg Mike was privileged to interview the local historian Camille Dressler, whose book Eigg: The Story of and Island is considered to be one of the best resources on Eigg history.

 

The band rehearsing live in readiness for the tour.

 

Innes and Mike playing live at Iona Village Hall.

 

Innes and Mike playing live at Iona Abbey.

 

A clip from the concert in Arisaig featuring Angus Binnie, Tia Files, Sean Gray and Eilidh Shaw.

 

A time-lapse film setting up for the show in Lyth

 

Live performance during the October commission tour at Lyth Arts Centre

 

A time-lapse film of the Lyth take-down

 

Heave and Roll music video by Salmon Films


PRESS RELEASE: In the Wake of Neil Gunn Tour Dates

Category : Blog , Press releases

DSC00560

PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SEPTEMBER 2014

MIKE VASS RELEASES TOUR DATES FOR HIS TRADITIONAL ARTS COMMISSION, ‘IN THE WAKE OF NEIL GUNN’

In 1937, Neil Gunn quit his job at the Customs Office in Inverness to pursue his writing career full time. The first thing he did was to sell his house and buy a boat in the North of Skye. He spent a summer sailing Scotland’s beautiful West Coast, seeking inspiration for his writing. The following year his account of the trip, Off in a Boat, was published. In May 2014, after a time recovering in hospital from a life-threatening illness, composer and multi-instrumentalist Mike Vass set off on his own voyage inspired by Neil Gunn’s adventures as part of a new traditional arts commission sponsored by Creative Scotland. This October will see the touring of this commission and release of a new album.

Named Composer of the Year in the 2012 Scots Trad Music Awards, Vass’s music has become known for its originality and inventive approach to the Scottish tradition. A long-term member of renowned Scottish band Malinky, Mike has also performed in the Paul McKenna Band, in a duo with sister Ali, with Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes, Scots singer Fiona Hunter and in the feted super group Fiddle Rendezvous.

In 2013, he experienced a set-back when he was diagnosed with Lyme’s disease and was obliged to spend a prolonged period of time in hospital. His father brought him Gunn’s book Off in a Boat to read, and the idea for the project was sparked.

Says Mike: “I’d suffered a life threatening illness called Neuroborreliosis – late stage Lyme’s disease that affects the central nervous system. I found Gunn’s book utterly inspirational and immediately started planning my own version of the trip.”

A lifelong passion for sailing fuelled the development of the project which enabled Vass to find his own creative inspiration in Gunn’s coastal route. In May this year, having won the support of Enterprise Music Scotland, Creative Scotland, Calmac Ferries and Gunn’s publishers House of Lochar, Mike and a small crew set off in his father’s 35’ sailing boat from Portree on the Isle of Skye voyaging to the Eigg, Arisaig, Mull, Iona, Oban, Kentallen, Fort William and back up the Caledonian Canal to his hometown Nairn. He revisited the same coastal communities as Gunn and performed a series of concerts with guest musicians, including one at Iona Abbey.

He says: “Making music on board and watching the stunning coastline of Scotland slip by from one of the most privileged viewpoints on Earth is something I will never forget.” Though intimately inspired by Gunn’s voyage and writing Mike said: “It is inescapably the story of my own reflections. It is a journey of recovery and discovery”.

artworks-000086755784-rbz2uv-t200x200Since the voyage Mike has worked hard in the studio to compose and record a new suite of music inspired by the journey and featuring recorded samples collected on the way (from flapping flags to a diesel inboard). Says Mike: “I used some quirky sounding objects from around the house – if you listen carefully you might hear a toilet seat lid, an office stapler and a paracetamol tub being used as a shaker!” Mike will now tour the album, joined by some incredible musicians (The Cairn String Quartet, Euan Burton, Innes Watson, JenniferPort, and Hamish Napier) and featuring live sample triggers and film footage from the voyage recorded by Salmon Films.

The tour will revisit some of the areas most important to Gunn: Inverness, where he had lived; Caithness, where he was born; and Skye and Oban which were landmarks on the original voyage. Mike himself spent a week moored in Oban where he worked with the local Fèis and performed in nearby Kentallen. Mike is also looking forward to revisiting The Byre Theatre in St Andrews at the start of the tour. This is one of the first events to take place in the Byre since the reopening of the theatre under the management of the University of St Andrews, and demonstrates the University’s commitment to using the Byre to promote music of all genres as well as professional, community and student drama.

  • 7th October, 7.30pm, The Byre Theatre, St Andrews
  • 8th October, 8pm, Eden Court, Inverness
  • 9th October, 7.30pm, St. John’s Cathedral, Oban
  • 10th October, 7.30pm, SEALL at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Isle of Skye
  • 11th October, 8pm, Lyth Arts Centre, Wick

‘Mike Vass – In the Wake of Neil Gunn’ will be released on the 20th October 2014 on Unroofed Records, and a preview track has been released as well as downloads of sheet music transcribed by Mike during a research period at the School of Scottish Studies before the May voyage.

ENDS

NOTES FOR EDITORS

About Mike Vass

Named Composer of the Year in the 2012 Scots Trad Music Awards Vass’s last highly acclaimed album Decemberwell (2012) was another instrumental CD conjuring up both the chill and the warmth of the final month of the year. A long-term member of renowned Scottish band Malinky, Mike has also performed in the Paul McKenna Band, in a duo with sister Ali, with Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes and in the feted super group Fiddle Rendezvous.

Also building a career as a producer (he produced Scottish songstress Fiona Hunter’s debut album last year) the Nairn-born tunesmith is known for his classy compositions – he wrote and performed the soundtrack for Gavin Robinson’s Scottish BAFTA-winning Hart’s Desire animation and his jig Cavers of Kircudbright won the inaugural Neil Gow Composition Award and has been recorded by artists from Scotland, Ireland, France and USA.

