News

Pomegranates Festival Highlight: Trad Dance Residency Sharing

We are delighted to announce a new chapter in our ongoing partnership with Dance Base, Scotland’s national centre for dance. For the first time this year, our joint Trad Dance Residency is part of Pomegranates Festival – Scotland’s festival of international traditional dance. This professional development opportunity for dance artists based in Scotland reflects our shared belief that traditional dance practice is a central part of our ever-evolving intangible cultural heritage. To nourish the continuation and exploration of trad dance practices from across the world, together we co-fund a week-long Trad Dance Residency at Dance Base through an open call, which in 2024 was awarded to Marianella Desanti. Previous residents include Mairi Campbell and Kalubi Mukengela–Jacoby. This year the residency runs from 22-26 April 2024 as an integral part of Pomegranates. The sharing will be accompanied by live music and followed by a post-sharing feedback session and a pomegranate cocktails reception.

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Trad Dance Residency Sharing | Friday 26 April 17:30 – 19:00 

Dance Base | 14-16 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2JU 

Pay What You Can | £5, £10, £15 or… 

BOOK NOW

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Join us for the residency sharing and witness Scottish dance artist Marianella Desanti explore her Costa Rican heritage through Dorita – a work-in-progress celebrating life and death. It is inspired by Central American traditional dance, including La Danza de la Muerte (Dance of the Death). Experience the fusion of cultures manifested in the Latin rituals of prayer, the creation of altars, music and dance. See how the dance captures the last days of Dorita, a Costa Rican grandmother at the end of her life who asks her granddaughter to light a candle so that when she should die, she would not have to pass in darkness. It is a celebration of life through honouring death.

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In the words of our resident artist:

“La Danza de la Muerte is a dance of grief, remembrance and moving into the light. It is about acknowledging the pain of the past and the loss of those that we have loved, and through movement verbalise the struggle of these very human emotions. Through this residency, I hope to explore the movement of traditional Latin American dance and allow it to merge intuitively with my classical ballet formation. As a mature ballerina, my body has to rediscover new sequences, patterns and rhythms of movement. I wish to expand my repertoire to include this dance language which takes me back to my childhood in Costa Rica, as I transform into this older Edinburgh dancer and move into my future. I also wish to further explore the healing power of dancing through grief. Dance allows the exploration of human emotion in its rawest form. Aboriginal Costa Ricans preserved La Danza de la Muerte as it was a medium to overcome the paralysing pain of loss during the genocide of Spanish colonialism. Through dance they survived and preserved the memory of their lost ones. I wish to preserve this cultural heritage as well, and explore its potential to support mental health and to share this gift of healing dance with my community in Edinburgh.” Marianella Desanti

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Marianella Desanti is a dancer and choreographer based in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Marianella’s work is a constant exploration of how dance transcends barriers, heals the mind and body, preserves our stories, and brings communities together. Desanti gathers inspiration from personal narratives, the environment, and cultures. Each one of her dance pieces embodies a life experience, inspired by collaborations with artists from around the world. Further details about Marianella’s practice: www.marianelladesanti.com Follow the artist on Instagram: @marianelladesantiballet

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Established in 2022, Pomegranates is Scotland’s springtime festival sowing the seeds of Scottish and international traditional dance across the country. Initiated and curated by the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland in partnership with TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland), Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh City Libraries, Dance Base and the Scottish Storytelling Centre. This year, the festival season features artists’ residencies and social dance sessions, exhibitions and tours, shows and workshops, plus our first Pomegranates Family Sunday. Further details at https://linktr.ee/pomegranatesfest

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Featured images of Marianella Desanti by Duncan McGlynn and Jia Mackenzie

News

A dancer? Advance your Professional Development in a Day

At the heart of our Pomegranates Festival, once again, is the intensive day of professional development workshops led by Scottish artists and creative migrants based in Scotland. This year the line-up includes 12 trad dance workshops taught by 14 dance artists including Evie Waddell, Nadia Khattab, Niki & Yangyang, Lara Russo & Inesa Vėlavičiūtė, Gica Loening, Vassia Bouchagiar-Walker, Angel Godwin, Jack Anderson, Brigitte Cicilya Juliet, Tony Chen, Sabie Madubela and Lucia Leeson (Motherfunk), all accompanied live by 11 musicians, including Isla Ratcliff, Petros Tsaftaridis & Yannis Konstas, Chris Lyons, Ella Hashemi, The Badwills Band, Jed Milroy, Jieyi Wang and Nemo Ganguli with whom we circumnavigate the globe from Scotland to South Africa in just eight hours. What is more, once again the Pomegranates 2024 day of workshops is entirely FREE to attend in person in Edinburgh or join from anywhere in the world via the festival livestream – all thanks to our ongoing partnership with our major academic partner Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh! 

