‘Indyref music’ to be performed at Edinburgh Fringe

A NEW piece of music inspired by last year’s independence debate, a requiem for Edward Snowden and new songs about Scotland’s seas by Alexander McCall Smith will be in an official Scottish Government-backed programme at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year.

Music inspired by the referendum debate is to be performed at the Fringe. Picture: Ian Rutherford

A musical project retracing the epic 1937 trip the writer Neil Gunn made around the Hebrides for his book “Off in a Boat” and a grand piano double act celebrating women who have changed the course of history will also take centre stage this August in the annual showcase of home-grown talent.

The government confirmed today that 21 companies and artists would be sharing £590,000 awarded to the annual “Made in Scotland” programme at the Fringe.

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Now in its seventh year, the initiative sees theatre, dance and musical works promoted under the one banner in Edinburgh with the aim of raising the profile of individual acts and possibly attracting further runs for their shows at home and abroad.

New music group Ensemble Thing, who were formed by a group of composers at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, will be appearing at Summerhall to perform “Independence,” written by one of their number, John De Simeone, an English-born Scots-Italian whose grandfather, John MacCormick, was one of the founders of the SNP.

McCall Smith will be joining forces with Highland pianist and composer James Ross to stage a “song cycle” inspired by Scotland’s maritime history, including fishing, shipbuilding, exploration and naval engagements, at the Famous Spiegeltent in St Andrew Square.

Stockbridge Parish Church will be playing host to a large-scale work - created by composer and sound artist Matthew Collings and performed by theatre company Magnetic North - exploring the legacy of Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing, including loss of faith and security, invasion of privacy and personal sacrifice.

Hilary Brooks and Karen McIver will be performing their tribute to the lives of achievements of pioneering women on two grand pianos at Broughton High School.

Multi-instrumentalist and composer Mike Vass has won a slot with his show In The Wake of Neil Gunn just weeks after a recording was named as one of the contenders for Scottish Album of the Year.

Fringe chief executive Kath Mainland said: “The Made in Scotland showcase is a key platform for Scottish artists and companies at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, allowing them to present their work alongside international companies and raise their profiles in front of influential contacts in the arts industry and the media from around the world.

“Every year it’s exciting to see the incredible opportunities Made in Scotland provides to the artists to take their work beyond the Fringe and tour internationally.

“The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the most significant international platform and launch pad that exists for Scottish artists anywhere in the UK.”

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop added: “Made in Scotland continues as one of the most exciting strands in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

“The eyes of the world are on Edinburgh and our investment through the Festivals Expo Fund is providing a platform for Scottish talent to make the most of the opportunities presented by the festival.

“Over the past few years, Made in Scotland has generated huge interest in Scottish arts and culture and this year’s programme shows Scottish creativity and ambition in abundance.”