Contact

For interviews with Mike Vass, hi res images, gig review tickets and further albums for airplay or review please contact Jane Brace PR on (01243) 789554 or j.brace@virgin.net

For general information about the tour contact Charlotte Hathaway on 07986121370 or charlotte@unroofed.com

Neil Gunn

Neil Miller Gunn (8 November 1891 – 15 January 1973) was a prolific novelist, critic, and dramatist who emerged as one of the leading lights of the Scottish Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. With over twenty novels to his credit, Gunn was arguably the most influential Scottish fiction writer of the first half of the 20th century (with the possible exception of Lewis Grassic Gibbon, the pen name of James Leslie Mitchell). Like his contemporary, Hugh MacDiarmid, Gunn was politically committed to the ideals of both Scottish nationalism and socialism (a difficult balance to maintain for a writer of his time).

Gunn’s fiction deals primarily with the Highland communities and landscapes of his youth, though the author chose (contra MacDiarmid and his followers) to write almost exclusively in English rather than Scots or Gaelic . Despite his lack of Gaelic, he was heavily influenced in his writing style by the language.

Ticket information

http://www.lytharts.org.uk/

http://www.seall.co.uk/

http://www.eden-court.co.uk/

http://www.obanmusicsociety.org/

http://www.byretheatre.com/

Key websites

www.inthewakeofneilgunn.com – a blog about the project including diaries from the trip and videos

www.mikevass.com

www.unroofed.com

Media links

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/mikevass/01-settled-in-clay – official preview track from the new album

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nrj149fkl3g&feature=youtu.be

Twitter

@saystheking

@UnroofedRecords


Mike Vass’ In the Wake of Neil Gunn available for pre-order

Category : News

We are very excited that you can now pre-order Mike Vass’ latest solo album through the In the Wake of Neil Gunn website.

It is ‘A journey of recovery and discovery’ – the exciting culmination of an ambitious project which has seen composer and multi-instrumentalist Mike Vass voyage round Scotland’s coastal communities, sailing, composing, and revisiting the 1937 journey of writer Neil Gunn.

The 10-track recording features samples of “found sound” recorded on the trip (from flapping flags to a diesel inboard) and live instruments captured later in the studio. Mike plays tenor guitar, fiddle, mandolin, dulcitone, melodica and percussion. Joining him on the album are some of Scotland’s foremost traditional musicians – Iain Hutchison on piano (who also co-produced the release with Vass); Jennifer Port on oboe and clarsach (Celtic harp); Hamish Napier on flute and whistle and Euan Burton on electric and double bass. Adding to the filmic sound is The Cairn String Quartet ofKatie Rush and Catherine Robertson on violin, Annemarie McGahon on viola and Susan Applebe on cello.

Highly original, it is a suite of music that ebbs and flows, variously subtle and symphonic, seemingly having arrived fully formed with edge, atmosphere, nuances and even boat creaks that makes you feel you are taking the voyage too!

Listen to a preview track here: 


New EP from Innes Watson & Mike Vass released

Category : Blog , News

We are pleased to announce the new EP from Innes Watson & Mike Vass ‘Live at Iona Abbey’ recorded during the In the Wake of Neil Gunn voyage in May 2014.

Download it here:


TRACK: Sneak preview from new Mike Vass album

Category : Blog , Tracks

We are incredibly excited that our first official Unroofed Record is with the printers and all set for its October release. In the meantime, here’s a preview track: Settled in Clay from In the Wake of Neil Gunn by Mike Vass.

Fabulous artwork by Lizzy Doe.

Find out more at inthewakeofneilgunn.com


Blog from the West Coast

Category : Blog , News , Videos

Last summer Mike frightened all of his friends and family by spending several weeks comatose in hospital, struck down by a very rare form of Lyme’s Disease which caused meningitis and encephalitis. Whilst he was recovering in his hospital bed he was given a copy of Neil Gunn’s non-fiction account ‘Off in a Boat’ to read. Mike has a lifelong love of sailing and was so inspired by this book that he decided that once he was well again he would recreate Gunn’s original trip to inspire his own composing. So we spent the month of May sailing this epic voyage. And as project manager, I thought I should at least get to come too (even though I’ve hardly done any sailing in my life and am definitely prone to seasickness).

The route was planned around the locations visited by Gunn as described in his book: Duntulm, Skye; Portnalong, Skye; Eigg; Arisaig; Tobermory; Bunessan; Iona; Oban; Kentallen; Fort William; and finally travelling up the Caledonian Canal to Inverness and eventually reaching Nairn for a homecoming celebration. The aim was for Mike to perform a series of concerts in the various ports, absorb the inspiring beauty of the west coast, and come home to write a new album to be toured in October. We’ve had a huge amount of interest and positive feedback about the project so far and support from Enterprise Music Scotland, Creative Scotland, Calmac Ferries and House of Lochar who originally published the book.

 

Concert 1: The Red Roof Cafe, Skye

In The Wake of Neil Gunn-25Our first stop was Skye, where NG bought his boat, The Thistle. One of the joys of this trip is that different guest musicians are joining Mike for each concert, so we arrived at Portree with harpist Jennifer Port and her husband Graeme. The guest musicians meant that each local concert was a one-off, flavoured by the place and the people performing with him. Mike spent a few weeks in the School of Scottish Studies Archives in preparation for the performances, looking for music local to each area he was to visit, transcribing them and arranging them to give something unique to each performance. You can read about that here. The Skye visit was characterised by transport logistics – it’s not simple to get about Skye if you don’t have a car, and changing weather conditions meant we had to have contingency plans in place and public transport identified. Fortunately a few very kind people were able to give lifts and be generally brilliant. Us inexperienced sailors were also all severely seasick on the first voyage and I honestly thought I wouldn’t make the month if things were going to be like that. Luckily things got better.

 

Concerts 2&3: Eigg and Arisaig

Guitarist/flautist Sean Gray and piper Angus Binnie met us in Eigg for concert number two. We were also joined for the first time by a couple of film-makers who are making a documentary about the trip. We’d had some lovely sailing by that point and had probably anticipated some kind of sleepy island watching the ferry come in and out and diligently shutting down for the Sabbath. Suffice to say Eigg folk are pretty wild, and anyone who has the privilege of being a guest on that island is in for an exciting time of it. By this time we were 7 of us (Mike had quite the entourage and the boat itself was skippered by his dad David) and it felt pretty crowded on the short crossing from Eigg to Arisaig. The numbers swelled again as Tia Files and Eilidh Shaw also joined the performance team for a mega line-up for the lucky Astley Hall audience that evening.

