Background to the Concert.
One evening in May, while walking home through Piazza Angelio, Paolo Marrone stopped me and offered me the Theatre in Barga to put on a concert of Scottish Traditional Music and Song. What an opportunity.!
With me on that occasion were two members of an art group from John Ballanie’s home town, Port Seaton who also happen to be members of The Choir, Sangstream which is directed by my good friend and musical colleague, Mairi Campbell. As well as directing the choir, Mairi performs with her husband Dave Francis and are collectively known as “The Cast“. They can now be famously heard singing the original version of Auld Lang Syne on the recently released movie, “Sex and the City”.
Also in the choir is another soloist in his own right, Scott Gardner, one of Scotland’s finest young Bothy Ballad singers.
Also, by chance visiting with me in Barga at that time was my old singer/songwriter pal, Ken Campbell.
So – we had there and then, the basis of the concert. I added a few family members who had visited me previously in Barga (articles here) and the only other addition is another friend (Laureen Merrieman) who happens to be visiting in September and has one of the most stunning voices I know.
To tie all of this together on the night, to introduce all the acts and to give us some good Scots/Italian humour and crack, I needed one or two Scots Italians for the show. I eventually found the wonderful trio of Sonia, Vanda and Adelle who will be the magnificent team of M.C’s. for the concert.
All the acts will give us a true feel for authentic Scottish Traditional Culture.
The singing is raw and given from the heart and comes from an unbroken seam of tradition. There are some contemporary influences too and we have included as much Italian/Scots cross cultural influences as we can.
The instrumental music is energetic and full of emotional energy, invoking both tragedy and joy.
The dancing is represented by the old hard shoe percussive step dancing of Scotland which was all but lost in the old country but was carried to Nova Scotia (and especially Cape Breton Island) by the enforced emigrations of the highlanders at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries. This step dancing like their singing and music has been jealously guarded and tenaciously held on to by these Gaelic Speaking Highlanders.
What the concert will not represent is the quasi classical Victoriana construct which was given to Scotland and made fit for the drawing rooms of London and Edinburgh.
Attending the concert will give a true insight into the real side of Scottish Culture.
Prepare to have your emotions stirred.
Dave Francis and Mairi Campbell – The Cast. Vocals, guitar, violin and viola.
Ken Campbell. Singer Songwriter.
Hamish and Fiona Moore. Pipes, Fiddle, Piano.
Scott Gardner. Solo Bothy Ballad Singer.
Fin Moore and Sarah Hoy. Border Pipes and Fiddle.
Laureen Merrieman. Unaccompanied Traditional Singer.
Sang Stream – a dynamic and imaginative Scots Choir directed by Mairi Campbell