This lovely view of the Cairngorms was taken from the car window on an early April excursion. It’s good to be getting out and about a bit more. I’m still a wee bit tentative but after a week of in person rehearsals in Glasgow with Sonic Bothy last month it feels a bit less weird to not just be at home all of the time. There was a moment when I first got off the train at Glasgow Queen Street rail station and headed down Buchanan Street that I felt as though I’d entered a parallel universe. The sudden rush of lots of people and traffic …. was overwhelming at first and I stopped for a moment to let the sensory overload subside and then carried on wheeling to the hotel with dad Allori. It was so great to spend a week rehearsing with The Bothy folks and doing what we do best, on this occasion experimenting with an organ, found objects, harmonium, violin, voice, percussion, bass clarinet and a coffee machine!
I’ve started working on a new commission with Drake Music Scotland and Nevis Ensemble called Room to breathe. Ultimately it will be a multi-movement work to be performed later in 2022 which explores breathing post-Covid in different ways with text, spoken word, song, digital instruments, acoustic orchestral instruments and synthesised electronic tracks. In March, myself, Pete Sparkes from Drake Music Scotland and a trio of wind players from Nevis Ensemble met online in a Zoom workshop on breathing led by artist, writer and yoga teacher Laura Gonzalez. It was a fascinating session and led into 2 further workshops in early April where we explored in sound and music some of the ideas from Laura’s session and questions around anxiety and hope as we continue to transition out of the pandemic. There will be a performance of some of this new material at Plug Festival – Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on 25th April.
I’m heading back to Glasgow in mid-April for several weeks of rehearsal with Oily Cart as we prepare Sound Symphony for a new tour during May and June. We first performed the show in 2019 and that feels like a different and distant world now before the pandemic caused us to rethink how we move and breathe and engage with the performing arts. Sound Symphony is a sensory theatre show which engages with its audience in unique ways with sound and music. The audience become part of the performance as the stage space includes them without the usual boundaries. I’m going to be moving from near inertia on the sofa during the past two years to full weeks of rehearsal and this I imagine is going to be a shock to the system as I find and build up levels of stamina again. I’m looking forward to it and to moving my body again! Oily Cart have created a new Sound Symphony interactive website which I highly recommend having a nosey at! You can explore the website here.