 

Concert 4: Iona

DSC01362We were selling copies of Off in a Boat and had sold out of books in Arisaig. Fortunately the publishers had diligently sent the last of their stock to the Iona Post Office for us, and got some reprinted in time for the next gig in Duror (the closest hall to Kentallen). It’s amazing how taken people are by the book, actually. It’s selling much better than any of the CDs!

Each concert has been coloured by something different. Eigg and Arisaig will always remain in my memory beautiful sunny places full of mad and welcoming people. Mull and Iona are mysterious lands picked out in drizzle, mist, and gales. Guitarist/fiddler Innes Watson joined us in Tobermory for the trip round to Iona. He didn’t get the smoothest of sailing experiences but he did get to play in the gorgeous acoustics of Iona Abbey. Iona was such a different experience from the likes of Eigg, but the hospitality was excellent and the audiences enthusiastic. Read more about it here.

 

5th Concert: Kentallen & Duror

Halfway through our stay in Oban, Mike delivered a workshop for Fèis Latharna and their Ceilidh Trail musicians. The Ceilidh Trail is a brilliant initiative which takes place all over Scotland. Young musicians are given a summer job performing as a band around the local area, earning a fee and learning about what it’s like to be a touring musician. These guys are still working up their sets, but we invited them to perform a support slot at the next concert which would give them some performance experience before the big tour. It was a great experience for everyone and they were brilliant.

We decided to stay in Oban that day rather than sail to Kentallen, and got lifts to the concert instead. Mike was joined by Scots singer Fiona Hunter  and whistle player/pianist Hamish Napier. The audience at Kentallen and Duror was brilliant. We had arranged the concert ourselves via a hall hire, which is always a risk and we honestly didn’t know if anyone was going to turn up. Luckily we had an enthusiastic hall committee on our side and they worked hard to invite people. We were told ‘nobody’s heard of Mike Vass but they love the concept’. Connie, our main contact, told me that they never get touring acts of that standard coming to play at the hall so it was a great novelty. They seemed to really enjoy themselves and were keen for a return visit. Hopefully we can make that happen!

 

Caledonian Canal

DSC01576Hamish joined the crew at Oban and we set out up Loch Linnhe towards the Caledonian Canal. He immediately instated Songs in the Cockpit (coming ready prepared with folders full of lyric sheets – suspiciously organised for a musician) and even wrote a couple of tunes during the voyage. You can hear his tune for the boat, Windsong, towards the end of this video.

The flavour of the voyage changed drastically when we hit Corpach. Suddenly we had moved away from salt water and were into the realms of locks, motoring, and not being able to use the sea toilet (fine for the guys, not so fine for one needing toilet paper). We made it up into the canal, paid our fees (offset by a bit of sponsorship from Scottish Canals – thanks guys!) and moored overnight, waiting for locking up at 8.30 the next morning when we would be taken through Neptune’s Staircase. I celebrated shore power by slow-cooking a bolognese on the electric hob. The boys not so pleased about the long wait for dinner.

It took us 3 1/2 hours to get up the series of locks from Corpach that makes up Neptune’s Staircase. I got to become very familiar with the different types of slime on the lock walls, and Hamish and Mike were particularly adept at standingaroundholdingropes. They made some friends along the way, a French couple heading to Norway with further plans to head across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. They keep a cartoon blog about it here. The canal itself was nothing like my expectations. Stunning mountains (Ben Nevis and friends) at the start, then huge lochs (Lochy and Ness) and tree-lined stretches that felt more like rivers than canal.

 

6th Concert: Coming home

DSC01633The boat lives in Nairn where Mike is from, so after an overnight stay in the Seaport Marina in Inverness, we completed our last set of locks and found ourselves back on salt water in the Moray Firth. I’d forgotten what sailing was like after just a few days of peaceful motoring through the canal! We saw our first dolphin too. It played at the bow for a bit before disappearing as we headed under the Kessock Bridge. The wind wasn’t with us that day and we mostly motored, but as we approached Nairn the sun decided to come out and the wind blew in the right direction to allow us to do the last little bit under sail.

It was odd to be back on dry land right enough. We had a few days to recover and then the final homecoming concert at Nairn Sailing Club. This was a real community affair with members of the Nairn Fèis (who Mike recently wrote a 10th anniversary tune for) and the Sailing Club who have known him since he was a boy. He was joined on stage by the last of his guest musicians – none other but the Skipper himself David Vass. It was a great ending to an epic voyage.

Now Mike is back in Glasgow about to start writing the album that will be based on the voyage. Take a look at the blog and follow for updates about the album and tour www.inthewakeofneilgunn.com.

Charlotte, Glasgow.


Follow the In the Wake of Neil Gunn blog

Category : Blog , News

neilgunn-webheader-1 (1)Mike Vass has launched his new website, www.inthewakeofneilgunn.com, with gorgeous artwork from Lizzy Doe. He’ll be spending the month of May sailing round the West Coast of Scotland recreating the voyage made in 1937 by writer Neil Gunn. Along the way he’ll be visiting some of the communities Gunn originally wrote about, meeting and performing for the people who live there now and exchanging stories about the changes in the region. Read more about the project here.

As he goes he and the team (skipper David Vass, guest musicians including Jennifer Port, Hamish Napier and Innes Watson, and project manager Charlotte Hathaway) will be writing blogs about the journey. Follow the blog to catch regular snippets of music, video and news from the trip. The crew will also be joined by film makers from Salmon Films who are making a documentary about the project. Follow the blog here to be kept up to date.

This project wouldn’t be possible without the generous help of Creative Scotland, Enterprise Music Scotland, House of Lochar publishers, and Calmac Ferries.

 

Download the poster: In the Wake of Neil Gunn Poster


PRESS RELEASE: In the Wake of Neil Gunn

Category : Blog , Press releases

TRADITIONAL ARTS COMMISSION: MIKE VASS ‘IN THE WAKE OF NEIL GUNN’

May 2014 will see renowned Scottish fiddler and composer Mike Vass undertake a mirror voyage of writer Neil Gunn’s 1937 adventure round the west coast of Scotland, performing community concerts along the way featuring stories, music and local history.

