Scottish Ensemble: Elemental
Music performance with a fiddler and a pianist.
Elemental centres around a new piece for harmonium, piano, fiddle and string orchestra by Aidan O’Rourke and Kit Downes – two musicians with an embarrassment of accolades, and a taste for musical pioneering.
There is no beginning fuses the visceral energy and haunting beauty of Aidan’s traditional Celtic roots with wisps of jazz, folk, ambient and classical. Surrounding it will come a clutch of contemporary works that speak to us of all things elemental – space, silence, waves and air – intertwined with melodies which echo an ancient Scotland.
The piece – and the performance – are inspired by Edwin Morgan’s 1984 poem Slate, generally accepted as a love letter to a politically- and environmentally-battered Scotland. Through music, SE, Aidan and Kit will explore themes of time, change and transformation, particularly in relation to our nation and our world; entities that, as with music, are subject to the constant processes of time. Through sound, we’ll conjure thoughts of the past, present and future of the land we all share – as well as creating a space to contemplate it.
Aidan O’Rourke is a fiddler, producer and award-winning composer who has pioneered a new sound in folk music and redefined traditional forms. As well as performing with his band Lau – who have won Best Group at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards an unprecedented four times – Aidan performs as a solo artist, finding new ways of articulating the tradition.
Kit Downes is a pianist, organist and harmonium player. He has toured the world performing on various keyboard instruments with his own bands – ENEMY, Troyka, Elt and Vyamanikal – as well as artists such as Squarepusher, Thomas Strønen and Django Bates, and collaborated with film-makers, video game developers and classical composers. A BBC Jazz Award winner, Kit has also been nominated for a Mercury Music Award.
Amongst their many collaborations and solo projects, Kit and Aidan perform together as a duo.