The Falkirk Music Pot, performed by some of the area’s most talented musicians and created and directed by acclaimed Falkirk musician Brian McNeill, will premiere at Falkirk Town Hall on Wednesday 25 March 2015. This will be the first of two concerts highlighting the year-long programme of work funded by Falkirk’s Creative Place Award 2014 and produced by Falkirk Community Trust and Falkirk Council, the second of which takes place on Monday 30 March 2015.
Since March 2014, Brian, who writes, performs and teaches traditional music worldwide and founded The Battlefield Band, has been working with musicians and community groups from the area to create this exceptional programme of music. They include: Sing Forth Community Choir, Falkirk Fiddle Workshop, Falkirk Traditional Music Project, Falkirk’s School Ensembles.
The programme will include The Kelpies Suite - six linked pieces of music written by Brian specifically for the project, for orchestra, choir, traditional music groups and soloists. It was first performed at the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay at The Helix last June.
New music has also been commissioned in partnership with David Scott at the University of West of Scotland. Some of this new music and a full performance of The Kelpies Suite will be premiered during the concert, showcasing the abundance of musical talent in the area. There will also be performances by local songwriters and musicians, including Sylvia Barnes, Willy Thomson, and Andy McKean.
The music will be released as a double CD at the end of March on Greentrax Records, Scotland’s premier traditional music label. Brian has worked closely with staff and students at Forth Valley College to record the CD as part of their course work, both in the studio and on location.
The project takes its name from the Falkirk Pot, an iron three-legged cooking pot produced by the Carron Ironworks and Falkirk Foundry in the 1800s and exported to Africa and elsewhere around the world. It brings together Falkirk’s international cultural strands and draws parallels between cultural exchanges and the sharing of songs, music and stories that historically marked the end of the Falkirk Trysts, the town’s cattle markets, in the 18th and 19th centuries.
In 2014, as part of this cultural exchange, Brian and his wife Jacqueline visited Bandawe Girls’ Secondary School in Malawi. The school has an ongoing partnership with Falkirk High – Brian’s old school - and they recorded the pupils singing, which will form part of the concerts and the CD. A bonus of the trip was that they found three of the highly-prized cooking pots – one of which is still in use today.
Brian McNeill said:
“It has been a long-held dream of mine to give Falkirk’s music, of many different genres, the prominence it deserves. As a Falkirk bairn who has spent most of his working life away from the town, it has been an absolute pleasure to come back and find the place bursting with talent. I am delighted to have been able to realise my dream and spend a year bringing together so many different musical strands towards the concerts and the lasting legacy of a double CD. It’s been a pleasure to be involved and the people of Falkirk can be justly proud of what is happening here”.
Ian Scott, Chair of Falkirk Community Trust said:
“Falkirk’s well-deserved Creative Place Award has enabled us to invite successful artists to work together and inspire our communities through the arts. Brian’s passion for music and his love for his hometown is reflected in the outstanding quality of the work that he has been undertaking in our schools and communities since March last year. I am very much looking forward to seeing their achievements at the concert in March.
The Falkirk Music Pot is one of three projects funded by Falkirk’s 2014 Creative Place Award. You can book online for the Falkirk Music Pot using the links below:
Thursday, 19th February 2015