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Barga photographic exhibition in Glasgow, Scotland

Images of Barga in an exhibition as part of the Celtic Connections Festival in Scotland

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We are extremely lucky in this part of the world to have in our midst, the piazzas – areas of daily transit on foot and places to meet and greet.

Since the Italian Renaissance, ideas, concepts, communication and culture has freely moved through these piazzas.

Over the past few years, the participants of Hamish Moores’ annual “School of Traditional Scots and Gaelic Song, Music and Dance” took to these open spaces in Barga as though they had been born to them.

It was in these public areas that the joy of making music was best expressed and best enjoyed by the newcomers and the local residents.

According to the Mayor of Barga , Marco Bonini, ” This school is about traditional music and dance which lets us breathe Scottish air in our town and which brings students to us from all over Europe and Northern America. Thanks to these images, which Keane took during the school days at Barga, both the music school and Barga have arrived over the last months at Holyrood, in Edinburgh’s Parliament, and now in the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, Scotland”

Located in the heart of the city, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is one of Scotland’s most prestigious venues and world renowned classical, jazz, pop, rock and folk artists take to its stages for nearly 250 performances each year.

The venue has played host to the likes of BB King, Johnny Cash, Van Morrison, David Byrne, Ray LaMontagne, The Eels and Debbie Harry. Built in 1990 for Glasgow’s reign as European City of Culture, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is situated at the top of Buchanan Street – Glasgow’s main shopping thoroughfare.

The sponsors for the event, Merchant City Brewing had this to say : We are proud to be sponsoring a photographic exhibition compiled by visual artist Keane showcasing the special link between the Italian town of Barga and Scotland.

Currently on show in the Royal Concert Hall  as part of the annual Celtic Connections festival (the largest winter music festival of its kind and the UK’s premier celebration of celtic music – this year there were 130,000 attendances ) the exhibition focuses on the folk music festival held in Barga each year where many Scottish artists play alongside locals in a fantastic coming together of shared heritage.

The exhibition will be in place for the duration of Celtic Connections and will then move to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh for another showing in the Autumn.

The relationship between Barga and Scotland is an emotionally strong and perhaps even radical relationship. It is created by personal and family links. It is the fruit of our history. It is not a coincidence that the story of our land is a story of emigration. Already in the nineteenth century there were many people from Barga who were brave enough to leave for the UK, but especially Scotland. Here in Glasgow, and on the Westcoast, many of us started new activities with creativity, courage and with a spirit of adventure and optimism. The association of Barga and Scotland has continued, getting stronger, to the extent that in the Fifties nearly half of Barga’s population had emigrated abroad, most of them to Scotland. The link to the fatherland was never forgotten. In fact, every summer, every holiday presented an opportunity to return and this way the relationship between the two communities became stronger and stronger.

During recent years, however, thanks to a series of initiatives, some of them introduced by the council administration, the link between Barga and Scotland has grown stronger and bigger. This is why Barga is now proud to be famous for being “The Most Scottish Town in Italy. Especially in the summer this hamlet Barga is filled with Scottish people and in every corner English with a Scottish accent can be heard.

To keep this link alive is our objective and an important task. A fundamental contribution to this has been realised by our artist Keane who knew how to develop and increase the relationship between the two communities.

His ability to keep the two lands united is also found in this exhibition of photos, which were taken during the days of a music school which Keane’s friend Hamish Moore brings to this town. This school is about traditional music and dance which lets us breathe Scottish air in our town and which brings students to us from all over Europe and Northern America. Thanks to these pictures, which Keane took during the school days at Barga, both the music school and Barga have arrived over the last months at Holyrood, in Edinburgh’s Parliament, and now in Glasgow. With his lens, with his photographs, Keane has documented the activities of Hamish Moore’s music school, and as a result these activities are now visible in Scotland. This is a great honour for Hamish and Keane, but also for us. We were very pleased not only to hear that the exhibition will arrive in Glasgow but also that the exhibition will be held at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. While the exhibition in Glasgow is open between December and March 2018, there is also a special event in January, an important Celtic music festival with thousands in attendance. This presents a unique opportunity to let people know about Barga and to strengthen the ties with Scotland. This cultural progamme will be a great promotion of our area.

Because of all of this, as Mayor of Barga, I can only thank Keane whose art has made this event possible.- – Marco Bonini – Sindaco di Barga

 

 

Il legame di Barga con la Scozia, è un legame forte, sentito, oserei dire radicale. Si, perché è fatto da rapporti personali e familiari . E’ frutto della nostra storia. Non a caso la storia di questa terra  è una storia di emigrazione. Già nell’Ottocento furono moltissimi i Barghigiani che trovarono il coraggio di partire alla volta del Regno Unito e soprattutto della Scozia. Qui a Glasgow, in particolare sulla costa occidentale , molti di noi , con fantasia e coraggio, avviarono una propria attività con spirito di avventura ed ottimismo. Questo sodalizio Barga- Scozia è andato sempre più fortificandosi , tanto che negli anni cinquanta quasi la metà dei Barghigiani si trovava all’estero ed in maggioranza proprio in Scozia. Il legame con la terra di origine però non è mai stato messo da parte, ma anzi ogni estate, o comunque ogni vacanza, è stato  il momento per ritornare, rinsaldando così un rapporto tra due le Comunità, che si faceva sempre più stretto. 

Negli ultimi anni poi, grazie a tutta una serie di iniziative promosse anche dall’Amministrazione Comunale, il legame fra la Comunità Barghigiana e la Scozia, si è rafforzato ed è cresciuto. Tanto che oggi Barga vanta la fama di “The Most Scottish Town in Italy”.  In estate in particolare,  questo antico Borgo si riempie di Scozzesi ed in ogni angolo si sente parlare inglese con la tipica cadenza del Nord

Mantenere vivo questo legame è  un obiettivo ed un impegno importante. Un contributo fondamentale in questo senso è stato realizzato dal nostro artista Keane,  che nel tempo ha saputo sviluppare e ampliare  il rapporto tra le due Comunità.

 La sua capacità di tenere unite le due terre si ritrova anche in questa mostra di fotografie che Keane ha realizzato durante le giornate della scuola di musica che l’amico di Barga, Hamish Moore, porta nella cittadina. Una scuola di musica tradizionale e di danze che ci fà respirare un’aria tutta scozzese nelle vie della nostra cittadina e che porta studenti  provenienti  da tutta Europa e dal Nord America. Grazie a queste immagini, che Keane ha realizzato durante le giornate barghigiane, la scuola e Barga sono entrate, nei mesi scorsi, ad Edimburgo, al Parlamento, e poi ora a Glasgow. Con il suo obbiettivo, con le sue fotografie, ha documentato le attività della scuola di Hamish Moore e queste sono poi così arrivate all’interno del Parlamento scozzese a Edimburgo. Un grande onore per lui, ma anche per noi. La notizia poi che queste fotografie verranno esposte a Glasgow ci riempie di soddisfazione soprattutto per la prestigiosa vetrina che ospiterà la mostra, la Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Qui in gennaio, la mostra si protrarrà da dicembre a marzo 2018, si terrà anche un importantissimo festival di musica celtica con migliaia di spettatori. Un’occasione unica per far conoscere Barga e rafforzare il legame con la Scozia. Un’operazione culturale di grande promozione per il nostro territorio.

Per tutto questo, come Sindaco, non posso che ringraziare Keane che con la sua arte ha reso possibile questo evento.  – Marco Bonini  – Sindaco di Barga

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