 

POMEGRANATES 2024 FESTIVAL >>>>> 12 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS

Saturday 20 April 2024 09:00-17:00 BST (British Summer Time)

St. Leonard’s Land Dance Studio, The University of Edinburgh, Holyrood Rd, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ, Scotland

ATTEND IN PERSON >>>>>>>BOOK NOW >>>>>>>>FREE 

JOIN THE LIVESTREAM >>>>>>>BOOK NOW  >>>>>> FREE

DOWNLOAD THE PROGRAMME NOW >>>>>> FREE

But how did pomegranates become a metaphor for the process of creative professional development? While curating the pilot festival edition of Pomegranates we came across the line “Attracts me like a pomegranate”. It was initially the second line of the Beatles song Something (1969) written by George Harrison. “Pomegranate” was only used as a temporary filler before Harrison settled on the final lyrics, yet for us, pomegranates came to stand for the process of workshopping, experimenting and teaching which often remains hidden from the public eye.

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In addition, all workshops will be attended in-person or online by our Pomegranates Festival 2024 artists-in-residence, including Jonzi D (hip hop theatre), Mare Tralla (screen dance/performance art), Jim Mackintosh (poetry/spoken word/storytelling) who will draw inspiration from all the workshops to create their creative responses to be presented at the Pomegranates festival finale on the stage of the Scottish Storytelling Centre on Monday 29 April 2024 – a triple bill of poetry, dance and screen dance to mark UNESCO’s International Day of Dance. Tickets are selling fast. All on Pay What You Can basis (£5, £10 or £15). BOOK NOW. 

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What else is new at Pomegranates 2024? This year we kicked off the festival season on 24 February with five world dance sessions at Edinburgh’s Stockbridge Library, four interviews with feisty women of Scottish trad dance for the new two-parter podcast episode of our Trad Dance Cast, three heritage craft workshops, two exhibitions and a sustainable fashion show!

Amongst the highlights of this year’s long festival weekend 25-30 April is a special presentation about the 60 years of Europeade; two walking tours about the dance history of Edinburgh’s Old and New Town; the newly revised dance theatre adaptation of Hamish Henderson’s Elegies, followed by a Lindy Hop session; our first Family Sunday and a grand finale with a triple bill of poetry, film and Hip Hop dance theatre. Do explore all aspects of this year’s festival and enjoy the pomegranates cocktail of movement!

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Pomegranates is Scotland’s springtime festival initiated and curated by the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland. Established in 2022 as part of Edinburgh Tradfest, Pomegranates returns in spring 2024 to once again sow the seeds and sequins of international traditional dance in Scotland and culminate into a celebration of UNESCO’s International Dance Day (29 April) with a long weekend of dancing around the world but also filled with art and music, films and poetry.

 

 

News

Dance Around the World – a new exhibition of trad dance books and artefacts from Scotland and beyond

We are delighted to announce not one but two trad dance exhibitions curated by the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland as part of Pomegranates 2024 festival of international traditional dance – Dance Around the World 3–30 April 2024 at Edinburgh Central Library and Vengefully Changed Allegiance 23–30 April 2024 at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, both exhibitions are free and open to all, as well as accompanied by craft workshops, shows and walking tours.

Click here to learn about Vengefully Changed Allegiance and read on to find out more about Dance Around the World exhibition below.

 

Dance Around the World is a new exhibition displaying over 100 items on loan from public and private collections of world traditional dance books and artefacts. It features items from over 20 different countries including Scotland, Greece, Estonia, Poland, Bali and Japan.

Our collaboration with Edinburgh Central Library began in June 2023 when we brought trad dance performances to the library, possibly for the first time, while celebrating the feisty women-tradition keepers and dance innovators as part of the 10th anniversary of the Harpies, Fechters and Quines Festival. We even recorded one of our Trad Dance Cast video podcast episodes at the library with the legendary trad dance artist and costume maker Margaret Belford. It was then when we pencilled and penned our love letter to the library – this very dance exhibition and all the related festival activities, including the craft workshops and the walking tour. Iliyana Nedkova, Co-curator of the Dance Around the World exhibition

Edinburgh Central Library first opened its doors in 1890 and has gone from strength-to-strength ever since, comprising six departments including specialist collections for art and design, music, local history and children’s books. The building has many wonderful architectural features, including a beautiful domed ceiling above its Reference Library. There is an ever-changing programme of exhibitions, events and activities for children, young people and adults, including the Dance Around the World exhibition.

The exhibition highlights include an Ukrainian folk dance headdress we commissioned for our inaugural Pomegranates Festival 2022 in tribute to the millions of displaced Ukrainians around the world (pictured in the exhibition poster and the installation view above); an original Estonian dance dolly ‘rescued’ from a Finnish flea market and a full outfit worn at Scottish country dances since 1978 by a lifetime member of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.

This year’s festival commission is a Barbie doll clad in a tartan frock by our fashion designer-in-residence Alison Harm of Edinburgh’s Psychomoda brand, whose solo exhibition Vengefully Changed Allegiance offers further insight into her sustainable fashion practice while exploring the role of tartan in Scottish trad dance.

Alongside the numerous books on display as part of the Dance Around the World exhibition selected from seven private collections, as well as the catalogue of the Edinburgh City Libraries, there are rare artefacts, including a pair of exquisite lacquer Geta shoes and an Obi bow and sash belt worn as part of the traditional wrap-around costumes for the Bon Odori summer dance festivals in Japan, and at our inaugural Pomegranates Festival 2022 in Scotland.