MikeVass-2In 1937 Neil Gunn sold his house, quit his job and went off in an old converted lifeboat for a summer to inspire his writing; voyaging around the west coast of Scotland. He wrote about the various communities on the way, and went on to become one of Scotland’s most prolific and creative fiction writers. This May Mike Vass will sail Gunn’s route, finding inspiration for his own composing and re-visiting the communities Neil Gunn wrote about; performing celebratory concerts there. He wants to inspire communities with Gunn’s stories about them, inviting them to explore the changes that have taken place since the writer’s initial visit. The end result will be a new suite of music to be toured around Scotland.

Mike will be joined by special guest musicians along the journey (including Jennifer Port, Hamish Napier and Innes Watson) who will perform as part of the community concerts; sharing musical ideas as they sail and in on-board sessions at port.

 

They will perform at:

2nd May, Red Roof Cafe Gallery, Isle of Skye, 8.30pm

9th May, Eigg Community Hall, Isle of Eigg, 9pm

10th May, Astley Hall, Arisaig, 8pm

17th May, Iona Abbey, 3.30pm (entry included in admission ticket to Iona Abbey)

17th May, Iona Village Hall, Iona, 8pm

24th May, Kentallen and Duror Community Centre, Duror, 8pm

1st June, Nairn Boat Club, 8pm

 

photo 2The project is already attracting attention, supported by Calmac Ferries, Enterprise Music Scotland, and Neil Gunn’s publishers, Colonsay-based House of Lochar. It has also received the backing of Creative Scotland’s Traditional Arts Commissioning Fund.

‘As soon as we heard of the plans to replicate Gunn’s trip,’ says Kevin Byrne of House of Lochar, ‘we contacted Dairmid Gunn, the author’s grandson and a former naval officer, and received his enthusiastic consent to support the project.  House of Lochar wishes Godspeed to the latter-day “Thistle” and all who sail in her.’

Mike wants to both connect with the Scottish coastal communities he grew to know through Gunn’s words, and find inspiration for his own writing.

‘The idea for the project came from time spent in hospital last summer,’ says Vass. ‘I had suffered a life-threatening brain insult and someone gave me this non-fiction book, ‘Off in a Boat’, to read while I recovered. I found it utterly inspirational. I was so excited by Neil Gunn’s account that I immediately started planning my own version of his trip.’

The project (following the masterminding of Fiona Hunter’s debut solo album and his own critically acclaimed experimental album DecemberWell) is Vass’s most ambitious venture to date. Its progress will be documented by Salmon Films, who will be making a film about the project.

‘We were inspired by the vitality of Mike Vass to reproduce Neil’s Gunn journey,’ says Conxi Fornieles of Salmon Films. ‘A real adventure in a very magical place.’

After a summer of writing and recording, Vass will return in the Autumn to tour the new album, featuring some of Scotland’s top traditional musicians and film footage captured on the voyage.

 

—ENDS—-

 

Notes to editors:

The project is based on Neil Gunn’s non-fiction work ‘Off in a Boat’, published by Colonsay-based House of Lochar (http://www.houseoflochar.com/) and reprinted especially for the project.

 

Unroofed Records is a new record label and live arts production company based in Glasgow working with a small roster of great Scottish artists: Fiona Hunter, Mike Vass, Mairearad Green and Innes Watson. Unroofed was founded in 2013 by Charlotte Hathaway and Mike Vass. With diverse backgrounds in creative writing and musical composition, a joint commission and opportunity for their own creative collaboration sparked a shared vision for Unroofed Records. Although hugely influenced by Scotland’s rich cultural heritage – Charlotte is a graduate in Gaelic and Scottish Ethnology and Mike is considered one of Scotland’s leading traditional musicians – Unroofed Records isn’t genre specific or limited in its interest. Both Charlotte and Mike are hugely inspired by cross-artform works and contemporary music. The company’s focus is on collaboration and past and upcoming projects include two adventurous collaborations for Fiona Hunter: with author Andrew Greig and Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes. ‘In the Wake of Neil Gunn’ will be Unroofed Records’ key launch project.

 

Mike Vass Biography:

Winner of the prestigious ‘Composer of the Year’ title at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards in 2012, Mike Vass has been described as ‘one of the most original composers working in the field of acoustic music’ (Richard Lindsay, Ullapool Guitar Festival). He is in great demand as a performer, composer, producer and teacher; regularly touring with Scots singer Fiona Hunter whose critically acclaimed debut solo album he produced and arranged.

He has performed extensively in the past few years with a number of acts including leading Scots Song band Malinky, the Paul McKenna Band, Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes, in a duo with twin sister Ali, and with International super group Fiddle Rendezvous, featuring Bruce Molsky, Maryann Kennedy and Gerry O’Connor.

Mike’s New Voices Commission ‘String Theory’ debuted in 2010 at Celtic Connections, and was described as ‘the most direct and honest since the idea was first conceived … precision, subtlety and attention to detail’. One of the highlights, the avant-garde piece ‘Man’s Search’ inspired by Viktor Frankl’s best-selling book, was described as ‘utterly compelling’ and was subsequently featured by the Victor Frankl Institute in Austria to commemorate Frankl’s birthday.

In 2012 Mike went on to release his critically acclaimed solo project ‘DecemberWell’. A highly original, kaleidoscopic work inspired by the Scottish Winter month of December.

 

Photo credits:

(Top) Archie MacFarlane

(Bottom) Mike Vass

 

Contact Charlotte Hathaway (Producer)

charlotte@unroofed.com

07986121370

 

Websites and social media:

www.inthewakeofneilgunn.com

www.mikevass.com

www.unroofed.com

www.salmonfilms.co.uk

@saystheking (Mike Vass)

@UnroofedRecords

@CRRMurray (Charlotte Hathaway)

Printimages (1) headerlogo (1)

 


Mike Vass nominated for ‘Best Score’ at Screentest Film Festival

Category : Blog , News , Videos

Mike has been nominated for ‘Best Score’ at this years ScreenTest Student Film Festival

The Film ‘Windfall’ was produced and directed by Frederik Subei of Earthmovies and features tracks from Mike’s solo albums String Theory and DecemberWell

The Awards Ceremony will be held on Sunday the 23rd of March in London


Special TradFest gig with Fiona Hunter and Kathleen MacInnes

Category : Blog , News

Unroofed is delighted to announce a very special collaboration between two of Scotland’s most gorgeous voices: Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes and Scots singer Fiona Hunter. They will explore the two linguistic traditions, sharing songs and finding common ground. It’s part of a pilot project supported by Creative Scotland’s Quality Arts Production Fund.

