Hermon Folk is extremely proud to have the opportunity to host this exceptional pairing of first class musicians who both shine with an adventurous, multi-facetted approach to music that has paved the way to a most successful collaboration inspired by their shared love of literature. ‘Project 365’ is an intriguing symbiosis of spoken word and folk, laced with undertones of Jazz and classical harmonies – nothing less than a special performance – not to be missed!
‘It’s as if Debussy and Ravel were orchestrating Scottish Folk – truly beautiful.’ – Songlines Magazine
Aiden O’Rourke, one of Scotland’s finest composers and multiple BBC Folk Award winning fiddle player, known on the Folk circuit as founding member of Lau, Kan and Blazin’ Fiddles spent a whole year writing daily musical responses to James Robertson’s short story collection ‘365 : Stories’ (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin Books Ltd 2013). One song every day!
By the end of the year he had written 365 new tunes, from which he selected 22 to record with Kit Downes on harmonium and piano. Kit is a BBC Jazz Award winning, Mercury Music Award nominated, solo recording artist for ECM Records who has toured the world with artists such as Squarepusher and Django Bates and is well-known for collaborations within the Jazz genre, such as with saxophonist Julian Arguelles.
‘It all began with short stories’, Aidan O’Rourke says. ‘James Robertson, one of my favourite Scottish authors, wrote a short story every day for a year, and each story had exactly 365 words. I loved reading those stories: a daily dose of poetry and wisdom. And I loved the writing. The language is emotional, concise and apposite. Somehow the words and the pacing of the stories felt musical. I was intrigued by the discipline of setting such a quantifiable daily creative ritual. Would the same be possible in music…?’ Aiden explains further: ‘There’s no doubt the tunes are based in Scottish folk music; that’s my backbone, the place I come from, the traditional language I love. But, like the music I make with my trio Lau, I’m always interested in new ways of playing with old forms.’ Giving credit to his collaborator Kit Downes, Aiden explains about the creative process: ‘Kit has an extraordinary ear for harmony, informed by jazz, Ravel and the church organ repertoire he grew up playing. Occasionally I would send him rough solo recordings of the tunes and he would respond by harmonising them. He did complex and wonderful things with them, took them places I hadn’t imagined. (…) – the process felt adventurous and intuitive.’
Aiden O’Rourke and Kit Downes recorded excerpts of their project work and toured Volume 1 of the first double album in the U.K. throughout April 2018. This concert is the live musical performance of Volume 2, due to be released on Limited Edition double CD by Reveal Records in May 2019.
There will be a limited number of Early Bird tickets at £10 available – you better be quick!
More about Aiden O’Rourke:
More about Kit Downes:
What the author James Robertson has to say about the project:
‘I am amazed that Aidan O’Rourke went through an entire year composing his daily musical responses to my 365-word stories. I am even more amazed, and deeply impressed, by the beauty and variety of these recordings by Aidan and Kit Downes.’ – Author James Robertson