Edinburgh-based dance artist and art historian who is one of the major contributors to the exhibition Agnes Ness said:

I was so excited to go through my own library, photo albums and memorabilia and select a range of books, postcards and medals for the Dance Around the World exhibition – a wee testimony for my lifelong passion for art history and dance which dates back to my childhood spent in competitive Highland dance in the 1950s, leading to my current adventures as a teacher in Dance History at Dance Base, Scotland’s National Centre for dance where I am a founding member of the 24 Carat Gold Dance Group for those aged 60 and above. Agnes Ness

Another major exhibitoin contributor is Colin MacLennan (as pictured with Agnes Ness at the exhibition launch below) who has been involved in many forms of dance from an early age, including ballet, Eastern European folk, Greek, Renaissance, Scottish country and ceilidh, along with Irish step and set dancing. He continues to dance almost daily while supporting both the Edinburgh International Folk Dance Group and Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland as a trustee.

Amongst the heirlooms in the exhibition is a silver brooch with a Viking ship motif which used to adorn the trad dance and song costume of the Estonian grandmother of the festival’s artist-in-residence Mare Tralla.

Mare, who co-curated the Dance Around the World exhibition is a Scottish Estonian artist and activist currently working and living in Edinburgh. Her professional art career started in Tallinn in the early 1990s, where she became one of the leading interdisciplinary artists of the younger generation, conducting a feminist revolution in the field of contemporary art in Estonia. Mare combines a variety of media in her work, from video, photography and painting to performance and interactivity. She also often utilises traditional crafts like knitting and weaving in her practice, including through her long-term craft project Natty Peeps. In the artist’s own words:

I am so grateful for the opportunity to co-curate the Dance Around the World exhibition in collaboration with this year’s Pomegranates Festival and Edinburgh City Libraries and to offer hands-on craft workshops on 10, 17 and 30 April, 6pm. All free and open to all with a free ticket which could be booked here. I hope that many a craft enthusiast will join me to seek inspiration from the new exhibition to make our own costume jewellery and homeware while tracing the importance of tassels and pom-poms across the trad dance costumes from all corners of the world, including the sporran in the show. Mare Tralla

Mare‘s festival residency follows in the footsteps of the artists-in-residence in the first two editions of the Pomegranates Festivals – Claudia Nocentini (Italy/Scotland) in 2022 and Gabriel Schmitz (Germany/Spain) in 2023. Likewise, Mare will create a new commission in her media of choice in response to the festival activities – a new screen dance that will be premiered at the festival finale We are Migrant on 29 April 2024, 7pm, Scottish Storytelling Centre. Book your Pay What You Can ticket here.

Alongside the hands-on craft workshops, Pomegranates 2024 festival goers will be able to join a walking tour on 27 April to learn about the dance traditions of Edinburgh’s Old Town, the Scottish Court and ‘polite’ society. The tour is led by local storyteller extraordinaire Donald Smith and will start from the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a preview of the festival exhibition Vengefully Changed Allegiance by Alison Harm of Psychomoda. The tour will end at Edinburgh Central Library with a preview of the festival exhibition Dance Around the World. Admission is on a Pay What You Can basis with a pre-booked ticket from here.

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The Dance Around the World exhibition runs 3-30 April 2024. Free admission. No need to book in advance.

Open Monday-Wednesday 10am-8pm, Thursday-Saturday 10am-5pm. Closed Sunday.
Location: Mezzanine Level. Accessible by stairs and a lift to level ‘B1, Mezzanine’.

Edinburgh Central Library, 7-9 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EG

This exhibition is part of the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland and TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland) programme of events showcasing Scotland’s traditional arts and cultural heritage alongside international collections.

The Installation views of the exhibition here are images by Mare Tralla. Courtesy the artist and Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland

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Browse through the full festival programme of Pomegranates 2024 here and follow the dedicated festival newsfeed here: https://linktr.ee/pomegranatesfest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

Scottish Music Playlist (34) – New Releases

Enjoy 41 minutes of fantastic new Scottish music in our latest playlist! Featuring releases from Sophie Joint, Jack Badcock, Anna Massie, Alexander Chapman Campbell with Julie Fowlis, Louise Bichan, Ross Miller, Dan Brown, Malin Lewis, and Fraser Fifield with Chris Stout & Catriona McKay.

News

Vengefully Changed Allegiance by Alison Harm – a new exhibition of sustainable fashion exploring the role of tartan in Scottish trad dance

We are delighted to announce not one but two trad dance exhibitions curated by the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland as part of Pomegranates 2024 festival of international traditional dance – Dance Around the World 3–30 April 2024 at Edinburgh Central Library and Vengefully Changed Allegiance 23–30 April 2024 at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, both exhibitions are free and open to all, as well as accompanied by workshops, shows and tours. Read on to find out about Vengefully Changed Allegiance. 

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Vengefully Changed Allegiance is the first solo exhibition in a public institution by fashion designer Alison Harm, the founder of Edinburgh’s own Psychomoda brand, who has been challenging our opinions for the last 30 years on who can wear what and where by mixing different tartan patterns together and upcycling industry scraps, vintage cloth and broken jewellery.

