Hard questions, Rachel Sermanni’s beautiful new album, two kinds of presents, Freedom Of Mind Community Choir’s Christmas Concert – and some gigs…you can read it all HERE.
I’m delighted to have received a five star review from Southside Advertiser for the show – you can read it here.
Many things are troubling me on a personal, social and political level at the moment, and many of these may trouble you as well: division and the tendency for “them/us” thinking; violent responses to gender identity, sexual orientation, race, and faith; inequality, oppression and intolerance; knife crime; poverty; social media and its impact on people’s body image and sense of self; consumer culture and fast fashion; addiction and compulsion; climate change, pollution and waste; grief and loss – and the frenetic pace of life, work, and the overload of information/misinformation that’s currently available to people living in first world countries.
I’m aware, given this context, that it may seem like I’m living in some kind of artsy bubble, to be releasing an animated video based on a traditional Scots ballad about two shapeshifters at this time. But traditional songs and stories capture something timeless that speaks to the human condition – to here, and now. And in the re-telling, I can (as folk have always done) adapt/rewrite the story/my story/history/her-story.
As described in the Last Leaves of Aberdeen Ballads and Ballad Airs, where a fragment of the lyric was written down, “Twa Magicians” is a tale “of a blacksmith who importunately woos a lady. To escape him she turns herself by magical power into many shapes…but the suitor has the same chameleon faculty, and contrives to counter each metamorphosis by another that fits it.”
One thing I’ve found myself repeating (to myself, and to others) in several contexts over the past days and weeks is: “you can’t control anyone else, or what happens to you. You can only control how you react and what you do.” In this story, in response to a situation which she does not welcome, the girl uses her (magical) power to change herself, and to act. And she keeps changing, adapting, transforming and moving forward, as she finds herself in new and challenging situations…that makes a lot of sense to me. I’ve never had a fixed sense of identity or self – for me these things seem much more fluid. And magic is never far away! I hope you enjoy this beautiful animation of Twa Magicians by Eleonore Dambre – it’s been a pleasure working with her on the project.
As some of you will already be aware, my dad, Derek Edgar, sadly died of cancer on 28th March 2017. He was an extra-ordinary man: creative, gentle, positive, loving, and determined. He remained just as extra-ordinary in facing cancer of an unknown primary source, for which no successful treatment could be found.
In the last week of his life, I wrote him a thank you card, because I wanted him to know how grateful my brother, myself and my mum were to have him in our lives. He challenged me to take the words of that card, and turn them into a happy song – he knew/knows I find writing happy songs difficult! And he has always tried to encourage me to keep developing my skills.
So that’s where Mòran Taing came from – it’s a song of gratitude for my dad’s life, and his legacy. The title is in Scots Gaelic, and the chorus means “many thanks, goodbye for now, fare you well for now, many thanks”. My mum helped me to write the lyrics, and continues to inspire me with her own positivity in the face of adversity. And Mary Ann Kennedy kindly helped me to find the most fitting Gaelic words for my feelings, and then helped both myself and my CARA bandmate Gudrun to learn how to pronounce them!
On his second anniversary, 28th March 2019, CARA will release Mòran Taing as a single, and make our “official music video” which celebrates his life, and his passions, public for sharing. From Thursday, you can buy the single here and watch the music video on this link.
I hope that the song and video will bring comfort and strength to those whose lives are affected by cancer, and that the proceeds of the single, which will be donated to Cancer Research UK, will help in the battle against this illness which affects so many people. Thanks to my CARA bandmates for their support throughout this project, and to you, for buying the single, and supporting the charity!
The Rendition Project is a unique collaboration between academics and supporters of human rights, which has published research around the involvement of the US and its allies in human rights violations following 9/11. With information on detainees, the global network of detention facilities and over 11,000 so-called ‘rendition flights’, at its core, the project holds governments to account for their actions, whilst representing the victims of their abuses.
I’ve been honoured to be involved in the development of a soundtrack for Tragic Carpet’s radical new work, Rendition, which uses these research findings to explore individual stories, bringing to life the realities of rendition flights, and torture, and how the British Government colluded with the CIA. For me, Rendition raises important questions about how we treat fellow human beings.
It’s hard to describe the show itself, which is a powerful mix of puppetry, soundscapes and visual theatre. Here are a couple of links to wee tasters for the show that might give you a sense of it:
Rendition runs next week from Tuesday 5th – Saturday 9th March at 8pm in the Roxy Snug Bar, Edinburgh, which will be transformed into an installation within which the audience will experience the work. Tickets are available here.
Welcome to my new website! I hope you like it.
The best thing about this new website is it enables me to offer special discounts and rewards to those of you who support me by subscribing to my mailing list newsletter.
You’ll find a button to join the mailing list at the bottom of most of my web pages, including the home page. If you sign up, I’ll keep in touch with a newsletter every couple of months, and whenever I’m able, I’ll offer you special treats! And if you’re already a member – thanks so much for your continued support, and I hope you’ll enjoy the new benefits…
We’re delighted to welcome our new CARA bandmate, Aimee Farrell Courtney! Aimee won the 2010 World Bodhrán Championship, and having played with her, we can see how…we’re delighted that she’s agreed to join CARA, and she’ll be playing with us on our quintet dates – you can check them out here: www.cara-music.com
It’s my 40th birthday! I enjoy living so much that I don’t like to think about mortality too much, but “the big 4 – 0” has made me take stock; I hope that, if I’m lucky, I still have half of my life to go (or maybe even more, if I’m really lucky!). And I’m grateful for all the blessings I’ve had in the past forty years. I have been so fortunate in terms of my childhood, my family, loved ones, and friends, and the fact that I’m able to carve out a career for myself doing what I love; creating and sharing songs and music. I was touched by the honest, open songwriting of young people at this summer’s BandCamp at The BIG Project. Thanks for your votes last month as well – The BIG Project Youth Choir won Young Community Musicians of the Year 2018! I had a lovely gig with Lorna Brooks; it was so nice to share a gig and an evening with her. And very soon, with CARA, I’ll be heading back to a Medieval festival in Selb which was an absolute hoot last time and I’m sure it will be again…I’m a lucky bunny. Thanks for making my job possible! Fingers crossed that I can keep writing, performing and making music in the community for another forty years…
If you’d like to celebrate with me, I’d be delighted if you’re able to make it along to one of the gigs on the forthcoming CARA tour in Scotland…If you saw us on our first Scottish tour back in 2016, we now have a brand new live album out, including 7 new songs and tunes that we’d love for you to hear, including Moran Taing, a thank you song that I wrote for my dad. And if you haven’t seen us before, here’s a wee taster:
I’m really delighted to announce that The BIG Project Youth Choir are winners of the Hands Up For Trad Young Community Musicians Of The Year 2018! Thanks to everyone who voted, and well done to all the winners (including generous and supportive community musicians Alison Burns, Jane Lewis and Protest in Harmony who have inspired and helped us along the way!) and indeed all of the nominees, including Stephen Deazley at Love Music who are out there doing fantastic work across Scotland. And finally, thanks to Hands Up for Trad for thinking to shine a light on it all…happy days
Here’s a lovely review for my new album from fRoots:
Kim Edgar, Stories Untold (Quietly Fantastic QFM004).
Edinburgh songwriter-pianist delivers inspiring, thought-provoking original
songs conveying both the uplift and heartbreak of love and taking their cue
from core credos ‘love is the key’ and ‘write what you love’. Intelligent
quasi-orchestral arrangements impart a dimension of intimate grandeur.