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EDINBURGH IN AUGUST IS FESTIVAL CITY – and this year the Festivals are going Virtual….

Edinburgh in August is a Festival City, and even mid pandemic Edinburgh’s cultural celebration continues – all be it Virtually.

As Galleries and Museum slowly begin to reopen, mainly on a ticket in advance booking system, it is wonderful to see that the Edinburgh Festivals are finding Virtual ways forward.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe has Virtual programming each Friday through August and additionally Edinburgh International Festival announced this week that for classic music lovers 16 past concerts will be streamed through the rest of August.

For literary enthusiasts there will be in the coming days talks and readings around the virtual Edinburgh International Book Festival

AND we learnt today that Art enthusiasts will be able to enjoy a Virtual Edinburgh Art Festival,taking place August 15 thought the 30.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts and cultural festival in the world and is very dear to our hearts at The American-Scottish Foundation®.

It’s a unique and life changing experience for those who attend given the incredible range of cultural and arts events, performances and activities available each year at the Festival.

Taking place within the unique beauty that is the City of Edinburgh itself, a captivating city full of incredible history and architecture The Edinburgh Fringe Festival draws people from all over the world who return year upon year for this incredible experience.

With the festival unable to go ahead as usual this year due to Covid-19, ASF shares the exciting news that the Edinburgh Fringe Festival will be going virtual for 2020!

A program of events has been announced by the Festival including performances, workshops, activities and discussions all in a virtual format this year.

Starting on Friday August 7th, AJ Bell Fringe on Friday will be a weekly live streamed show featuring a line up of artists representing the wide variety of talent at the Fringe. Streaming on the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th August each show will feature 9 acts each night all for £9 (less than $12 a night!).

All monies raised will go towards the artists and venues therefore it’s vital that we get behind the Fringe on Friday event! Acts confirmed so far include Craig Hill, Daniel Sloss, Fern Brady and Sadia Azmat

Craig Hill

You can purchase your ticket directly from the Fringemakers page on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival website here www.crowdfund.edfringe.com/search/projects

Find out how YOU can GET INVOLVED with the Fringe this year as patrons are invited to PARTICIPATE in the Fringe! The Fringe Pick N Mix is a streaming platform where artists AND audiences can share short video clips to celebrate the spirit of The Fringe! Viewers can pick a clip to watch or tune into a mixed stream of submissions from people all over the world. To share your video go to www.edfringe.com/take-part/2020/picknmix

It is vitally important that we continue to patronize the events of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with their online events as the festival is an instrumental driver of the Scottish economy and provides us with unique and unforgettable experiences year on year. To experience the Festival is to have a life changing experience.

Artists who were due to perform at the Festival this year can also submit their event listings online to be displayed on the Festival listings guide online. Only those who were already registered to perform this year or who have performed last year are able to apply however all listings are at the discretion of the Festival. For more information see www.edfringe.com/take-part/2020/submit-your-listing

In addition to being able to enjoy events and activities from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe there are many wonderful pieces of merchandise available for sale online from the Fringe Shop online , the sales of which will go towards protecting the legacy of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

If you would like to make a donation directly to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, knowing that your donation will help to preserve the legacy of this incredible and unique festival you can do so here www.tickets.edfringe.com/donations 

With so many opportunities to engage with and support the Edinburgh Festival Fringe we encourage our members and friends to get behind the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year!

www.edfringe.com

HIGHLAND GAMES UPDATE ; September 20th, 2020 – we share news and updates

HIGHLAND GAMES UPDATE

Dunedin Highland Games Pipe Band March, Tampa FL - Apr 6, 2018 - 6:30 PM

Recent messages from ASF Members and friends show how important Highland Games are to our community, and we continue here to share news around Virtual Highland Games that are now planned in the weeks ahead – with a few ticketed Highland Games being planned.

Highland Games – September Updates as of September 20th, 2020

SEPTEMBER CANCELLED HIGHLAND GAMES:

September 5 – 6 San Francisco Highland Games, Pleasanton,  cancelled; with hopes to hold the games later in the year,
September 12 – 13 Kelso (WA) Highlander Festival – cancelled
September 18 – 20 Oklahoma Scotfeld – cancelled,
September 25 -27 Celtic Classic Highland Games & Festival (PA) cancelled

In person Highland Games – in hybrid form took place:
– September 12   Lancaster, PA, combined a celebration of Robert Burns, a Kirkin’ of the Tartan and a Highland Games.  The Covenanter Scottish Festival was a small, ticketed event with no gate purchases at the event itself:

VIRTUAL HIGHLAND GAMES

September 19 – 20 A Virtual New Hampshire Highland Games –
www.nhscot.org streaming live on Facebook and YouTube.

September In Person September Highland Games 
– September 19-20, Niagra Falls Highland Games will be a smaller event, reserved tickets only.

