More Sarah news
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.
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