Curated specifically for the Pomegranates 2024 festival, this exhibition of sustainable fashion also challenges the living tradition of the tartan cloth still used for the Highland Dress dance costume and the kilt with all its accessories. By tradition, we are supposed to choose tartan patterns according to our clan name without mixing the tartan patterns in the way daring designers like Alison Harm do. Featuring a collection of garments displayed on mannequins and on models, as captured in the new photography by Amanda Roberston, the exhibition also poses the question of safeguarding and innovating the intangible cultural heritage of both the Highland Dance and the Scottish tartan.

In the artist’s own words: 

“Fashion is cyclic. Today we might wear clothing and styles from the 1980s to show our allegiance to a musical, political or cultural theme from the past. As a young designer I trained in the Punk Rock environment of the 1980s when the tartan fabric became part of the symbolism of that cultural movement. This new collection of garments in the exhibition is also my unique homage to the Jacobite revivalist movement of the 1880s, during the reign of Queen Victoria, which instigated a renewed romanticised interest in the Scottish tartan textiles and fashion styles.”  Alison Harm

The exhibition includes free, drop-in, on-demand artists’s and curator’s guided tours daily 23-30 April 2024. In addition, there is a fully-booked preview with the artist Alison Harm and curators Iliyana Nedkova and Wendy Timmons accompanied by a new dance and fashion show featuring the models and garments presented in the exhibition and Highland dance artist Abby-May Shearer, a guest-piper and live music courtesy of Castle Rock Jazz Band – Pomegranates 2024 festival resident musicians.

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Established in 2022, Pomegranates is Scotland’s springtime festival of world traditional dance. Initiated and produced by the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland in an ongoing partnership with TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland), Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh City Libraries, Dance Base and the Scottish Storytelling Centre. This year, the festival features artists’ residencies and social dance sessions, exhibitions and tours, shows and workshops, plus the first Pomegranates Family Sunday. Find out more about Pomegranates festival here: https://www.tdfs.org/pomegranatesfest2024/

Vengefully Changed Allegiance is part of Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland and TRACS programme of events showcasing Scotland’s traditional arts and cultural heritage. TRACS has been recently appointed as an advisor to UNESCO on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in Scotland and this exhibition showcases ICH in practice through highlighting the sustainability in the fashion industry while exploring the role of tartan in Scottish trad dance.

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All production shots featured here © Amanda Robertson are from the photo session for the exhibition Vengefully Changed Allegiance by Alison Harm 

News

FISHING by Stephanïe Vandëm – A New Exhibition Inspired by Scottish Fishing Communities and Seascapes

FISHING by Stephanïe Vandëm – Opens 3 May until 15 June

Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh EH1 1SR

A new exhibition inspired by Scottish fishing communities and seascapes will go on display at the Scottish Storytelling Centre as part of the TRACS programme during Edinburgh Tradfest from 3 May to 15 June 2024.

Artist Stephanïe Vandëm imaginatively combines oils and mixed media materials salvaged from harbours, beaches and shipyards to create large-scale works that evoke the linkages between the communities of the North East of Scotland and their fishing heritage. 

Drawing from the rich traditions of Renaissance and Latin American art, FISHING will present 13 semi-sculptural works that explore the pressing environmental and identity concerns of our time. 

Rubber gloves, ropes, nets, buoys, and crab shells are used to give tri dimensionality and texture to the works. Plastic sushi fish drained of their soy lifeforce cling to the surfaces making us ponder their infinite life expectancy and the material’s detriment to all sea and land-living creatures. Screws, nails, and other metal bits left by the artist’s late husband populate the paintings’ surfaces recreating the colours and textures of a busy shipyard. Pinecones turned into lobster tails; twigs turned into crab’s eyes all used to create compositions that connect us emotionally to Time, Identity, Heritage, and the Environment.

Artist Stephanie Vandëm explains: “My work is firmly rooted in classical principles, merging time-tested oil painting techniques and semi-abstraction, to pressing contemporary themes and universal human struggles, resulting in monumental semi-sculptural paintings.

“The pieces resemble an archaeological find sedimented in cement, sand, metal and found objects. They create puzzles, connecting the personal, political, and spiritual elements of my own life and practice. Aberdeenshire’s motto, ‘from mountain to sea’ inspired me throughout this collection.”

Sculptural pieces in the exhibition include boxes encased in sand, cement and the ‘bones’ of a metal creel looking like they have been hauled from the sea depths, bearing witness to the many lives lost across generations and continents. 

The tactile and playful nature of the work invites audiences to interact with it by moving the ropes and nets, to create new images and build stories within stories to explore beneath the surface layers leaving space for personal interpretations.

Steve Byrne, Director of TRACS said: “As someone who grew up on Scotland’s east coast, I was immediately struck by the familiarity and strong imagery of Stephanie’s work. It resonated with me and the sense of place I feel about that part of the world. I recognised the shapes and colours of the kind of work taking place in harbours up and down the coast that have been a key part of local communities for decades.