Michael Reid, ASF Board Director shares with us the late Summer/Fall Highland Games that are scheduled – Keep up to date with ASF News via our Facebook and website.

We will report on September, October and November in later editions as so much in flux)

One of a Highland Games most popular events –
the heavy athletics and the throwing of the Hammer is one of the most popular – weighing 22lbs.

With so much in flux we ask that you stay in touch with the organizing committee of the games you normally attend and check status as with the ongoing challenges of Covid-19 all is subject to change.
ASF will share updates as we learn more. Keep up to date with ASF News on our website and Facebook pages. ___________________________________________________________________________

October Games – Arkansas Scottish Festival – October 9-11- Northeast FL Scottish Games & Highland Festival – October 11- Red Stone Highland Games Utah, October 14 -15- Texas Scottish Festival & Highland Games, Decatur, October 18-20- Iron Thistle Scottish Festival OKL, October 16-18

November Games- Coastal Highlands Games, SC – November 14 – Dunedin Scottish Games, FL – postponed to November 21-22, new location: Dunedin Community CenterV

Awaiting Dates we are hoping for this Fall- Latta Celtic Festival (North Carolina) – postpone – new date tbd – Sherman Celtic Festival & Highland Games (Texas) – new date tbd – Ormond Beach Celtic Fest (FL) – Postponed – new date tbd – Cheyenne Celtic Music & Arts Festival – Postponed – new date tbd – Celtic Fling & Highland Games (PA) – Postponed – new date tbd – Pikes Peak Celtic Festival (CO) – Postponed – new date tbd – Utah Scottish Festival & Highland Games – Postponed – new dates tbd – Savannah Highland Games (SC) – Postponed – new dates tbd (website says both postponed and cancelled…..) AD

This Month in History

Every month the American Scottish Foundation spotlights a person or event that illustrates the shared and enduring history, culture, and kinship between the America and Scotland.

JULY SPOTLIGHT ON JANE RANDOLPH JEFFERSON

Jane Randolph Jefferson

This  July The American-Scottish Foundation® spotlights  Jane Randolph Jefferson, who was born in the United Kingdom, to English and Scottish parents in 1720. Villanova University‘s Catherine Kerrison, in her book, Jefferson’s Daughters, which this year’s Daughters of the American Revolution National Headquarters Continental Congress spotlighted, wrote that Jane was proud of her Scottish heritage. Jane was a member of the Randolph Clan–the Randolphs had long been squires in England and Scotland.

As the Jefferson family’s “genealogist,” she was not only considered to be among the first families of the Virginia Colony, she thought the telling of family history important enough for her son Thomas Jefferson to once state that his maternal side could “trace their pedigree far back to England and Scotland…”.

University of Edinburgh

Not surprisingly, Jane’s first cousin twice removed, Thomas Mann Randolph Jr., studied at the The University of Edinburgh in 1785 before marrying Thomas Jefferson’s daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph in 1790.

It undeniable that Jane’s background coupled with Scottish Enlightenment thinkers that he encountered in his studies at the College of William & Mary allowed him exposure to the ideas expressed in the The Declaration of Arbroath 700th Anniversary Celebration—itself celebrating its 700th anniversary this year, which in turn is among the inspirations of his words in the The Declaration of Independence celebrating its 244th anniversary today

college at William & Mary

—John King Bellassi, President of the Council of Scottish Clans & Associations (COSCA) and Vice President of the National Capital Tartan Day Committee writes about this here https://www.clanchiefs.org.uk/two-declarations-common-purp…/

The University of Virginia holds a nice collection of Randolph-Jefferson correspondence at https://ead.lib.virginia.edu/vivaxtf/view…

Nice synopsis of Jefferson’s ancestry at https://www.monticello.org/…/research-a…/jeffersons-ancestry

Authors Alexander Leslie Klieforth and Robert John Munro state in their book, Scottish Invention of America, Democracy and Human Rights 1st Edition, on page 243, that Thomas Jefferson was first introduced to the Declaration of Arbroath by his College of William and Mary professor of rhetoric William Small. See https://www.amazon.com/Scottish-Invention-Amer…/…/0761827919

JUNE SPOTLIGHT ON JAMES GORDON BENNETT

James Gordon Bennett

On June 1, 1872, James Gordon Bennett, the founder, publisher and editor of the New York Herald, dies. Bennett built one of the biggest publishing empires in United States history, his paper becoming the highest circulated in America in 1866.

Bennett was born in Banffshire, Scotland, and at an early age traveled throughout Scotland.

In 1819, he joined a friend who was sailing to North America, landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, where Bennett briefly worked as a schoolmaster. to then sail south to Portland, Maine to teach there and in Boston, Massachusetts by 1820.