TradFest Edinburgh · Dùn Èideann 2014
Tuesday 29th April
7.30pm
Scottish Storytelling Centre

[button url=”http://www.tracscotland.org/festivals/tradfest/events/1006/crossing-points-kathleen-macinnes-and-fiona-hunter”]Book here[/button]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ob8Xgxkc3n8

 


TRACK: New Fiona Hunter song for February

Category : Tracks

To celebrate the launch of her debut solo album, and since it’s still February (just), Fiona has recorded a bonus track, ‘Thou Cauld Gloomy Feberwar’. Have a listen! Download the album in itunes, bandcamp, or buy a physical copy here.

From the Pen of Robert Tannahill, the Paisley Poet. A beautiful song from the perspective of a Girl wishing the Gloomy Month of February to end as her Lover has promised he will return to her in the Spring.

lyrics

Thou cauld gloomy Feberwar,
O gin thou wert awa’,
I’m wae to hear thy sughing winds,
I’m wae to see thy snaw,
For my bonnie brave young Highlander,
The lad I loe sae dear,
Has vow’d to come and see me
In the spring o’ the year.As gloamin dims the sky,
I wander out alane
Whar buds the bonnie yellow whins
Around the trystin stane,
Twas there he pressed me to his heart,
And kissed away the tears,
He vowed to come and see me
In the spring o the year.Ye breezes saftly blaw,
And cleed anew the wuds ;
Ye lav’rocks lilt your cheery sangs
Amang the fleecy clouds ;
Till Feberwar and a his train
Affrighted disappear,
I’ll hail wi you the blythesome change,
The spring o the year.

credits

released 27 February 2014
Fiona Hunter: Vocals & Cello
Mike Vass: Tenor Guitar

VIDEO: Mike Vass – Februaried

http://youtu.be/fSO8VqtZONA

In preparation for my new cross art-form project ‘In the wake of Neil Gunn’ I’ve been testing my new camera and making some new snippets of music.

The short piece ‘Februaried’ name comes from an alternative Tenor Guitar tuning I invented this month – F Eb Bb D (Februaried, if you will!) The ‘Drum kit’ sound was sampled in my bathroom. Using Cistern and Toilet seat to percussive effect …..


Remembered/Imagined commission performances

Category : Blog , News

Remembered/Imagined    March 2014

featuring new works of music and words by Amble Skuse, Ailie Robertson, Mike Vass, Sophie Cooke, Angus Peter Campbell, Charlotte Murray and Rebecca Sharp

 

RI_graphic_2Wed 12 March 2014, Summerhall, Edinburgh 7.30pm
Tickets available online and on 0845 874 3000

Fri 14 March 2014, Plockton High School, Ross-shire 7.30pm
Tickets available from Kyle Pharmacy, Lochan 01599 577 296, School 01599 54470

 

Robertson/Sharp  For the bees
Vass/Murray  After Niall Sgrob
Skuse/Campbell/Cooke   Clachan Beò

 

Produced by Remembered/Imagined
Creative Producer Amble Skuse

 

Presenting seven of Scotland’s creative artists as you’ve never seen them before…

Four new works are interwoven with beautiful traditional repertoire and poetry, creating a performance that captures the riches of our cultural history through music and words with live instrumental, vocal and electronic sound.

Scottish traditional musicians and composers Amble SkuseAilie Robertson and Mike Vass have teamed up with writers Angus Peter CampbellSophie CookeRebecca Sharp and Charlotte Murray to create new works of music and words inspired by the archive at The School of Scottish Studies, housed in the University of Edinburgh. The archive is a treasure trove of recordings of songs, music, tales, verse, customs, beliefs and oral history.

 

Performed by singer Maeve Mackinnon, actor Angus Peter Campbell, electronic artist Amble Skuse and the strings of Mr McFall’s Chamber.

 

The Summerhall gig also features a world premiere performance by the Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin’ of a new work by Ailie Robertson.

 

Remembered/Imagined is produced by Amble Skuse in partnership with Mr McFall’s Chamber, The University of Edinburgh School of Scottish Studies and Hands Up For Trad’s Distil. It is supported by Creative Scotland, The Robertson Trust, PRSF Women Make Music, Highland Council, National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music, An Lochan and Summerhall.

 

NOTES

Follow the artists as they blog about the creative process by clicking here
Read their full biographies by clicking here

Produced by Remembered/Imagined
Creative Producer Amble Skuse
Archive website


VIDEO: Mairearad Green’s Rural Design Concept

Category : Blog , Videos

Rural Design Concept is a piece of music I wrote for Distil in 2011, and this is my first ever animation! (Not the most advanced animation but I hope it makes you smile!) The string section on this recording is the very talented Patsy Reid.

My idea of the Rural Design Concept is that a new building in a rural area must approach the site and the landscape with absolute respect so that it is not intrusive but sensitive to it’s environment. Musically I have explored space through the chords, the rhythm, the textures and the harmony, leaving the melody as a later consideration to be anchored thoughtfully into the rich rural environment.

This piece of music was recorded on my latest 5 track ep, “Maggie West’s” and is available to download here http://mairearadgreen.bandcamp.com


VIDEO: Cycles by Mike Vass

Category : Blog , Videos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8os8l9rxl8

Cycles is a series of repeating phrases that builds using first fiddle pizzicato, and then guitar, tenor guitar, glockenspiel and piano. It is inspired by cyclical rhythms in nature, and particularly seasonal changes.

