An opportunity to hear early Scottish music on October 10th and 18th in New York dating from the 12th to 18th Century.
Performed by Collectio Musicorum the program will be predominately the music of Robert Johnson, the “heretic priest,” , much of which has never been performed in the US before, having recently been edited by Dr. Elaine Moohan as part of the Musica Scotica series.
Also in the program will be music composed by Mary, Queen of Scots, and her son, James VI, as well as music by Roderick Morison, also called “The Blind Harper,” who lived at the turn of the eighteenth century
Presented as part of the Gotham Early Music Scene’s Midtown Concert Series
OCTOBER 18TH – 8PM – Admission FREE Christ and St. Stephen’s Church, 120 W 69th St
In addition to the works of Robert Johnson will be works from the twelfth century, when the northern portions of Scotland were under the control of Scandinavian kings, including one of the earliest examples of medieval polyphony, a hymn to St. Magnus the Martyr, who was martyred in 1115.
Tickets $150 – ASF Members and Friends receive a Special $30 Ticket discount via link below
The evening is to raise awareness for this great new initiative underway in Edinburgh:
As Development Director Jules Halston explains… ” The Quaich Project reimagines and redevelops Princes Street Gardens Edinburgh….set against the stunning backdrop of Castle Rock and Edinburgh Castle, a space for all in the heart of Edinburgh.
The Quaich Project will see the building of a new theatre and world-class performance venue; landscaped and accessible gardens with space for reflection, play and socialising; improved public amenities; and a new visitor and heritage centre accessible from Princes Street. …”
Julie Fowlis has performed at such leading venues as The Philharmonic de Paris to Shakespeare’s Globe. She has worked with many leading musicians on collaborations including James Taylor and Mary Chapin Carpenter and a number of Celtic fold musicians.
London Evening Standard wrote that “There are some voices that carry much more than a melody. They transport you to another place, give you goose flesh and make magic out of thin air. Julie Fowlis has just such a voice.”
A fascinating talk and book signing by University of Aberdeen Dept of Archaelogy Dr Gordon Noble on his discoveries about Scotland’s Picts hosted by the AIA-NY Society’ – Scotland’s Picts, the Lost People of Europe
Wednesday, October 16, – 6.30pm University of The Graduate Center, CUNY, Fifth Avenue and 34th St., Room C197, Concourse” floor.
ASF Members and Friends are invited to attend – No Charge.
The Picts were considered a troublesome people, They were never conquered by the Romans who even had to erect Hadrian’s Wall to keep them out of the Roman Empire,
The Picts have a mysterious historical record – the lost people of Europe – until recent archaeological excavations in Scotland have revealed a powerful and sophisticated culture.
August 7 marks the 230th Anniversary of the 1789 Lighthouse Act and the role of Alexander Hamilton in the developing the lighthouses to guard American coastlines.
Prior to becoming America’s first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton also oversaw the establishment of the Lighthouse Service and Cutter Service, the basis for today’s U.S. Coast Guard Station New York.
The importance of lighthouses to ensure the safety of shipping and development of trade was clear to Hamilton.
Jamie McGeechan, ASF Music Ambassador, updates us from Scotland today with news around Culann, an award-winning band from Ayrshire, Scotland, who have just released their second album, The Great Ecumene.
Culann are PJ Kelly, Sean Kelly, Greg Irish, Ross McCluskie and Calum Davis.
As Jamie goes on to explain: “I first met singer and guitarist PJ Kelly on the set of Outlaw King, the recently released Netflix biopic about Scottish king and freedom fighter Robert the Bruce on which Jamie had a supporting role.
Jamie, aka Little Fire, is one of our leading “eyes and ears” in Scotland, reporting that ..”Culann may be the best Scottish rock band that you haven’t heard of yet, and well NOW you have.”
It’s clear, however, that Culann is a band completely at ease with doing their own thing. They have been thriving by developing their sound, from their self-titled debut album released in 2012 to their follow up, The Great Ecumene, released at the end of April 2019.
The opening track “Evonium” is a great scene-setter for the album and gives a good insight into what Culann sound is like: intelligent compositions with powerful performances, great melodies and hooks, and 100% given with every note on each track.
What you get with Culann is a band who is not afraid to play with styles, aesthetics, and colors. They literally throw everything at it in the first track so it completely works. And, in case you’re wondering, the name Evonium is an ancient lost city in Scotland, considered by some to be Irvine, close to where the band lives.
In fact, The Great Ecumene itself is full of literary references – lyrics and sounds evoking nautical themes, ancient and forgotten lands and heroes – and all whilst sounding very modern indeed. Culann is Scottish storytelling, and “Evonium” is a welcoming opener on our journey into the world of Culann and The Great Ecumene.
