Field Work / Scots Trad Music Awards

This post concerns the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2018,
and why we’d appreciate your nominations.
You’ll find the nominations form of the bottom of the page. Thanks‽

To find out more about MG ALBA, head over here.

INTERROBANG‽ has always quietly prided itself in showcasing some of the best contemporary storytelling, poetic, and musical talent based in Scotland. At the same time, we’re very aware that we’re undertaking that task while standing on the shoulders of giants.

That’s why it was such a huge pleasure to present Field Work with the support of a Tasgadh grant from Fèisean nan Gàidheal at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in April of this year.

The genesis of Field Work was some interstitial music composer Paul Walker created for our Ghosts of the Citadel show at the 2017 Hidden Door festival. Long story short, he researched the field recordings that legendary American ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax had made in collaboration with people like

Jeannie Robertson, John Burgess, John Strachan, Jimmy MacBeath, Flora MacNeil, Isla Cameron, Ewan MacColl, and Hamish Henderson

not far from the Leith Theatre in the 1950s.

Paul then created a suite of music bringing those old Scottish songs, sung onto tape in the 50s, echoing through the early Eighties Scotland where part of the show was set, into contemporary times – in a combination of those influences and some of the composition trends Paul sees in contemporary work.

After INTERROBANG‽ had these beautiful pieces of music in hand, it seemed a shame not to be able to use them again. So, we reached out to some of the best poets, singers, and storytellers in contemporary Scotland and asked them to create some new stories and words to go with this music.

That’s how we came to present INTERROBANG: Field Work‽ at the Storytelling Centre, where we were joined by multiple award-winners Marcas Mac an Tuairneir, Katharine Macfarlane, and Stuart A. Paterson.

Together with Paul and INTERROBANG‽ co-founder Ricky Monahan Brown, these brilliant performers put these traditional songs through another stage of reinterpretation that found them addressing contemporary topics ranging from modern migration to the #metoo movement to the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.

And somehow, we ended the night with a joyful audience on their feet, flinging glow sticks, and enjoying Paul and Marcas’s reinterpretation of Marcas’s Òran Ùr a’ Chomainn as Dùn Èideann.

INTERROBANG‽ would love for the beautiful work that Paul and Marcas and Katharine and Stuart created for Field Work to be recognised. Please check out more of the music Paul created here, and if you’re so inclined, head over to the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2018 Nominations Form and give INTERROBANG: Field Work a nomination for Event Of The Year on p.2.

And while you’re there, please also remember that Marcas is eligible in the Gaelic Singer and New Singer categories, Bothan Dhùn Èideann and The Heretics for are eligible for Club of the Year. We’re sure they’d all be grateful for your support!


‽ Interrogation – Rachel Rankin

Now, of all times, it’s a good time for us to be able to talk about life and death and happiness and sadness. INTERROBANG‽ is very happy to welcome  lively up-and-coming poet Rachel Rankin to our virtual Death Café before her appearance at our show for Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief’s Good Death Week.

There's got to be one in this field somewhere...
Welcome, Rachel – pull up a chair!

Rachel is a poet and writer from Coatbridge. She is based in Edinburgh, where she is following the poetry strand of the MSc in Creative Writing. Rachel has had both poetry and book reviews published in Gutter, Antiphon, The Nordic Riveter and the anthology It’s Got A Heartbeat: A Collective of Spoken Word Poets on the Page. She was a recipient of a Dewar Arts Award in 2017 and was shortlisted for the 2017 Jane Martin Poetry Prize, organised annually by Girton College at the University of Cambridge. She loves Scandinavia and is fluent in Norwegian.

Phew! This should be worth reading…

Continue reading “‽ Interrogation – Rachel Rankin”

‽ Interrogation – Stuart Kenny

INTERROBANG‽’s show for Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief’s Good Death Week is primed to bring its audience some fresh perspectives on what it means to be alive. And also the opposite of that.

If you’ve had the pleasure of enjoying Stuart Kenny’s work on the spoken word scene and elsewhere, you’ll know that fresh perspectives are what he does. As evidenced by his responses to our Death Café-style questions.

A bad pun here, we hear
Perspective on Stuart provided by Perry Jonsson and our pals Loud Poets

What’s he got for us‽ Read on…

Continue reading “‽ Interrogation – Stuart Kenny”

‽ Interrogation – Jay Whittaker

To mark Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief’s Good Death Week, INTERROBANG‽ is joined by some of the most enjoyable writers and performers around to present a new show, Live and Let Die.

So, INTERROBANG‽ thought, what a great bunch of folks to ask some Death Café-style questions, right‽  RIGHT!!!

An excellent start!
First up – Jay Whittaker

For example, Ricky Interrobang attended the launch of Jay Whittaker’s brilliant first full-length collection, Wristwatch last year. The poems Jay shared that evening brushed up against death and grief and brushes with death and many other things, so she’s the perfect guest to kick off our virtual Death Café…

Continue reading “‽ Interrogation – Jay Whittaker”

‽ Interrogation – Kirsty Logan

It’s the last INTERROBANG‽ and the last 404 INK event of the year tonight, and we’re both going out with a bang! For the 404 INK Christmas Party, we’re going to be joined by one of the best practitioners of live lit in the country, KIRSTY LOGAN!

and a long, hard stare
Kirsty Logan and a rather nice cameo necklace

Kirsty’s featured in issue three of 404 Ink’s literary magazine – POWER! She lives in Glasgow and is the author of The Gracekeepers, A Portable Shelter, and The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales. Her fourth book, The Gloaming, will hit the shelves in May 2018. It’s a queer mermaid love story set on a remote island that slowly turns its inhabitants to stone. She’s currently writing a collection of horror stories called The Night Tender.

