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!


The Interrobang Interrogation – Katharine Macfarlane (Redux)

It’s just one day until #TrumpInauguration, and two days until The End of the World (Party). So let’s take this last chance to settle down in the company of Katharine Macfarlane, shall we?

But not at interrobang!
The end of the world DOES lose all mirth for you.

Since we last heard from her, Katharine has added placing at the Scottish Slam Championships to her Harpies, Fechters and Quines Slam title! So we’re very excited to have her come through and give us an interesting perspective on the Trumpocalypse.

Here’s how Katharine answered our questions:

‽:  So, it’s the end of the world. If you weren’t at Interrobang’s apocalyptic party, where would you be and what would you be doing? (Don’t be afraid to give us the juicy details).

KM: Is this your polite way of saying I’m not getting an invite to Interrobang’s Apocalypse Party??!! I’d be in my happy place; on a beach, bonfire, bottle of talisker, some lovely people playing tunes…basically  Interrobang’s Apocalypse Party but on the beach!

Beach!! GEDDIT!!!
Hi! Welcome to the INTERROBANG?! “Beach” party!!
‽: Without giving too much away, could you tell us a little about the inspiration behind the pieces you’ll be sharing with us at Interrobang?

KM: It’s all about Mary Anne.

‽: Picture it – all around the world, books are being taken and destroyed, except literature that upholds our new President’s literary sensibilities. You have the chance to save three books from this Reign of Terror; what would they be?

KM:  No surprise they’re all children’s books… The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Yendor – Rodney Matthews, The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

Books for kids are a good thing: Exhibit A
(h/t @alastairmjsmith for RTing this)

‽: Pick a song or piece of music that you would have played as your personal soundtrack as the world crumbles around you.


Now, THAT’S going on the Interrobang?! EotW playlist!

‽: Describe, in three words if possible, your feelings on Trump’s Presidency?

KM: Send help (sorry)

Thanks a lot to Katharine, who’s retained her Interrobang?! Interrogation Championship! Come along and find out who Mary Anne is at Interrobang’s End of the World Beach Party at Woodland Creatures at 7pm on 21st January.

Beach not guaranteed.



The End of the World Party?!

We’re only a week away from Inauguration Day! Unless you’re really keen, and it’s still the evening of Thursday, 12th January.

Nah man, the jokes are on INTERROBANG?!
“Seven more sleeps. Joke’s on you, nasty Edinburgh people!”

And that means we’re only a week and one day away from INTERROBANG?!’s End of the World Party!!! – 7pm, Saturday 21 January at Woodland Creatures.

We were planning to take INTERROBANG?! on a wee hiatus for the first quarter of 2017. Take a moment to absorb the lessons of our first mini-season.

Dreaming of doughnuts.... Mmm, doughnuts.
Bored now…

But while we were preparing for The War on Christmas?! Heather and Laura of the endlessly awesome 404 Ink (and Nasty Women, our favourite kind) asked if we were planning a show to mark the anointment of The Donald. Well, we hadn’t been

So. Are you ready for the New World Order, President Donald J. Trump Style? We’re not. 21 January is Post-Trump-Inauguration Day and we’d like to commiserate with you. Come along to INTERROBANG?!‘s fourth night of frivolity and fun, listen to some post-apocalyptic poetry and story-telling, and get inordinately drunk with us.

Fire onstage only
Arrive promptly and do Dr Pepper Bombs with your hosts? G’WAN!!!

Performing on this confusingly sad yet fragilely optimistic night, we have:

  • Edinburgh’s greatest living writer of the humorous, volunteer-performed, two-handed playlet, JACQUES TSIANTAR’s latest Big Two-Hander, specially themed with hopelessness and despair?!?!
  • Harpies, Fechters and Quines 2016 Slam Champion KATHARINE MACFARLANE travelling through to Edinburgh with a set themed on the President-elect’s mother’s island home?!?!?!

Aye, well, that’s well worth a wee Google

Your INTERROBANG?! hosts, RICKY MONAHAN BROWN and BETH COCHRANE will also offer some words of condolence on the night.

And since y’all make INTERROBANG?!, a couple of Interrobangers will be joining our performers on stage with (it says here) 5-7 minutes of apocalyptic work. It’s a ton of fun, we promise!

Come mourn, laugh and drink with us, for a charmingly small door charge of £5 – a fee which goes into paying our performers and funding INTERROBANG?!’s future endeavours. And we’ve got some YUGE, format-bending fun coming up in 2017.

Who knows what 2017 will bring, so enjoy it while you can!