Second track “Event without experience” is a track that is the key to Culann; “the band packs so much sonic brilliance into each song that it can initially confound you whilst arresting your attention; for me that’s what great music is all about–you can’t ignore it and it will stop you in your tracks. There is a particularly delightful flute solo from Gavin Millar, which is a real thing of beauty, ” explains Jamie, on a track that has everything else.
Track number four is atmospheric and clever, a song Jamie has not heard in a long time. One of Jamie’s favorites on the album, he tells us that because “Ecumene” is the name the ancient Greeks gave to the known world, the track is quite menacing and arresting at the same time. “It’s well crafted and takes the listener on a journey full of twists and turns, and as I’m listening to it right now, I feel like I’m in a dream world.” Its this juxtaposition of myth and human that makes Culann’s music so powerful.
All Reverie is another stand out track, one of the more obvious with real commercial appeal, although other songs such as Century Box and Aegis are “real growers” that can remain with you for days after listening.
The last track on the album, Queen Street, is a song which will grab you by the heart and serves as a fantastic closer to the album. Starting off as a heartfelt acoustic ballad, it builds into something people will want to sing back at the band, bringing down the roof live.
The band give everything on every track, mastery of song writing and composition, performances nothing short of mesmerising, “even artists Peter Strain, Pamela Scott, and Culann themselves have brought together the aesthetics of the album visually to tell a story,” Jamie informs us.
As Jamie noted …”Culann may be the best Scottish rock band that you haven’t heard of yet, and well NOW you have.” TAKE A LISTEN
The Great Ecumene is available from iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and in CD / Vinyl from the band directly at
Jamie McGeechan, contributing writer, May 2019, firstname.lastname@example.org
ASF knows that our members love to hear about different places to stay in Scotland, so we are delighted to share a unique accommodation we you could stay at. Would you like to stay in a contemporary take on a traditional Scottish Brochs or Blackhouses?
VisitScotland have spotlighted this authentically Scottish experience so one can get in touch with ancestral roots – staying in an architecturally stunning modern broch or a charming (but modernized) traditional Blackhouse,
Traditional Brochs are often located in picturesque and secluded locations as we show in this image of The Brochs of Coigach. Today’s Brochs and Blackhouses but still offer modern life essentials such as hot showers, electricity and WiFi!
Unique to Scotland, historic Brochs are large drystone towers, dating from 100 BC to 100 AD (during the Roman invasion of Britain), the new generation of Brochs are warm and inviting custom-built drystone Broch, inspired by the architecture of prehistoric Brochs.
Once common throughout the Highlands and the Outer Hebrides, Blackhouses are traditional Scottish dwelling with a thatched roof, and today’s charming versions offer sympathetically renovated interior, including exposed stonework, solid fuel stove, underfloor heating and a fully fitted kitchen. The Isle of Lewis Gearrannan Village is pictured here.
When growing up in Scotland do you remember the The Sunday Post as your memories are about to flow back as leading Scottish publisher D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd launch a podcast on June 12, of the Post’s Archives, primarily around the popular little column where readers, usually women, could write in with tips for running a household. Alongside will be a series of books as capsules of social history of the time.
The tips are funny, delightfully dated and dubious at the same time, and occasionally even useful!
WE ALSO TODAY HAVE GREAT TIPS and so DC Thomson are launching the podcast of the “Pass It On tips,” with a young, modern woman’s voice that remembers these tips in practice re-imagined.
A few of ASF’s favorite tips from the Sunday Post archives include: DENT REMOVER—Put table tennis balls that are dented into a bowl and pour boiling water over them. This takes the dents out.
A KNOTTY PROBLEM—A knot in string or laces which cannot be easily loosened should be hammered gently. Then insert the point of a thick needle and prise open.
REHEATING PIE—When reheating either meat or fruit pie, put the dish right into a paper bag, fold over, and pin in end. The pie heats all the way through without spoiling the crust.
CLOTHES PEGS—New clothes pegs should be popped into cold water and brought to the boil. Allow to cool and dry before using. They won’t snap or break so easily.
Presented by Historic Environment Scotland in association with ASF, the exhibit traces Muir’s early days in Dunbar Scotland to Yosemite CA, taking one on a journey to see the environments which Muir loved and did so much to help preserve spearheading the formation of America’s National Parks.
In 2018, the exhibit was expanded to include images from John Muir Trail in Scotland. The 134 mile route stretches coast-to-coast between Helensburgh in the west, to John Muir’s birthplace in Dunbar on the east.