In celebrating the contribution of fisher folk, the exhibition gives voice to those involved in a precarious industry that has so much heritage, tradition and craft to explore, which often mean a great deal to fisher folk and their families. The works also challenge us to think about our impact on the environment through the inclusion of shore finds, opening up conversations around sustainability. At TRACS we look forward to helping safeguard that living heritage and lore, the traditions and customs of fisher communities through our developing work with Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in Scotland.” 

The exhibition will also be complemented by information panels on traditional craftwork related to fishing communities, in partnership with the Scottish Fisheries Museum at Anstruther. 

About the artist

Brazilian by birth and educated in Paris, London, New York, and Florence Stephanïe Vandëm worked extensively abroad before settling in the Northeast of Scotland. Her style lies between realism and abstraction, painting and sculpture with a strong sense of narrative derived from the artist’s Latin American roots. The artist’s creative practice is a fusion of videography, soundscapes, installations, social media participation and mixed-media that creates engaging and powerful contemporary pieces.

With some awards under her belt, Stephanïe Vandëm works in her studio between the mountains and the sea in the idyllic Scottish countryside. The artist’s strong background in the world of portraiture also sees her work on many private commissions, including painting the formal portrait of the Bishop of Aberdeen. Her pieces can be found in many national and international private collections such as the luxury Fife Arms Hotel, owned by international art dealer Iwan Wirth.

FISHING is part of TRACS’ (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland) programme of events showcasing Scotland’s traditional arts and cultural heritage.  TRACS has been recently appointed as an advisor to UNESCO on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in Scotland and this exhibition showcases ICH in practice through highlighting the unique ways of life, practices, and rich folklore of fishing communities on the east coast of Scotland. 

Event Information

News

Traditional Music Forum Workshops Programme 2024

Announcing the Traditional Music Forum Workshops Programme for 2024!

We are thrilled to unveil a series of industry-focussed workshops designed to equip you with the essential knowledge and skills for your career as a self-employed traditional musician. Whether you’re a seasoned performer or just starting out, our workshops offer invaluable insights and practical tips to help you succeed in the traditional music landscape today.

From crafting a successful funding application to orchestrating a small tour, these workshops are essential for traditional musicians looking to progress and excel in their profession.

All our industry-focussed workshops are free to attend so be sure to seize this opportunity and join us for as many as you can.

In addition to our career-centric sessions, we also have our annual Scots and Gaelic song workshops which always prove extremely popular. Book early to avoid disappointment.

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Storytelling for Musicians
Fri 10 May | 11am (2hrs)
Scottish Music Centre | Glasgow

For musicians who want to be better storytellers on stage. Learn how to improve your patter and set introductions with some basic rules of storytelling. An interactive and fun session led by experienced storyteller Daniel Serridge, where you will learn how to stay grounded, be aware of your audience and try different introductions to songs and music, with honest and useful feedback.

This event is free but ticketed.
More info and booking

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Self-Releasing Your Music
Fri 10 May | 2pm (2hrs)
Scottish Music Centre | Glasgow

Join composer Matthew Whiteside for the ultimate guide on recording and releasing your music, including information on budgeting, rights registrations and digital distribution.

This event is free but ticketed.
More info and booking

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Storytelling for Musicians
Sat 11 May | 11am (2hrs)
Scottish Storytelling Centre | Edinburgh

For musicians who want to be better storytellers on stage. Learn how to improve your patter and set introductions with some basic rules of storytelling. An interactive and fun session led by experienced storyteller Svend-Erik Engh, where you will learn how to stay grounded, be aware of your audience and try different introductions to songs and music, with honest and useful feedback.

This event is free but ticketed.
More info and booking

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Scots Songs from Galloway
Sat 15 June | 11am (1.5hrs)
Scottish Storytelling Centre | Edinburgh

Come and learn the songs of Galloway, with Robyn Stapleton. The songs will be taught in unison and harmony, spanning the themes of nature, farming, travel, and love! This workshop is suitable for all levels of singing experience. 

More info and booking

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Gaelic Songs from the Hebrides
Sat 15 June | 1.30pm (1.5hrs)
Scottish Storytelling Centre | Edinburgh

Suitable for both Gaelic and non-Gaelic speakers, this workshop led by Mischa Macpherson will focus on Scottish Gaelic songs from the Hebrides and include a diverse selection of material including waulking songs, lullabies and puirt-a-beul (mouth music). This workshop is suitable for all levels of singing experience. 

More info and booking

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Funding Applications – They’re Not So Scary!
Fri 21 June | 11am (2hrs)
Scottish Music Centre | Glasgow

Are you thinking of applying for funding for a project but feeling intimidated by the form? Have you applied in the past but not been successful and lost confidence? Perhaps you don’t know what’s fundable in the first place?
This workshop led by Ailie Robertson will take you through the process of writing a successful funding application.

This event is free but ticketed.
More info and booking

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Fine-Tune Your Finances
Fri 21 June | 2pm (2hrs)
Scottish Music Centre | Glasgow

Does the thought of completing your self-assessment tax return fill you full of dread every January? Do you struggle to figure out how much you can borrow if you want to buy a house, and how you can possibly afford to save for a distant retirement at the same time as paying all of the bills that need to be paid today?
This workshop with Fergus Muirhead will take you through the best way to manage your money as a self-employed musician.

