North East Writers & Chamber Music Scotland
Photo Credit: Kris Kesiak
Photo credit: Pablo Lafuente
Wednesday 21st Sept.
8 - 10.30pm BST (doors open 7.30)
The Blue Lamp, 121 Gallowgate, Aberdeen
An evening of performances from traditional singer Cameron Nixon, and a host of weel-kent NE writers and spoken word performers: Sahar Abdulla, Sheena Blackhall, Jo Gilbert and Shane Strachan, followed by a live music performance of Songs from the Last Page from Gareth Williams and musicians from Chamber Music Scotland, Justyna Jablonska on cello and Aisling O'Dea on violin. The event will be compèred by Mae Diansangu.
Songs from the Last Page is a new musical celebration of Scottish writers and the world of stories, created by composer and songwriter Gareth Williams. From Sherlock Holmes to Peter Pan, Songs from the Last Page presents twelve joyous, wistful, and tragic songs, created from the last lines of some of our nation’s favourite books!
In this special, chamber-pop performance, Gareth will be teaming with award-winning cellist Justyna Jablonska and violinist Aisling O'Dea to bring great works of Scottish and international fiction to life. Featuring musical moments from Alasdair Gray’s Lanark, Jackie Kay’s Reality, Reality, and Ely Percy’s Duck Feet, the performance is a unique opportunity to celebrate Scotland’s writers and stories.
Gareth Williams is a Scotland-based composer and songwriter. He has worked with The National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Opera, and Tapestry Opera on productions including The 306 Trilogy (created with Oliver Emanuel), Elephant Angel (with libretto by Bernard MacLaverty), and Rocking Horse Winner (with libretto by Anna Chatterton). His recent collaborators include fiddler Chris Stout, Scottish indie-folk band Admiral Fallow, and Johnny McKnight. Williams is currently working alongside Glaswegian writer Martin O’ Connor on Breath Cycle II – a sequel to his opera Breath Cycle, which was nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Award in 2015.
Sahar Abdulla, originally from Syria, came to Scotland in 2004 to study petroleum engineering, working in oil and gas for nearly 20 years. Being away from home, writing is her only sanctuary, and her memory is full of the words, images, sounds and smells of her childhood and teenage years. She published her first Arabic poetry collection through publishing house Ibn Rush in Cairo in 2017. She has published short stories in both Arabic and English, one of them through the Central Library of Aberdeen creative writing workshops in 2016. She loves translating and has reviewed many contemporary books, from novels to history and politics.
North-East Makar, Sheena Blackhall is a Scottish poet, novelist, writer of short fiction, illustrator, traditional storyteller and singer. Author of over 170 poetry pamphlets, 15 short story collections, 4 novels and 2 televised plays for children, The Nicht Bus and The Broken Hert. Along with Les Wheeler, she co-edits the Doric resource Elphinstone Kist, and has worked on the Aberdeen Reading Bus, as a storyteller and writer, also sitting on the editorial board for their children's publications in Doric, promoting Scots culture and language in the North-East. In 2018 Aberdeen University awarded her the degree of Master of the University. In 2021 she was appointed Scottish Poetry Library’s poetry ambassador for the Scots language. She has been an Honorary Fellow of WORD Centre for Creative writing since 2014.
Jo Gilbert is a spoken word artist and writer based in Aberdeen, who writes in Doric and English. Jo has won multiple slams, performed all over Scotland and has been widely published in magazines and anthologies - Northwords Now, Causeway Magazine, Dreich and Beyond the Swelkie. Jo’s work has featured on BBC Radio 4 show Tongue and Talk, Edinburgh International Book Festival 2022, and in several art exhibitions and short films. Past commissions and projects include Look Again Festival, StAnza Poetry Festival, Loud Poets, Ten Feet Tall Theatre Company, (un)mother project, Aberdeen Performing Arts and Across the Grain Festival.
As a 2020 Young Trad Musician of the Year finalist, Cameron Nixon, is an up-and-coming Scots Folk singer. He recently performed as part of Celtic Connections 2022, debuting newly composed songs as part of the ‘Rejuvenation’ gig and sang at the opening concert. He hopes to release his first album this year after being a shortlisted nominee for Scots Singer
of the year in 2021. Born in Aberdeen, Cameron grew up in a family surrounded by traditional and classical music and began playing fiddle and singing in primary school and attending the National Youth Choir of Scotland from the age of 9. His bands have ranged from North-East Folk Collective to Harbour Road. Cameron recently graduated with a First-Class Honours Degree from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and then completed a Media and Communications course, presenting a Monday night’s ‘Celtic Music Radio’ show since 2021.
Shane Strachan is a writer and performer based in Aberdeen. His fiction and poetry have appeared in national publications including New Writing Scotland, Northwords Now and Gutter, alongside a novella, Nevertheless (amaBooks), and Doric translations for Itchy Coo fairytale collections. He has staged theatre with the National Theatre of Scotland and Paines Plough, and his spoken-word project, The Bill Gibb Line, was exhibited at Aberdeen Art Gallery and Look Again, alongside further commissions for V&A Dundee. He holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Aberdeen and was shortlisted for Scots Writer of the Year 2020.