New York Herald Building, NYC 1895

He worked in New England as a proofreader and bookseller before moving to the Charleston Courier in Charleston,South Carolina. He moved to New York City in 1823, where he worked first as a freelance paper writer and, then, assistant editor of the New York Courier and Enquirer, one of the oldest newspapers in the City.

New York Herald June 20, 1861

By May 1835, Bennett began the New York Herald, and with it he transformed American journalism. Historian Robert C. Bannister considered Bennett a talented yet controversial editor who expanded traditional coverage by adding sports reports, a society page, advice columns, and election news while pioneering and coupling tabloid journalism with use of the new technologies of telegraph, pony express, and offshore ships to bring fast news coverage to reach the exploding market–and voters–of working men and women.

Victoria Mary Sharp, ASF Editorial and Marketing

ASF Community Calendar of upcoming events – October 19 : A Celebration of Scottish Culture with Alan Cumming OBE and special guests

ASF Members and Friends – join
On October 19th as 
The Quaich Project Scotland holds a NYC launch with
A Celebration of Scottish Culture – 9pm
at 
The Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse Lincoln Center
with 
Alan Cumming OBE
KT Tunstall​, Sculptor Andy Scott​, Alexandra Silber and special guests

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. …”

Learn more at : www.thequaichproject.org

http://buytickets.at/therossdevelopmenttrust/306140
Members will need to enter the following access code to book tickets: ASF

ASF Community Calendar of upcoming events – October 16 : Scotland’s Picts, the Lost People of Europe

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.

View National Geographic video on one of the excavation sites:https://vimeo.com/325854529

For further information on the event visit www.aia-nysociety.org

https://www.independent.co.uk/…/the-truth-about-the-picts-8…

ASF Community Calendar of upcoming events – October 18 : Tartan Talk

As all lovers of Scotland know Tartan allows us wonderful ways to express our style and heritage … and the fashion industry’s love of the vibrant tartans grows each year.

Celebrated fashion Coty Award winning designer Jeffrey Banks Design, joins with award winning Canadian fashion designer Michael Kaye
to present
Tartan Talk – part of FashionSpeak Friday 
on Friday, October 18- 7.30pm
at National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, New York,

Jeffrey Banks has co authored several books including Tartan: Romancing the Plaid. and Michael Kaye, whose custom tartan couture has earned him the reputation of being the “Bonnie Prince of Tartan”

ASF members and friends are invited to an illuminating presentation on how the humble Scottish tartan became the ultimate emblem of great taste and high fashion.

This event is free and open to the public but you do need to Pre Register.

For more details on the evening, click here…
and RSVP is required at nationalartsclub.eventbrite.com.

Culann – The Great Ecumene – a band not afraid to be themselves

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.

Ya Cheng

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.”

Culann Album Art ,
Ya Cheng

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.

culann.bandcamp.com

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.

evo4.co.uk

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

http://www.littlefiremusic.com/gallery/

The Great Ecumene is available from iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and in CD / Vinyl from the band directly at

www.culann.bigcartel.com, www.culann.bandcamp.com

Jamie McGeechan, contributing writer, May 2019, littlefiremusic1@hotmail.co.uk

On your next trip to Scotland what about staying at a modern Broch?

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,

The Brochs Of Coigach

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.

Gearrannan Blackhouse Village

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.

Click to VisitScotland for more, https://www.visitscotland.com/accommodation/unusual-places-to-stay/brochs/

A thank you to all who helped make the Wallace Awards Celebration an evening to remember

Image may contain: cloud, text, nature and outdoorOn behalf of the ASF Board a thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make the Wallace Award Celebration such a memorable evening.

The evening saw Sir Moir Lockhead, Chairman of National Trust for Scotland, and Dr Andy Scott, renowned sculptor,  with the Wallace Award for their contributions to Heritage, Arts and Culture.

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing, suit and indoor

 Scotland’s National Chef, Gary Maclean, oversaw the menu, adding special touches.   Glendronach Single Malt offered guests a whisky tasting of their excellent malts.

The wonderful team of Claire Mackenzie and Scott Gilmour of Noisemaker gave us musical interludes.

 Silent and Live auctions helped support the ongoing work of the ASF and for an ASF Grant to the new Baird Family Hospital in Aberdeen and its Neonatal unit being overseen by the ARCHIE Foundation alongside the University of Aberdeen.

If you have questions please call the ASF Office on 212 605 0338

or email americanscottishfoundation@gmail.com

 

Scottish Stone Masons who helped to build the White House, honored in Scotland.

Historic Environment Scotland are leading on the honoring of a group of 6 Scottish stone masons who travelled to Washington DC in 1794 – they have now been honored with a plaque unveiled at 66 Queen Street in Edinburgh

HES have now mounted an exhibit with background to The Scots Who Built the White House – and is now on display at the Engine Shed in Stirling until Friday 12th April 2019. Entry is free.

Read more at: https://www.scotsman.com/…/honour-for-scots-stonemasons-who…