This event is free but ticketed.
More info and booking

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Funding Applications – They’re Not So Scary!
Sat 22 June | 11am (2hrs)
Scottish Storytelling Centre | Edinburgh

Are you thinking of applying for funding for a project but feeling intimidated by the form? Have you applied in the past but not been successful and lost confidence? Perhaps you don’t know what’s fundable in the first place?
This workshop led by Ailie Robertson will take you through the process of writing a successful funding application.

This event is free but ticketed.
More info and booking

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How to Set Up a Small Tour
Fri 20 Sept | 11am (2hrs)
Scottish Music Centre | Glasgow

In this workshop Katch Holmes will look at how to best go about arranging a live tour to perform and promote your music. She will look at ways that a musician / band who is just starting out or who doesn’t have an agent / manager can build festival and venue contacts, approach promoters, negotiate fees and costs, advance their shows and promote their tour.

This event is free but ticketed
More info and booking

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Making an Album
Fri 20 Sept | 2pm (2hrs)
Scottish Music Centre | Glasgow

Join Euan Burton, an accomplished Scottish musician and award-winning producer, for an exclusive workshop on ‘Making an Album’.
Delve into the comprehensive journey of album creation, from meticulous planning and pre-production to strategically booking musicians and studios. Learn the art of effective time management, the nuances of collaborating with an engineer and producer, and gain insights into the intricacies of editing, post-production, mixing, and mastering. Uncover the secrets of bringing your musical vision to life and navigating the path to a successful album release.

This event is free but ticketed.
More info and booking

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How to Set Up a Small Tour
Sat 21 Sept | 11am (2hrs)
Scottish Storytelling Centre | Edinburgh

In this workshop Katch Holmes will look at how to best go about arranging a live tour to perform and promote your music. She will look at ways that a musician / band who is just starting out or who doesn’t have an agent / manager can build festival and venue contacts, approach promoters, negotiate fees and costs, advance their shows and promote their tour.

This event is free but ticketed
More info and booking

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News

A tour of Skye during Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week to challenge stereotypes

A pair of young musicians from the Isle of Skye and Edinburgh will use the joy of music to help end stereotypes and break down barriers for people with Down’s Syndrome.

Ester Strachan, a fiddle player from Skye, and Magnus Turpie, a button box player from Edinburgh, who both have Down’s Syndrome, embark on a tour of the island this month to perform in a number of schools, day centres and village halls as part of Down Syndrome Awareness Week, which runs from 18th to 24th March.

They will be accompanied by Ester’s sister, Skye accordionist Iseabail Strachan and guitarist Dominic Blaikie from Edinburgh, and together hope the music and craic will raise awareness and promote inclusion.

The tour is funded by Tasgadh Small Grants for Traditional Arts Fund administered by Fèisean nan Gàidheal and funded by Creative Scotland and National Lottery. The musicians are also being sponsored by Don’t Screen Us Out, a group of over 17,000 people with Down’s syndrome, their families and supporters who are actively working to build a United Kingdom where people with Down’s syndrome are equally valued and have an equal chance of being born.

Ester and Iseabail have been playing music together for many years. They held their first ever online ‘Ester & Iseabail’s Kitchen Cèilidh’ in 2020 for World Down Syndrome Day live on Facebook and have been holding regular events ever since. They are often found at their local folk club in Breakish, and have played together at many cèilidhs and concerts. Ester is a member of this year’s Fèis Rois Inclusive Cèilidh Trail and is looking forward to joining a band and playing at various venues in the summer of 2024.

Ester said: “There are around 47,000 people with Down’s Syndrome in the UK and many of us live happy, independent lives. The law discriminates against us and currently 90% of babies found to have Down’s Syndrome are aborted. Magnus and I have faced barriers throughout our lives, including getting involved in traditional music, but we want attitudes to change and we want to have the same opportunities as everyone else.”

Magnus comes to Skye fresh from a performance with his band The Magnus Turpie Combo at Celtic Connections Battle of the Bands 2024 held at the Drygate, Glasgow. He has performaned at sessions and at public and private events since 2017.

In 2023, Magnus piloted Pathways programmes for both Live Music Now Scotland and Fèis Rois, both of which organisations have recognised the under-representation of people with additional support needs in their programmes. He is also a composer and is looking forward to playing his famous tune, Magnus’ Polka for Skye audiences.

Ester and Magnus have played at sessions together in the last few years, but this will be the first  time they have had the opportunity to perform and tour together with Iseabail and Dominic.

Ester added: “I can’t wait to go on tour. We are looking forward to seeing lots of different people and playing music for them. The theme of WDSD2024 is End the Stereotypes, and this is what we want to do.

The group will play a concert on Monday 18th March at 11am at Tigh na Drochaid Resource Centre in Portree which is open to all. On Thursday 21st March, their tour culminates in a performance at Ester and Iseabail’s local hall Talla Bhreacais in Breakish at 2.15pm, with guest appearances from local performers including Kyleakin Connections, the centre Ester attends. This event will later be broadcast on Ester & Iseabail’s Kitchen Ceilidh page.

