Archive | Sarah McFadyen

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Halloo

Tomorrow I’m off tae Barga, Tuscany in Italy to teach for the second year at Hamish Moore’s School of Scots Music Song & Dance.
It’s gonna be great crack teaching alongside the Scottish talents of Kathleen MacInnes, Finn Moore, Garry West and Siobhan Miller, as well as the beautiful Melody & Derrick Cameron from Cape Breton.
I got in fiddle training last week playing with Eilidh and her Mum at The Oban Balls’ eight hour marathon, two nights running… feeling ready for any amount of fiddle tunes thrown at me in Italy now.

Well apart from playing the fiddle there has been a fair amount of dressing up in grand attire and painting my face white and dancing around various locations in Scotland with my banjo performing with Oceanallover again. We’ve been back to Orkney for a week, where we got to play in a large oil tank from World War II. We also performed at The Boy’s Ploughing Match, where it wasn’t obvious who out of the two groups were the most eccentric. See photos and video…

Then we did the Edinburgh Fringe at Dancebase and got this beauty of a 4star review from The Times! Woohoo!

Oceanallover is a company based in southwest Scotland that specialises in site-specific performance. Staged in and outdoors at Dance Base until yesterday, and then at Dalkeith Country Park today and Saturday, this free but ticketed production was inspired by a seaside tradition in the Orkneys that dates back more than 200 years. Known as the Festival of the Horse and Boys’ Ploughing Match, it has been adapted by Oceanallover’s director Alex Rigg and his collaborators into a strange but inviting and beautiful event that’s a top photo opportunity.
The hour-long performance begins in the reception area, with a cast of 15 leading us on a ceremonial journey up through the building and out into gardens. The performers are white-faced, like classic mime or butoh artists. They are also wearing elaborate, gorgeously detailed garb that suggests medieval folk tales, travelling minstrels and, most importantly, horses. Four are in leather and hide; each has a staff attached to their back that curls above the head, and sports a tail. When close you can smell their costuming.
The music and vocals (attributed to Joey Sanderson and Sarah McFadyen) are wonderful, and for irony’s sake includes familiar western tunes such as the theme to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. It all leads around and down to the Grassmarket, where the movement finally becomes more unbridled before an unsuspecting crowd. Well worth seeing, and Dance Base is providing a bus to and from the two performances in Dalkeith for £6.50 a person.

Sarah’s news

Firstly I’d like to say how excited I am to be a Poozie. I’ve been going to Poozie gigs since the beginning and I’ve always felt a deep respect for them. There’s something about becoming a Poozie that has made me look at myself and say.. Holy, I must actually be a woman now! I feel like a true grown-up wifey!

I met Eilidh while I was still at school. I had come down to Edinburgh from Orkney to visit the Wrigley sisters and experience the music scene. At that time Eilidh was sharing a flat with the Wrigleys and Angus Grant, and so I was thrown in to that wild world straight away and was instantly hypnotised by Eilidh and her ability to find a party. I would safely say I’ve had more near death experiences with Eilidh than anyone else…. but also I’d say I’ve had more life affirming experiences with Eilidh than anyone else also! So here’s to more of that on our new adventures into Poozie land.

Last year saw me realise some dreams. The main one being that I finished making fiddle number 2! Hurrah! To fill you’s in, in 2009 I went over to Cape Breton and did a 3 month apprenticeship with my good friend; the amazing luthier Otis Tomas. It resulted in me making a fiddle. It is the fiddle that I love and play all the time. I imagined I’d come home and straight away start making another one. However it’s not that easy! Having to gather tools and equipment for a start; and then I had a baby; then I moved house; then I broke my wrist.. 6 years later I finished it! Here’s some photos for you to see.

The other significant thing that’s been going on is helping utilise a community festival on the island of Hoy where I come from and love dearly. It’s been going for two years now. The first year I was involved in programming mostly, and also in performance. This last year saw me take a step back from that, and work on developing the kid’s entertainment. We created a whole kid’s show with music and art workshops combined.

This year the festival is having a year off. However my husband and I, along with the physical theatre company Oceanallover are bringing a physical visual art, costume and music performance to Hoy and the Orkney Mainland. This performance will be an exploration into the mythology of horses and the traditions of ploughing and harness making. I’m super excited about this as we are going to have actual horses in our performance!

Here is one of the horses, and us doing a wee performance outside St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall on our recent field trip.

So it seems May is the big month for me at the moment… that is when I go north to Orkney for our Horse performances. I also go back at the end of the month to Orkney for the folk festival, where we are going to be doing some gigs with my Dad; and also debuting a new kid’s show!

However the middle bit of May will surely be of most interest to you all… that is when we do our first Poozie gigs!!!! Bring it on!

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