“Bravely adventurous – epic and exhilarating” (The Guardian)
“Few contemporary musicians in any category can match either his artistic ambitions or his achievements
in bringing them to fruition” (The Scotsman on Aidan O’Rourke)
“Downes has a quirky talent for making difficult music sound natural – even inevitable” (The Guardian on Kit Downes)
Words, music, the disarming drama of stripped-back storytelling. Bringing together two of the UK’s leading folk and jazz musicians with one of Scotland’s most celebrated authors, 365 is a sparse, evocative and bravely original collaboration.
It began with the words…
James Robertson wrote a short story each day for a year, each story containing exactly 365 words. At first it was just a personal project, a daily routine to test his own self-discipline and rigour, but it grew into a collection of sharp, lyrical and finely observed vignettes. Intrigued by the ritual and inspired by the potent atmosphere of the writing, Aidan O’Rourke – one of Scotland’s leading traditional musicians, fiddler of the folk supergroup Lau – decided to follow suit. He composed a tune every day for a year, each tune a response to one of Robertson’s stories.
Now they perform a bespoke piece weaving together words and music. This show is about old myths, folk legends, everyday lives, hard truths, tender tales, the alchemic power of words and music. Robertson’s short stories are tiny masterpieces told with heroic concision, and he reads them with gentle gravitas. O’Rourke’s music – deeply rooted in the Scottish tradition and spun with off-kilter lyricism – taps into the atmosphere of the stories and lets the message linger. Pianist/harmonium player Kit Downes, a heavyweight of the European jazz scene, adds bold and kaleidoscopic harmonies. The show is directed by Shilpa T-Hyland, one of Scotland’s most exciting young theatre makers.
Talking of the 365 project, Aidan O’Rourke says, “This music is about storytelling – how to tell stories without saying too much. James Robertson wrote a story every day for a year, and each one was exactly 365 words. It began as an exercise but soon it became an essential ritual. James found the discipline addictive and he emerged a year later with a beautiful collection of tales. They are big stories, real stories, mysterious stories, old and new and weird and tender stories. I decided to test out the same process on composition, and in response to James’s words, I wrote a tune every day for a year. Inevitably the melodies are rooted in my own background as a Scottish folk fiddler, but when Kit Downes gets involved he takes the harmonies to the most wondrous places”
Tickets are on-sale now for the following 365 UK live shows (presented by Music-Net*);
4 April Manchester – St Michael’s Church BUY TICKETS
A Music-Net presentation
Tickets: bandonthewall.org | ticketline.co.uk