Awesome, right? So let’s hear Kirsty’s reflections on the festive period…. Continue reading “‽ Interrogation – Kirsty Logan”

‽ Interrogation – Ross McCleary

If you were one of the VIPs who was able to snag a ticket to The Ambassador’s Reception, Interrobang’s very exclusive event with Poetry AF, you’ll be as excited as we are to spend more time inside Ross McCleary’s brain at this Friday’s launch party for issue three of 404 Ink’s literary magazine – POWER!

But that's not even The Ambassador!
“The Ambassador’s parties are known for their exquisite good taste…”

Ross McCleary is still from Edinburgh. He has had work published recently by Five2One and Cease, Cows. He is an editor of the spoken word podcast Lies, Dreaming – which has a new call for submissions out – helps run Inky Fingers, and is overjoyed by the return of the Edinburgh Watch twitter account.  His novella, Portrait of the Artist as a Viable Alternative to Death, is published by Maudlin House.

Ross’s Interrogations are always good value, so we’re looking forward to reading his reflections on Power. Continue reading “‽ Interrogation – Ross McCleary”

‽ Interrogation – Helen McClory

This Friday’s launch party for issue three of 404 Ink’s literary magazine – POWER – is also a bit of a coming out party for Helen McClory as a member of the 404 Ink stable.

Saltire Society First Book Of The Year-winner Helen’s The Goldblum Variations is already to order as part of 404 Ink’s zine series with a limited run, and said award-winning collection On The Edges of Vision and her new collection Mayhem and Death are forthcoming in 2018.

Goldbloomin 'eck, Jeff – that's a bit strong!
“No pay, no Goldblum [Variations]” – Jeff Goldblum
We found out more, in a roundabout sort of way, as we discussed “Power” with Helen… Continue reading “‽ Interrogation – Helen McClory”

‽ Interrogation – Siobhan Shields

The talent keeps coming for the launch of 404 INK – POWER. Today, specifically, Siobhan Shields.

Siobhan’s a modern triple threat: Writer. Poet. Filmmaker.

Ricky Interrobang used to have three cats with five eyes.
And don’t forget, owner of a three-legged cat

We have absolutely no idea how she found time to fit in an Interrobang Interrogation. Seriously, check out this bio. Continue reading “‽ Interrogation – Siobhan Shields”

‽ Interrogation – Kaite Welsh

As you may already know, INTERROBANG‽ is hugely excited to have the opportunity to team up with 404 INK again to launch the third issue of their literary mag: 404 INK – POWER.

And this is not least because we get to hear from one of our favourite writers and a star of 404 INK’s legendary Nasty Women, KAITE WELSH.

Kaite Welsh giving it some literature
Kaite Welsh: Superpower – being awesome

Kaite is an author,  journalist and professional lesbian. Her debut book The Wages of Sin, the first in a series of Victorian feminist crime novels starring fallen woman, medical student and amateur sleuth Sarah Gilchrist, was published in 2017. The second novel, The Unquiet Heart, is due out in August 2018. She covers LGBT issues for the Daily Telegraph, agitates for LGBT rights on national radio and has a colour-coded five year plan.

And these are her reflections on POWER

‽:  Knowledge is power. But if you could have any superpower, what would it be?

KW:  Honestly, I’d settle for being to do 100 squats without wanting to cry.

‽:  Oof! That’s bringing a tear to our eye. Moving on…! We love a launch. Can you remember what it was that launched you on your literary adventures?

KW:  These two plaques in the University of Edinburgh old medical school building – one to Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, and one to Sophia Jex-Blake, one of the first women to study medicine at Edinburgh. The idea of a crime-solving lady doctor in the 19th century was born then… (see the answer below for what happened next)

Unrecorded Sophia Jex-Blake talent: building narrative tension…

‽:  It’s the festive season. What, other than a copy of 404 Ink’s POWER, would make a good gift for a loved one?

KW:  A copy of my debut novel The Wages of Sin, out now from all good publishers. [Well, *certain* good publishers! ? – Ed.] Plucky Victorian heroines! Horrible Victorian medical procedures! Feminism! Murder!

‽:  Ricky Interrobang’s partner has already powered through it! Oh well. Back to the drawing board…. There are loads of great songs with the word Power in the title. Do you have a favourite that powers you up? Or failing that, a power ballad that’s a guilty pleasure?

KW:  The entire Girl Power album by 90s pop heroines Shampoo. The title song is this poppy anthem about violence and drinking and female friendship – you think it’s going to be this Spice Girls-eque lipstick and glitter version of womanhood and actually it’s this incitement to violence on alcopops. 

(note: Kaite endorses neither violence or alcopops – it says here – unless it’s the cranberry Archers they used to do in 2001.)

‽:  People are telling us how much they’re looking forward to the launch of POWER. Without giving too much away, can you tell us a little bit about what you’ll be sharing with us?

KW:  Vlogmas with a difference. And by ‘difference’, I mean ‘cursed advent calendar’. 

Sounds scary! But we’ll all get through it with an alcopop or two. Find out what happens when Kaite opens the doors of her cursed advent calendar at the launch party for 404 INK’s Issue 3: POWER this Friday, 8 December from 7pm at Summerhall. Get your tix here while you can.