In 2014, musician Aidan Moffat embarked on a tour around Scotland playing idiosyncratic covers of old folk songs to audiences unfamiliar with and unprepared for his potty mouth, while director Paul Fegan filmed his game encounters with battle re-enactors, lonely widowers and rival Nessie hunters.
Star rating: ****
Venue: The Hub
The resulting documentary Where You’re Meant to Be has become a tender requiem for Sheila Stewart, the last of a long family line of bothy balladeers who first appears on screen skinning a rabbit and quickly objects to Moffat’s mission to modernise and urbanise her tradition.
It’s a warm, affectionate, bittersweet film with ample good humour derived from Moffat’s city slicker bemusement at countryside culture and the nonplussed reaction of his rural audiences to his repurposed folk songs.
A trio of featured traditional singers, Geordie Murison, Joe Aitken and Danny Cooper, kicked off the post-screening gig with their unvarnished storytelling before Moffat and band zipped through a selection of the songs featured in the film, from the rambunctious likes of I’m A Rover and The Ball of Kirriemuir – the X-rated language always liberally leavened with wit – to the haunting ballads Jock McGraw, Abduction Lullaby and Stewart’s own heartfelt version of The Parting Song.