Entry is on a Pay What You Feel basis. Any profits made on the day will go towards covering the costs of the events and the tour of schools and other groups and venues in Skye, and to providing more opportunities for inclusive music making in Skye and Lochalsh in the future.

https://www.facebook.com/EsterandIseabailsKitchenCeilidhs
https://magnusturpie.weebly.com/magnus-turpie-combo.html
https://www.worlddownsyndromeday.org
https://www.feisean.org/en/tasgadh/
https://dontscreenusout.org

News

Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2024 – Open Call for Creative Proposals

Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2024

Bridges Between | 18-31 October

OPEN CALL FOR CREATIVE PROPOSALS

Proposals are invited for performances at the 2024 Scottish International Storytelling Festival (18-31 October 2024).

2024 marks the 35th anniversary of the Festival, coinciding with the 35th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Since 1989, SISF has been building bridges between cultures, artists and audiences all over the world through the power of storytelling – connecting past, present and future.

The theme of the 2024 Festival is ‘Bridges Between’. At a time where literal, figurative and societal walls continue to be constructed, SISF 2024 invites practitioners within the wider storytelling and creative community to look beyond these boundaries by submitting a proposal on the theme ‘Bridges Between’.

What we are looking for:

  • Work which relates and responds to the theme of the 2024 Festival.
  • It may be completely new, or a development of something that has been performed no more than five times and in limited locations.
  • It should draw on the creative methodologies of oral storytelling and may include collaboration with other artforms if desired.

 

Who can apply:

  • Each proposal must be submitted and led by a storyteller based in Scotland.
  • Applicants must show a successful track record of performance work.
  • Each applicant is limited to one proposal.

 

Funding available:

We hope to select up to ten proposals. Applicants will be asked to select the category which applies to their proposal. 

  • Five new work opportunities are available at an average fee of £5,000. 
  • Five development work opportunities are available at an average fee of £3,000. Applicants should state how this new staging would be a clear development from the original work.
  • In addition to the ten selected proposals, the Festival will also support a limited number of projects in the first stages of development and/or from early career storytellers, by including them in the SISF programme as work in progress. A fee of £500 will be provided to support a work in progress.

 

Selection process:

Decisions will be made by a specially convened panel, involving both Festival and external expertise. Performances will be scheduled at the Scottish Storytelling Centre and/or one of the Festival’s Go Local venues. 

The panel may opt to support proposals at a lower level than applied for, and applicants are encouraged to explore other grants or partnership funding. Applicants should submit their proposed budget, including any other planned sources of income.

How payment will be made:

Up to 40% of the agreed fee may be paid in advance after issue and return of contract, including acceptance of terms and conditions of the Festival. The fee balance will be paid after delivery of the work to a high professional standard, and on submission of an invoice.

Accommodation and travel expenses:

For the day of performance, if accommodation is required for performers, this will be arranged and funded by the Festival, in addition to the performance fee, but this must be agreed in advance. Travel expenses to perform at the Festival will also be paid in addition to the project fee; these must also be agreed in advance. Public transport, (except air travel), is prioritised wherever possible in support of the Festival’s Net Zero objectives. All other accommodation and travel expenses relating to the development of the performance must be contained within the project budget. 

How to apply:

Please submit your application by completing our SISF 2024 Open Call Application Form by 5pm on Friday 5th April.

Any access requirements or general enquiries can be addressed to [email protected] or if you need access support, please contact or call 0131 556 9579. We can provide any required support to make this process as accessible as possible. 

News

Pomegranates 2024 Festival Programme Announced

The Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland and TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland) in partnership with Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh are delighted to announce full details of its third Pomegranates festival programme which this year starts as early as 24 February 2024 with a series of related events and culminates in a long festival weekend 25-30 April 2024 at the Scottish Storytelling Centre and various venues across Edinburgh. 

The Pomegranates festival, supported by Creative Scotland’s Traditional Dance Target Fund, celebrates Scottish traditional dance and traditional dance practised by cultural migrant communities across Scotland. It provides a platform to showcase new dance commissions and residencies accompanied by live music, poetry, and art; and invites audiences to participate in ceilidhs, workshops (both in person and live streamed), tours, and talks about traditional dance from Scotland and around the world.

This year the festival’s choreographer in residence is MC, dancer, spoken word artist and director Jonzi D who is widely recognised for his influence on the development of the UK British hip hop dance and theatre scene. As choreographer-in-residence Jonzi D will be working with 20 Scotland-based traditional dancers who will perform alongside him on Monday 29 April and showcase their work as part of the festival’s International Dance Day celebrations. Working alongside Jonzi D to create this new dance piece will be poet Jim Mackintosh who is author of We are Migrant; poet, playwright and BBC broadcaster Ian McMillan; and contemporary visual artist and human rights activist Mare Tralla. 

