Cultural contribution of immigrants to Scotland to be celebrated at Edinburgh’s Tradfest music festival

A celebration of the contribution of immigrants to the culture life of 21st century Scotland is to take centre stage in one of Edinburgh's most high-profile music festivals.

Monday, 28th February 2022, 12:34 pm
Updated Monday, 28th February 2022, 12:40 pm

Come All Ye, a specially-commissioned event being staged as part of the annual “Tradfest,” will celebrate the different styles of world music - and different nationalities, languages and sounds - which can be found around modern-day Scotland.

The show will feature a mix of newly-composed material by British-Jewish musician Phil Alexander, as well as music drawn from the traditions of performers who have chosen to make Scotland their home.

The Come All Ye concert, which will be staged at the Traverse Theatre on 2 May, will feature Syrian/Kurdish oud player and singer Adnan Shamdin, African-Scottish kalimba player, guitarist and singer Clare Robertson, Hungarian fiddler Jani Lang, Jamaican singer Brina, Indian classical musician and tabla player Hardeep Deerne and Alexander himself on piano and accordion.

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    The show is a centrepiece of this year’s Tradfest programme, which will also feature a concert curated by a new group bringing together queer folk musicians in Scotland and a talk addressing issues around gender inequality in traditional music.

    Organisers of the festival – which will stage in-person shows for the first time in three years in April and May - said the Come All Ye show would feature a “collection of songs, stories, and instrumental music that reflects the cosmopolitan sound of our towns and cities today.”

    Alexander has played with the Edinburgh band Moshie’s Bagel, whose influences are drawn from Eastern Europe and the Middle East, for nearly 20 years.

    Alexander said: “I’m very interested in the idea of tradition as an ongoing, malleable and dynamic resource rather than as a static entity.

    “It occured to me that Scottish musical tradition is very well represented in Scotland, as it should be, as it is an amazing, rich and diverse tradition.

    "But at the same time it seems like there should be a space for representing at least some of the musical traditions that are active within Scotland but are not initially ‘from Scotland.’

    "The impetus for this show was to bring together musicians working across these various traditions as a starting point.”

    Other Tradfest highlights will include an opening night concert headlined by Highland Fiddler Duncan Chisholm, Mercury Prize nominee Eliza Carthy and her singer father Martin, award-winning singer-songwriter Karine Polwart and folk-jazz pianist Dave Milligan.

    Indian musician Hardeep Deerne be among those appearing at the Come All Ye concert at Tradfest in Edinburgh.

    Gaelic singing Sian, rising Isle of Skye act Malin Makes Music, Canadian singer-songwriters Dave Gunning and J P Cormier, Irish trad music stars Nuala Kennedy and Eamon O’Leary, and festival favourites Shooglenifty and Project Smok will also appear.

    Tradfest producers Douglas Robertson and Jane-Ann Purdy said: “We’re thrilled to be able to welcome back so many international acts this year to play alongside some of the very best musicians on the Scottish traditional music scene.

    "The energy and buzz that audiences experience at a live gig is irreplaceable online and we can’t wait to be back in the thick of it all.”

    Siobhan Anderson, music officer at Creative Scotland said: "This year’s Tradfest programme is a real celebration of the best of Scotland’s traditional talent, the rising stars of the future and the incredible international bands that we’re thrilled to see returning to Edinburgh.”

    Edinburgh-based musician and composer Phil Alexander is behind the forthcoming 'Call All Ye' concert celebrating the contribution of immigrants to the cultural life of Scotland.
    Syrian oud player and singer Adnan Shamdin is appearing at the Come All Ye concert at Tradfest.