Or 12-20 January, frankly
DISCLAIMER: The INTERROBANG?! End of the World Party does not guarantee the survival of the world 20-21 January.




The Interrobang Interrogation – Katharine Macfarlane

The bumper crop of Interrobang Interrogations for You Can’t Go Back Again?! continues today with Katharine Macfarlane, who wowed the Interrobangers with her set at the Oxjam Edinburgh Takeover.

Let’s find out more…

Aye, that'll lose your mirth
Katharine shares her thoughts on having to do our Interrogation…

By day Katharine is a librarian, sharing stories and songs with children of all ages. At night she reads poems to grown ups. Rooted in the landscape of the west of Scotland, Katharine Macfarlane’s lyrical poetry blends with discussion of traditional Scottish culture and history and myths from the wider Celtic world to provide a creative reimagining of women’s voices. WidelKissssy published and broadcast, she is currently the Harpies, Fechters and Quines Slam Champion.

The evocative language used by Katharine Macfarlane to bring Scottish towns and countryside to life, using fleeting imagery and enchanting chronicles, has had listeners falling like roses thrown upon theatre stages – The Mumble

And here’s how Katharine answered our questions:

?!: The theme of Interrobang #2 is You Can’t Go Back Again. Is there anywhere you can’t go back again?

KM:  Oh there used to be lots of places I wouldn’t go back to but I’ve got terribly brave over the past few years and have revisited them all I think…and had a great time doing it…none of the malevolent ghosts I was expecting!

?!: And where would you like to go for the first time?

KM: Finland, Norway, Cape Breton, Orkney, Canna…ach, there’s a whole world I’d like to see…

?!: What song would you like as your entry music? Or should we just choose something?

KM: I’m sure it should be something trad…maybe some waulking song or other but actually my internal soundtrack is almost always country! Dolly with Light of a Clear Blue Morning from New Harvest…it’s the best way to start a morning…or Seven Nation Army…or Something to Believe In by King Creosote…or I Wonder by Rodriguez…Ghosts of Leith, Blue Rose Code…oh, maybe Warrior by Reely Jiggered…aw hell, you just choose something!

?!: I’m never, never, never coming home“…? It’s gotta be this, hasn’t it?!

?!: What are your favourite and least favourite words?

KM: Joy is my favourite word above all others and has been for as long as I can remember…in Gaelic I’ve always loved the word sòlas which means light but can also mean comfort, solace, joy or luminous. Least favourite word? No. I don’t like no. Or unnecessary.

?!: Anything else you’d like to share with us?

KM:  Just this wee Kist o’ Riches…
I longed to be able to listen to this kind of material as a wee girl and still find it slightly miraculous that it’s freely available now – enjoy! X
Thanks a lot to Katharine for sharing that treasure trove – and for indulging Interrobang’s Interrogation! Come along to Interrobang – You Can’t Go Back Again on 4th November and find out why we moved so quickly to sign her up after Oxjam!



You Can’t Go Back Again?!

After a riotous First Time, and the great reception we received for our set at the Oxjam Festival, INTERROBANG?! is back again on 4th November with…

Eh? Oh.
..INTERROBANG: You Can’t Go Back Again?! – Woodland Creatures, 7pm
As veterans of the first show will know, INTERROBANG?! is democratic spoken word & music and meritocratic prizes. It’s a land of exclamation and question making and all the nuances in between.
Interrobang 0.2 is four more invited and established writers and performers, as well as three audience members who have brought along 5 minutes of material and been pulled out of the hat. And the return of Novella Award Nominee JACQUES TSIANTAR and JACQUES’ BIG TWO-HANDER! They’ll all be entertaining us on the topic YOU CAN’T GO BACK AGAIN.
Disclaimer: he won't be there.
He’ll be there!
Your hosts Beth Cochrane and Ricky Monahan Brown feel honoured to be doing the honours for ALLYSON STACK, DANIEL SHAND, ELISE HADGRAFT, and KATHARINE MACFARLANE.
But we need you, too – after You Can’t Go Back Again, there will be only one more, extra-special, super-secret show in INTERROBANG?!’s preview season. And your participation and feedback will help us find out more about what, exactly, INTERROBANG?! is.
Disclaimer: he won't be there, either.
He’ll be there, too!
Connect with us here, on Twitter @InterrobangEdin, on Instagram, and on Facebook. And if you’re one of those millennial types who doesn’t carry cash, you can get your tickets for INTERROBANG: You Can’t Go Back Again?! on Eventbrite.
It’s gonna be like Elvis’s ’68 comeback special – you’ll want to say you were there!
OK. When Beth and Ricky come on, I need you to scream!