Back in 2014 we published an article about the Scottish folk musicians, Linsey Aitken and Ken Campbell who are regular visitors to the city and mentioned that once again their particular sound was heard in Barga Vecchia as they gave a series of impromptu “mini- concerts” in five different locations through out the city.
Why five different locations ? The Scottish cellist and guitarist were being photographed for images to be included on their latest CD and instead of a set piece photo shoot where the musicians hold their instruments and look intensely into the middle distance they decided that the best way to get their message across was to do what comes naturally – play some music.
Palazzo Pancrazi, Piazza Angelio and the Duomo were of course picked as suitable locations plus one or two of the lesser known side roads and then to finish the day, a 45 minute concert outside Aristo’s bar in Piazza Salvi.
Kith and Kin – Linsey Aitken & Ken Campbell. One of the best Songbooks in contemporary Scots acoustic music. Vocals, Cello, Guitar, Northumbrian Pipes, Piano, Laud. From Loch Lomond, Scotland. This CD is, in effect, Linsey and Ken’s musical manifesto, a coming together of both their musical journeys, now combined into one together. Elements of their respective musical backgrounds in Traditional, Celtic, Classical, Contemporary music, you name it… not one genre or another. The songs and music are all about Kith and Kin, each with a Scottish connection and a tale to be told. www.linskenscotland.co.uk
The CD was then mixed down at Watercolour Music – a music production company and recording studio complex in the West Highlands of Scotland, owned and run by producer and songwriter Nick Turner and his wife, musician and broadcaster Mary Ann Kennedy (their site is here) but many of the songs where composed and written right here in Barga .
One is even titled ” Departing song of Angelio” and includes passages from the tune “La Regina di Piazza Angelio” composed by Hamish Moore, the piper and small pipes maker who was Artist in Residence here in Barga back in 2008 and who along with Ken Campbell organised the hugely successful Scottish concert in the Teatro dei Differenti that year (article here)
As you can hear in the short interview recorded outside the Duomo that afternoon, Barga holds a special place in both musicians hearts and continues to draw them back over and over again.
In fact for the cover of their CD “Kith and Kin” they used one of the paintings from the exhibition by Keane, The Duomo of Barga Paintings – based on the 212 extraordinary bas-reliefs, mounted so high on the outer parapets of the Duomo that passersby and parishioners alike seldom notice them. The age of the sculptures, their provenance, their creators — indeed their very purpose and intention — are all unknown.
Fast forward four years and this week a second CD, “Shore to Shore” has just been released by the pair and once again the cover features one of those paintings of the Duomo and this time an added surprise – yet more links between Scotland and Barga.
Linsey Aitken has written and recorded a piece of music specially for the Barga swing Band – The Aristodemos and which includes the following dedication on the CD:
DA ARISTO – Written by Linsey and dedicated to Giovani, Antonella, Lorenzo, Keane, The Aristodemos and all the wonderful people who inhabit this wonderful little bar, the unofficial cultural centre of Barga, the most Scottish town in Tuscany, Italy.
A highly regarded ‘cellist, pianist and vocalist crossing genres from classical to folk. Trained on ‘cello and piano at the RSAMD, she has performed professionally all over the UK from the Royal Albert Hall to the sands of Calgary Bay in Mull.
Collaborating regularly with composer Alan Craig, flautist/composer Louise Burnet, member of classical trio ‘Trois Femmes’ and various quartets.
Founding member of folk band ‘The Cross Borders Band’ she played and sang her way round Scotland, the Edinburgh Festival and other international festivals before joining ‘The Ideal Band’, and subsequently touring with Ken Campbell as a duo.
Scottish singer/songwriter with a well established pedigree over 25 years, with five albums to date, festivals, concerts, TV and radio throughout Europe and beyond. Starting with Glasgow band “Molindinar”, then a much commended duo with Chris Miller [‘Pipers Maggot’ – Topic Records, London]
He then established the highly successful “Ideal Band” following in the footsteps of Glasgow’s “Bob Smith’s Ideal Band” of the 1930’s.
He subsequently toured with Cauld Wind Piper Hamish Moore, recorded two solo albums [“Going Solo” – Fellside & “Hand Pict” – Watercolour] whilst also working with ‘cellist/singer Wendy Weatherby, Stevie Lawrence [Rallion/Red Hot Chilli Pipers/Iron Horse] and Blair Cowan [Lloyd Cole and the Commotions] before re-forming ‘The Ideal Band’ in 2009, and subsequently touring with Linsey Aitken as a duo.