College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

All-star cast brings precious archive to life

A stellar cast of musicians and writers is taking part in an online event that celebrates a remarkable University resource.

Distinguished performers from both sides of the Atlantic will present a varied programme inspired by the School of Scottish Studies’ Archives.

The day-long extravaganza on Saturday (22 August) will bring to life the unique cultural treasure trove, which includes photographs, films, sound files and rare historic documents

The event will provide fresh perspectives on this vital resource – and its vast array of recordings of songs, music, stories and poetry in Scots, Gaelic and English,

New work

Daytime events include specially commissioned new work from Scottish musicians Mhairi Hall and Rachel Newton, as well as film screenings and panel discussions.

An evening concert – hosted by Professor Gary West, Chair in Scottish Ethnology – will feature BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year, Ali Levack.

Also taking part will be musicians Julie Fowlis & Éamon Doorley, Fulbright-Scotland Visiting Professor Margaret McAllister and acclaimed storyteller Ian Stephen.

We look forward to sharing this fantastic line-up, bringing together different audiences, and making connections through our shared cultural heritage.

Mike VassArchives Traditional Artist in Residence

Transatlantic guests

The concert will feature three transatlantic guests – singer Aoife O’Donovan, fiddler Alasdair Fraser and dancer Nic Gareiss – and Glasgow based Chinese singer and storyteller Fong Liu.

 Dr Neill Martin, Head of Celtic & Scottish Studies, said the event was conceived amid the early stages of lockdown, when music seemed to stop and all became eerily quiet.

 It is, he believes, an assertion of the power of music, song and the traditional arts of all kinds to create and sustain community in times of adversity.

Influential role

School of Scottish Studies Archives Traditional Artist in Residence Mike Vass said many of the artists have a long association with the Archives and have drawn inspiration from it.

Hosting this event online allows the School to shine a light on the creativity that springs from this amazing resource, and on the wealth of material contained within it.

The event will serve as a taster of what is to come in 2021, as Celtic and Scottish Studies prepares to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the School of Scottish Studies.

Events will be streamed on the Celtic & Scottish Studies Youtube channel and Facebook page from 2pm.

Related links

Celtic & Scottish Studies Facebook page

School of Scottish Studies Archives

Image credit: Neil Hanna