I performed it live for the first time in December 2013 as part of the DecemberWell live tour. I used a Boss loop station to build the piece phrase by phrase. The challenge of performing it was trying to make each phrase very rhythmically tight so that they fitted together well, whilst also clicking foot switches at a fast rate, and remembering to have the glockenspiel nearby!

Cycles is track 9 from my 2012 release ‘DecemberWell’, which you can buy here.


Fiona Hunter does Showcase Scotland at Celtic Connections

Category : Blog

We are about halfway through the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow and deep in the Showcase Scotland weekend where delegates from all over the world come to see and book acts. There are informal events all over the place, but having an official showcase is invaluable. This is a video of Fiona Hunter and the band performing at the Scots and Gaelic Showcase, for which we are indebted to Creative Scotland for setting up.

Yesterday was the Showcase Scotland trade fair, and this year was Unroofed’s first time exhibiting. We weren’t sure what to expect, but our memories from WOMEX reminded us that stall dressing is very important, as is having something people can take away with them.

Here are a few tips we picked up:

– it was worth putting effort into making a compilation of all the artists represented at the stall, and a homemade CD was fine.

I’d been concerned that our origami CD sleeves and computer-burned CDs would look unprofessionally cheap, but people pointed out that delegates collect a lot of CDs and these can get heavy. They really appreciate something light to carry and I suspect the specifically chosen tracks will seem more relevant when it comes to listening back. (We also had proper copies of albums on hand for any serious prospects, but the general supermarket sweep CD collectors could come away with something too without bankrupting us.) We included a simple front cover with the names of all the artists, their websites, and their representation details. On the back we put the track list. We got the template from here and the finished thing looked a bit like this. Another great idea Fi Vass (who was sharing our stall) was using was to provide printed postcards covered in image and blurb, with a free download code for the appropriate album attached. That eliminated the need for a physical CD at all, and certainly meant less late-night folding!

– it’s worth putting an effort into your performance outfit

People really liked the FHBand ‘team colours’. It was something people commented on at both WOMEX and Showcase Scotland, and even when we tried it out (in purple this time) for the Archive Project album launch. We feel that it makes a huge difference to the way people see a band and their professional look if they have made an effort with what they wear.

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– an official showcase is really valuable, but informal ones are also effective.

The fact that Fiona had showcased the day before really benefited us as people came specifically to find us, recognised the team, and since we were organised enough to film the performance, we had something to show at our listening station. Because people were attracted to our stall for the Fiona Hunter effect, our other artists got to benefit from the attention as well. Fi Vass’s artists also benefited from working hard at the late night delegates’ sessions as Fi was able to make connections with people she had already met and consolidate potential bookings.

– the pop-up stand was worth the money

We hadn’t been sure about buying a Fiona Hunter pop-up stand as it was quite an expensive thing to invest in, but in the end it was definitely worth it. It looks lovely, and gave the whole set-up a much more professional feel. A lot of other stalls had them as well and I think it made the difference in how well-dressed the stalls looked.

– go for bribes on your table, but maybe not whisky and shortbread

Whisky at the stand seemed like a great idea at WOMEX where there was really only one Scotland stand, but here everyone had whisky and shortbread so it lost its novelty effect (except for those on the Showcase Scotland equivalent of a pub crawl). It was a great thing to have at the table, as it meant people would stand and talk to us as they finished their drink. Next year we might try something a bit different though. And possibly not alcoholic. Hair of the dog may have suited some of the delegates but it was still 10am!

– take-away blurbs are also worth the printing effort

I battled for hours with photoshop to put together a blurb sheet for all my artists, but it meant that delegates had all the information they needed to take with them, which will hopefully pay dividends later.

It will take a little while to see what benefits our Showcase Scotland exploits have had, but it was loads of fun and Fiona is already looking forward to some new gigs because of it. Tonight she and Mike are performing in the ‘Women of the World‘ concert alongside some fantastic singers from India and Australia.

 


Epic Award Shortlist

Category : Blog , News

CoverEdinburgh Youth Gaitherin’s Archive Project (in partnership with the School of Scottish Studies Archives and supported by Creative Scotland) has been shortlisted for the Voluntary Arts Epic Award. This is exciting for us as it is the first project the both of us (Mike and Charlotte) worked on together (Charlotte as co-ordinator and Mike as musical director) and the album that was produced is the last release on Unroofed’s predecessor, Rusty Squash Horn Records.

The School of Scottish Studies, established in 1951 and featured in a recent BBC documentary, houses a treasure trove of recordings including traditional songs, music, and stories. It’s a fantastic resource and an important asset to Scottish heritage. EYG wanted to inspire new people to use the Archives and break down barriers young people and the wider community might have with visiting or using them.

The aim of the Archive Project was to encourage young people to get a meaningful understanding of the content of the Archives and the context of the recordings, and then creatively respond. We picked 7 young traditional musicians aged 16-23 who explored the recordings and photographs in order to build material for their first professional album. We encouraged them to look beyond looking at the archives as a simple source for repertoire, but to find new creative angles to developing their own material.

The young musicians worked with mentors Alasdair Roberts, Mike Vass and Matheu Watson, as well recording with David Gray at the Sound Cafe. They also wrote and arranged a track for EYG’s Big Band to perform, worked with a design student from Napier University to put together the cover (featuring fabulous images from the photographic archives and original artwork from Conrad Molleson), and some of the music was then taken on and re-arranged to be performed by the Tinderbox Orchestra.

EPIC-Logo-317x350What resulted was an excellent album full of new music: songs inspired by anecdotes and practices described in interviews, instrumental music inspired by photographs and recollections, new melodies for collected poetry, found voices, and fresh arrangements of traditional material. There was even a music video.

You can find out more about the project here, buy the album here (all proceeds go to support Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin, a youth music charity specialising in traditional music) and vote for the project here.

Here’s a track from the album:


Mike Vass’ DecemberWell Live 2013

Category : Blog , News

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Tour Dates:

Monday 2nd Dec – The Outhouse – Edinburgh 7.30pm
Thursday 12th Dec – The Acoustic Music Club – Kirkcaldy – 7.30pm
Friday 13th Dec – The Ceilidh Place – Ullapool 9pm
Saturday 14th Dec – The Sailing Club – Nairn – 7.30pm
Wednesday 18th Dec- Folklub – Glasgow – 8.00pm
There will also be an online broadcast on 20th December through Concert Window.