Jonzi D, choreographer-in-residence at Pomegranates 2024. Photo © Dami Rock @darklingdami

 

Another highlight this year will be a newly-devised showing of Elegies, which premiered during the Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2023. This performance, which weaves together dance theatre, spoken word and live music, is a dance adaptation of the poetry book Elegies for the Dead in Cyrenaica (1948) by Hamish Henderson (1919-2002), a soldier-poet, singer-songwriter and scholar-folk revivalist of Scotland. Set in a dancehall and a desert during the Second World War, it embodies ceilidh, jive, swing and lindy hop, accompanied by Henderson’s poems read by spoken word artists Morag Anderson and Stephen Watt, and live music and vocals from multi-instrumentalist Cera Impala.

BOOK ELEGIES NOW 

 

Plus, there will be a talk by Rudiger Hes, President of Europeade who will give an overview of the history of Europeade which is the largest festival of folk dance and music held in a different European country each year, whilst on an initial visit to Scotland to explore the possibility of various cities hosting the 61st edition in 2026. 

 

Pomegranates Festival Programme Launch © Duncan McGlynn

The festival will also include two new exhibitions – Dance Around the World (3-30 April) a display of traditional dance books and artefacts from Scotland and beyond, at Edinburgh’s Central Library accompanied by craft maker-led hands-on workshops; and Vengefully Changed Allegiance by Alison Harm (23-30 April) which looks at the role of tartan in traditional dance. Alison, who is a Scottish fashion designer and the owner of clothing label Psychomoda, will also present a catwalk-style fashion show of her sustainable tartan creations on the evening of 25 April.

 

Over the festival weekend there will be a choice of curatorial tours of the exhibitions, as well as two specially-commissioned tours of Edinburgh’s Old and New Town’s dance history, looking at the under-recognised female dance teachers of the past, with writer and storyteller Donald Smith and dance historian Alena Shmakova.

 

For the first time the festival will run a Family Day featuring a ceilidh for all led by Caroline Brockbank of CeilidhKids, and a matinee showcase by traditional dance artists who are in residence at primary schools across Edinburgh and the Lothians, and Bulgarian and Ukrainian language schools in the city.  

Family Ceilidh led by Caroline Brockbank of CeilidhKids at Abbeyhill Primary School Photo © Scibor Lipinski

 

Finally, before the festival weekend kicks off, there will be a the full day of CPD (Continuing Professional Development) workshops on 20 April celebrating 12 different types of world traditional dance, from South Africa to the South of Scotland, i.e. excavating and reviving a series of traditional dances set to Scottish Lowland and Borders pipes. The workshops, which will provide inspiration for the new festival commissions by Jonzi D, Mare Tralla and Jim Mackintosh, are a key aspect of the ongoing festival partnership with the Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh and will culminate on 30 April with Jonzi’s keynote festival lecture on decolonising the expressive arts curriculum – open to all students, staff and the general public. 

All festival events are presented on a ‘pay what you can‘ basis, while the exhibitions and the related hands-on traditional craft activities at Edinburgh’s Central Library are free and open to all. 

 

Vanessa Boyd, Interim Head of Dance at Creative Scotland commented: 

“The upcoming Pomegranates Festival in the capital promises a vibrant gathering of artists uniting to celebrate and present a diverse tapestry of Scottish traditional dance alongside traditional dance from migrant communities and various cultures. What makes this festival truly exceptional is the breadth of the programming provided by Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland which will enable many more people the opportunity to experience and engage with a strong mix of traditional dance from Scotland and around the world.”

 

Wendy Timmons, Festival Producer and Senior Lecturer in Dance Science and Education at Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh said:

“The University is delighted to be working in partnership with Traditional Dance Forum Scotland on this year’s Pomegranates Festival. The festival is an important part of our year-round work with schools and communities in Edinburgh, and key for our academic studies of different styles of dancing currently practised in Scotland. Scottish Dancing has its place in the festival, but it is the dances from all the different cultures living in Scotland, and the interconnections these create, that make this festival unique. Pomegranates is grounded in diversity and our role at the University is to ensure it reaches the broadest audiences possible through our livestreaming and academic work. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the line-up in this year’s programme and am looking forward to an absolutely fantastic weekend of dance.”

 

Iliyana Nedkova, Festival Producer and Curator of the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland said: 

“It is so satisfying to see that the pomegranate ruby seeds of traditional dance that we planted for the first time in spring 2022, once again blossom into Scotland’s springtime festival for world trad dance. As a new festival born in times of uncertainty, displacement and border restrictions, we were inspired by a poem by Ian McMillan that captured the zeitgeist. Little did we know that Ian would become our first poet-in-residence. Three years on, we remain committed to this duet of poetry and pragmatism. I believe we are the only festival home for the diverse dance forms of the different migrant communities across Scotland from Indonesia and Ireland to Costa Rica and the Congo who all share the primary ingredient of world dance – the triple step.”

 

Tickets available at https://linktr.ee/pomegranatesfest

 

 

The Pomegranates Festival is Scotland’s springtime festival of international traditional dance. Initiated and produced by Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland it is presented in partnership with Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland, Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh City Libraries, Dance Base and the Scottish Storytelling Centre. The Pomegranates Festival is funded by TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland), Creative Scotland Traditional Dance Target Fund, The William Syson Foundation and Scottish Community Alliance through Pockets and Prospects Fund.