In today’s Scotsman, Jim Gilchrist delves into the music pages of the “dauntingly compendious Fringe programme, which offers a wealth of folk, jazz and just about every other conceivable music genre”. There’s a wee mention for Mairi’s upcoming shows at the Jazz Bar in Edinburgh (10th and 11th August, 1-2pm, £10/£7 concessions). Read Jim’s full article here.
Buy Auld Lang Syne here – as heard on Sex and the City: The Movie
Mairi Campbell’s new one-woman theatre show Pulse, directed by Kath Burlinson, has received outstanding feedback from the audience on both preview nights.
“Nearly brought me to tears so many times because I felt it was my own story. It’s everyone’s story,” said one participant.
“I loved the music. I was surprised by the feet,” said another.
“I saw the spiritual root of Scotland which I’ve never seen before,” said another.
Another added: “Powerful. As if I was being invited on a deeply personal level to share.”
Pulse tells the story of Mairi’s musical journey beginning with a painful end to her classical music training.
Mairi charts in Pulse a journey of discovery, which takes her to Mexico and Cape Breton, before returning home to the traditional music scene in Scotland. She steps out on a quest to heal ancient wounds and to find Scotland’s pulse.
Pulse is deeply touching, funny and potent. Mairi digs where she stands, weaving live viola and voice with tracks from her latest groundbreaking album ‘Pulse’, as well as animation, movement and storytelling.
The excellent journalist and writer Jackie Kemp wrote a piece about Pulse on her website prior to the show opening.
The show is directed by Kath Burlinson, music is by Mairi Campbell and Dave Gray and animation is by Claire Lamond.
Mairi said: “The responses from the first ever showings of Pulse were absolutely brilliant. I felt such support and empathy in the theatre and we really appreciated your feedback at these previews.”
She added: “Huge thanks to director Kath Burlinson for holding and shaping the unfolding of Pulse, David Gray for your massive sonic imagination, Claire Lamond for bringing the drawings alive and not going dotty!”
Pulse ran for two nights at North Edinburgh Arts Centre on 12 and 13 June. There was a full houses on both nights and audience feedback was facilitated.
Mairi and team are looking forward to many more performances of Pulse the show in 2015 before doing a full run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016.
‘Wild, gentle, primal… and honest’
Watch the trailer for Pulse:
Pulse the show is available for booking from November 2015.
To book Pulse for your theatre venue, or for more information, contact:
Recently Joan Armatrading asked me to support her in the Scottish leg of the tour. Fab! It’s her last major tour so very special to be asked. This time all the gigs were in Scotland which felt significant somehow. It was the week after the referendum and my heart was still in my mouth, sore, yet also really open! I loved every minute of the gigs… it’s great when you don’t think you’ve got anything to lose!
I was pushing my edge, taking risks, but I wasn’t the only one. The audience met me. They sang and strongly responded to the songs and music: improvising in the moment, creating soundings out of songs, building up riffs in the room, holding sound in space… and it really worked! Joan’s masterful songs and powerful singing was what folk had come to hear but I felt very honoured to be able to share the stage. Thank you Joan.
‘Harvest Fire’ is an exciting new YMT production this Summer. Dave and I set off Aberdeen for the daunting task of taking forty youths and writing a musical!
My first YMT ‘douche’ was four years ago when Dave and I co-wrote the songs for “Tales from the World’s end’ – three traditional stories from Duncan Williamson book. Kath Burlinson directed the process which was fascinating and transformative. She’s a brilliant workshop leader – if you ever get the chance to go on one of Kath’s ‘Authentic Artist’ three day retreats, GO! That’s all I’m saying.
YMT stands for Youth Music Theatre. Their CEO John Bromwich, tours the country, getting excited about books and writers and shows and stuff, and then he seems to kinda cook it all up in his head and then give you a call and say ‘I’ve had an idea about your musical….it’s something about a mythical tribe that doesn’t yet exist. Draw on the Celtic festival of Lunasa and Burning Man Festival in the Navada desert…it’ll be amazing!
Mairi was a unique and very special guest. I’d never heard Mairi on her own, so it was a bit of a revelation. Swapping between viola, keyboard, voice and combinations of all three, she gave us an intimate, varied and truly engaging evening, with audience participation that was far more than just “singing along” – although we did some of that!. Mairi was experimenting with wordless “soundings” … her own form of mouth music… and she had us all making funny noises and making up even funnier noises. It was fascinating to hear a folk audience respond and make up stuff when they didn’t know that they could do that. Mairi’s long involvement with collective folk singing paid dividends here.
She also test-flew some new songs with us. I’m sure I’ve heard “The Piper and the Maker” … a homage to pipe maker Hamish Moore. Just a lovely idea – to make a song around a maker of instruments and the life that the pipes acquire when someone actually plays them. Peggy Seeger’s haunting “Love Call me home” – a paean to life, the passage of time and friendship – was also a highlight for me.
But most of all, I was moved by the sparse keyboard, “If I should meet my maker” – a song by Mairi and her long-term collaborater and husband David Francis. Stylistically, it looks back to Joni Mitchell in her “Blue” (actually purple!) period … “And maybe, just maybe, I shouldn’t blame my maker for mistakes I could own. And maybe, just maybe I should thank my maker for the chances I have blown“. It is in fairly standard, sad, singer-songwritery territory, but with a “happy-ending” twist that makes it very special “I would ask my maker … to remind me that I was always loved“. I suspect that one will be covered by others as its message is universal. All sorts of crap can be solved and/or tolerated if you are loved.
All in all – a lovely, warm, engaging gig from one of Scotland’s finest.