 

Award winning Composer Mike Vass takes his sounds of the Scottish winter on tour throughout Scotland in December 2013. DecemberWell was released in 2012 to rave reviews and Mike subsequently received the prestigious ‘Composer of the Year’ award at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards.

DecemberWell was conceived during one sleepless night in October 2011, and culminated in the recording of Mike’s most ambitious project to date. He set out to write and record a full length album in one month, inspired by the Scottish Winter.

[button url=”https://soundcloud.com/mikevass/02-looking-through” ]Listen[/button]

Mike’s trio will feature previous Composer of the Year Award winner Mairearad Green, who will showcase some material from her forthcoming ‘Maggie West’s’ EP in the first half of each concert.

Mike’s reputation as a composer has been growing steadily in 2013. He wrote and performed the soundtrack for Gavin Robinson’s ‘Hart’s Desire’ animation which recently received a Scottish Bafta, and ‘Cavers of Kirkcudbright’ (which won the inaugural Niel Gow composition award) has recently been recorded by artists from Scotland, Ireland, France and the USA.

‘a master of the contemporary Scottish music scene’ -Alasdair Maclean, Scots Magazine

‘Vass has an inimitable and distinctive sound that rings clear throughout Decemberwell’ -Adrian Holden, Artree

‘Decemberwell’ is an instrumental meander through various moods, all themed around the month of December; evoking the Caledonia frost and hail, the dark short freezing evenings, the Christmas lights and the warm inviting indoors.’ -Ian Fildes, AmericanaUK

‘exceptional control, enchanting melodies and exemplary arrangements.’ -Alex Monaghan, The Living Tradition

For more info & to book tickets contact Mike

www.mikevass.com
info@mikevass.com


Scottish Bafta for Gavin Robinson!

Category : Blog , News

 

1288378_origWe are over the moon that Gavin Robinson’s animation Hart’s Desire (which Mike wrote and performed the score for) has won a Scottish Bafta for Best Animation. Congratulations Gavin, and congratulations Mike! Here’s Gavin’s reaction:

 

“Winning the BAFTA Scotland Award for animation is all rather surreal, and I’m not sure that it has quite sunk in yet. Since this was my degree film from Edinburgh College of Art, all that I was really hoping from it was that I would graduate! So to have been honoured with this award is just fantastic.

I have to congratulate my fellow nominees Claire Lamond and Ross Hogg and thank them for making the awards ceremony extra entertaining! I’m proud to be part of such an exciting group of short animation filmmakers in Scotland right now.

 

And of course the film wouldn’t be what it is without the fantastic job that Mike has done with the soundtrack, so a huge thank you to him! I hope that we may continue to collaborate in the years to come.”

 

Find out more about Gavin’s animation: www.gavincrobinson.com

 


An Evening with Andrew Greig & The Fiona Hunter Band

Category : Blog , News

DHM Concerts and Unroofed Records presents

 

An Evening with Andrew Greig & The Fiona Hunter Band

28th March 2014, Queens Hall, Edinburgh.

[button url=”http://www.thequeenshall.net/whats-on/shows/an-evening-with-andrew-greig-and-the-fiona-hunter-band-2014″ ]Tickets[/button]

71PRp1hNvgL._SL1000_Andrew Greig  has been called ‘Scotland’s Renaissance writer ‘ by journalist  Mariella Frostrop  and has been at the forefront of  Scottish poetry and literature since  the  mid- seventies. He is the author of six acclaimed books of poetry, two Himalayan mountaineering expedition books, and several novels including That Summer, When They Lay Bare, In Another Light (Scottish Book of the Year) The Return of John Macnab and Romanno Bridge.  His last non-fiction book At The Loch of The Green Corrie is already seen as a contemporary classic.

His recent collection  Found at Sea was adapted for the stage by David Greig and  performed to  sell out audiences  at The Traverse Theatre  in   Feb 2013.  His latest   novel Fair Helen   published by Quercus Books  is set in the Scotland-England Borderlands in  the 1590’s. Greig’s vital prose renders the Border Ballad Fair Helen of Kirkconnel Lea as a breathless romance, as stirring adventure, and a memento mori. Gutsy atmospheric and wry as ever, he shines a candle light on the dark days of a lawless land, land and  the real woman behind the legend often called the Scottish Romeo and Juliet.

‘What sets Fair Helen above the usual run of historical novels, aside from Greig’s extraordinarily deft use of language, is its moral depth, its acute sense of the intricacies of the Border feuds and of the Byzantine intrigues of King James’s VI inner circle and, most poignantly, the helplessness and determination of those characters who would live decent lives, if only “feckfu’ gentry” would allow it…’ The Guardian

The first half of the evening will consist of a selection  of readings from  Andrew’s published works  including Fair Helen with musical  interludes from the Fiona Hunter Band.

The second half will feature an hour set from Fiona Hunter with her band  Mike Vass, Gillian Frame, Innes Watson and Euan Burton who will be celebrating the release of Fiona’s debut solo album.

http://andrew-greig.weebly.com/

http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poetry/poets/andrew-greig

 

FIONA HUNTER

After nearly a decade as vocalist and cellist of award-winning folk band Malinky, Fiona Hunter is stepping out on her own and gaining a deserved reputation as one of the finest young singers on the Scottish folk music scene today, with her fresh interpretations of songs of her native Glasgow and of the Scottish Travellers. In pursuit of the latter she has worked with members of the Fetterangus Stewart family, the last tradition-bearers of this celebrated folk song dynasty. Her academic qualifications in the field are of the first order – a BA in Scottish Music from the Royal Scottish Academy and studies at the Smithsonian Institute in the USA – but it’s her passion and natural ability to inhabit her material that sets her apart.

Hunter’s strengths lie in a vocal tone that she varies to suit the mood of the song while always sounding like the real deal and her ability to project a genuine empathy with the characters she’s singing about.” Rob Adams

It’s a beguiling tapestry of sound which leaves you wanting more.” Matthew Linley

Nominated for Scots Singer of the Year in the  2013  Traditional Music Awards  and  participant at the 2013 Womex Festival

 

www.unroofed.com

www.fionahunter.co.uk

 


Fiona Hunter nominated Scots Singer of the Year

Category : Blog , News

 

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We’re very pleased to announce that Fiona Hunter has been nominated for Scots Singer of the Year at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards 2013. They take place in Aberdeen on the 7th December at the Aberdeen Music Hall. The aim of the awards is to highlight Scotland’s wonderful traditional music in all its forms. You can take part by voting here.


VIDEO: Scottish Bafta nomination for Gavin Robinson!

Category : Blog , News , Videos

We received an exciting bit of news this week. Earlier this year Mike composed the soundtrack for a short animation by Gavin Robinson. It ended up being accepted into the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and has now been nominated for a Scottish Bafta! You can listen to the full OST here.


Mike’s WOMEX blog for the TMF

Category : Blog , News

Mike wrote this for the Traditional Music Forum, so we thought we’d post it here as well:

 

photo (3)WOMEX is an international World Music Expo and this year was held in Cardiff from the 23rd to the 27th of October. ‘Horizons at WOMEX‘ was a special collaboration between Creative Scotland and Arts Councils in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland to showcase some UK acts at WOMEX. The ‘Horizons’ collaboration will continue into next year with opportunities for musical collaboration and touring.

Earlier in the year I sent in four unmixed tracks from Fiona Hunter’s forthcoming debut solo album to ‘Horizons at WOMEX’. I had the great privilege of producing Fiona’s record and I play tenor guitar and fiddle in her band, alongside Gillian Frame (fiddle), Euan Burton (Double Bass) and Innes Watson (Guitar and Fiddle).

9 acts were selected from over 900 applicants to the Horizons stage, and we were absolutely delighted when Fiona was offered a slot. I believe this is the first time Scots song has been represented at such a high profile World Music event, and am thrilled that our traditional music is gaining more widespread recognition.

After much preparation, we took the whole team (5 piece band plus Charlotte, Fiona’s agent) to WOMEX, and so began an extremely busy long weekend. None of Team Fiona Hunter had been to anything like WOMEX before and we were lucky to have support and guidance from the Creative Scotland team and from Lisa Whytock. Lisa is an experienced ‘Womexican’ and was down with Active Events representing Ross Ainslie and Jarlath Henderson who were also showcasing on the Horizons stage.

photo (2)

Our showcase was on the Thursday night of WOMEX at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. We took to the stage at 10.30pm and I was surprised by the huge number of people in attendance. I’d guesstimate four or five hundred coming and going, and a large proportion of those were WOMEX delegates – representatives from international festivals, agencies, arts councils and record companies. It was quite overwhelming, but also hugely exciting.

We were delighted at the positive response to Fiona’s showcase. Apart from appreciation for the songs, several delegates mentioned Fiona’s stage presence and her apparent ease at such a high pressure event.  We even had several congratulatory comments on our dress sense (see photo!)

The following day we had several meetings with festival promoters and agents. As well as offers of work, many people were keen to candidly discuss how to build on the success of our showcase and how to keep the buzz going long after WOMEX.

One of the buzzwords (or buzz-phrases) of the weekend was ‘export ready’. Regardless of the occasion, be it WOMEX or an intimate Folk Club, I believe that our music should be ‘export ready’. What does this mean? It is an opaque phrase and for many at WOMEX means the band should be ready to zip off on an international tour at the drop of a hat. For Fiona and her band, it means the quality of the music should shine through and have the ability to captivate any audience. It means presenting the songs in an uncluttered way. The arrangements support the songs and hopefully augment the narrative, or the emotion conveyed in the words, ebbing and flowing with them. I think the simplicity of the music suits the (often) heavy subject matter of the songs. We also believe in being thoroughly well rehearsed and the team worked very hard in the run up to the showcase.

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Next year I am launching a new live arts production and record company in partnership with Charlotte Murray: ‘Unroofed Records‘. Charlotte and I had a meeting at the Trade Fair with a representative from a New York record company who shared his thoughts on the changing music business and how to to the make the best of it as an emerging company. I think the gist was; work hard and make great art.

On the last night of WOMEX Team Fiona Hunter, our work done, settled down to two fantastic showcase concerts on the Horizons stage. First up were We Banjo 3 from Ireland, a whirlwind of traditional Irish and Scottish tunes on the tenor banjo and some beautifully sung Americana songs. A real pleasure from start to finish, As well as virtuosic playing, their performance was a masterclass in stagecraft. Next up were 9Bach, a seven piece band from Wales singing exclusively in the Welsh language. Beautifully crafted arrangements supported beautiful singing. The music had such mesmerising space in it that you could have heard a pin drop at times. Fiona and I both found that concert hugely inspiring, both musically and with ideas for the oft-forgotten things like stage presentation. Fiona commented ‘What a stunning night of music, it just makes me more determined to keep improving musically and I’m keen to experiment with new sounds and see where it takes us.’

We definitely hope to be back at Womex at some point in the future!

‘After nearly a decade as vocalist and cellist of award-winning folk band Malinky, Fiona Hunter is stepping out in front of her own band of accomplished players and gaining a deserved reputation as one of the finest young singers on the Scottish folk music scene today, with her fresh interpretations of songs of her native Glasgow and of the Scottish Travellers. In pursuit of the latter she has worked with members of the Fetterangus Stewart family, the last tradition-bearers of this celebrated folk song dynasty. Her academic qualifications in the field are of the first order – a BA in Scottish Music from the Royal Scottish Academy and studies at the Smithsonian Institute in the USA – but it’s her passion and natural ability to inhabit her material that sets her apart. Hear for yourself.’


Fiona Hunter @ WOMEX

Category : Blog , News

womexWe are delighted that Fiona and the band have been selected to perform at WOMEX in Cardiff this month. WOMEX is a showcase of the best world music acts, attracting music professionals from across the globe.  Fiona will be playing on WOMEX’s Horizons Stage on Thursday 24th October (10.30pm, Weston Studio). The Horizons stage is dedicated to showcasing the best local talent.


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