This weekend, September 19th & 20th , will see a virtual celebration of the 45thNew Hampshire Highland Games as a live online experience which we can all enjoy.
The New Hampshire Highland Games draws crowds of over 45,000 to New Hampshire each year for the three-day festival which is one of ASFs favorite Scottish Games and Festivals to attend.
The American Scottish Foundation has for the past few years taken part in heading up The Scottish Village tent sharing information on Scottish experiences – we cannot wait to be back in 2021 celebrating our love of Scotland.
Situated on the beautiful Loon Mountain, the NH Games is a must attend event for those who love to come together to celebrate their Scottish heritage, to enjoy the incredible Highland Games experience and to have fun!
Although the NH Games can’t go ahead as it normally would this year the Virtual Highland Games will be a wonderful celebration of the 45th anniversary of the New Hampshire Highland Games.
The organizing committee have programmed an exciting weekend of music, dance and activities for us all to enjoy and promises to ‘Showcase the Sights, Sounds and Smile of the Games’
The events will begin on Saturday afternoon as a wonderful video will go live to represent the Opening Ceremony of the Games, always a wonderful experience and a sight to behold.
There will be lots of exciting Scottish goodies and crafts at the Virtual Vendor Village and we are strongly encouraged to show our support for the vendors, all small businesses selling Scottish goods who have had their businesses significantly affected this year.
Saturday night will feature a live concert by Albannach, one of the New Hampshire Highland Games favourite bands who have a large army of fans in the Scottish Festival circuit in the US.
Join Jamesie Johnston and his crew for an hour of Albannach beginning at 7pm Eastern Time.
Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival, Bloody Scotland takes place Friday September 18th – Sunday September 20th and will be an incredible celebration of Scottish literature, crime novels and stories!
The festival, which normally takes place in the beautiful city of Stirling, will this year take place entirely online, allowing crime writing fans from all over the world to be a part of the Bloody Sunday experience.
Saturday September 19th will see a huge range of discussions, panels and workshops taking place including Criminal Masterminds: a discussion with celebrated crime writers Lawrence Block and Ian Rankin and don’t miss Crime at the Coo Online a brilliant event featuring live author performances along with film of memorable acts from previous years.Sunday
Scotland is a land of stories, myths and legends. Its history, landscapes, scenery and of course people make for an incredibly inspiring environment for great stories to come from and some of the most celebrated literary figures in the world have come from Scotland ; Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Burns, Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Walter Scott, David Livingstone, Iain Banks, Irvine Welsh, JK Rowling need we say more?
The Scottish International Storytelling Festival is a must attend event for those who love stories, literature and the magic of poetry. Each year it attracts thousands of people to the many events, performances, book readings and activities which take place as part of the Storytelling Festival program.
The theme for The Scottish International Storytelling Festival in 2020 is ‘In The Flow’ : An exploration of Scotland’s coasts and waters through music and storytelling. Scotland with its 7,330 miles of coastline has a rich history of stories which have emanated from or been inspired by events taking place on its beautiful coasts and waters.
Although festivals throughout Scotland have not been able to take place as they normally would there has been a successful pivot to virtual events with festivals such as the Edinburgh Fringe and the Edinburgh International Book Festival both offering up incredible experiences online this year which you can still access on their respective websites.
The Scottish International Storytelling Festival will also this year present an action packed virtual experience for all to access and enjoy!
Scottish International Storytelling Festival Director, Donald Smith states:
‘This year’s Storytelling Festival is about wellbeing. Across the nation, we aim to bring many streams into a flowing current of hope and renewal.’
‘Our online programme will see the return of SISF favourites like our evening gatherings around the Open Hearth, as well as Global Lab, the workshop series that brings together performers, educators and activists to discuss international environmental creativity.’
‘We’ll also be premiering Voyage, a brand-new series of work developed by storytellers and musicians, including interpretations of the slave passage across the Atlantic and Scotland’s part in it, the colonisation of Iceland, James VI’s ‘Hamlet’ voyage to Elsinore, Johnson and Boswell’s Tour to the Hebrides and the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition.’
The programme details for the Festival are yet to be released but you can keep up to date and informed by signing up for the Scottish International Storytelling Festival newsletter HERE.
For more information on the Scottish International Storytelling Festival see the website at www.sisf.org.uk
Anna MacDonald is a talented multi-instrumentalist originally from Glasgow. Anna has released music in both Gaelic and English and possesses a beautiful voice and wonderful gift for song writing. Anna does great work with Play For Progress and the Association of Exiled Scots.
John Condron is a singer songwriter from Glasgow who has performed all over Scotland and in New York too! His latest single ‘Hello Mama’ was recently played on the American Scottish Foundation Scots In US Podcast and is a beautiful and touching dedication to his mother.
Meredith McCrindle is a wonderful harpist, songwriter and all round talent. Originally hailing from Texas, Merdith now lives in Ayr Scotland and is the driving force behind the brilliant Tamfest which celebrates Robert Burns famous poem Tam O’Shanter and is a must see event if in Scotland!
Starsky is a brilliant singer songwriter from Scotland who has a great gift for melody, song writing and performance. It’s an absolute pleasure to have Starsky with us who has performed throughout Scotland including the famous Hampden and Murrayfield Stadiums as an invited musical guest for the Scotland football and rugby teams!
Ayrshire artist Julian McLaughlan is a great young art talent making a name for himself in the Scottish art world for his depictions of his experiences and emotions in a modernist painting style.
His first few showcases have been sell out events and his works are now selling throughout Europe and making their way to the US. As a bright new talent our reporter Jamie McGeechan caught up with Julian McLaughlan to find out what inspires Julian’s work.
Can you tell me a wee bit about yourself and how you got into painting?
Hello my name is Julian McLaughlan, I’m primarily an abstract artist and I come from Kilwinning, Ayrshire in Scotland. I’ve had a passion for art and expression all my life. I found I had a talent and flair for art while I was at school in Ayrshire and always felt it was my strongest subject. It was during high school that my talent was getting known due to my portraiture work and it all really started from there. After school my first job was as an industrial spray painter, but I never gave up on my art and would focus on my creativity at every opportunity. I started to get a lot of requests for canvas portraits and found that people were really keen on portraits of their favorite musicians and family members but I found myself needing a new challenge artistically. The answer to that was abstract art! Picasso and Jackson Pollock play a certain influence in some of my works although I’d never studied them at school.
With pieces like ‘Frustration’ and ‘Anxiety’ you explore the human condition and health issues in your work. Do you see art as a therapeutic process / and are you inspired by your own experiences?
I see abstract as the ultimate freedom within the artistic world ! For me yes it’s therapeutic as like many people I suffer with anxiety. When I started experiencing anxiety I wasn’t even sure what was going on with me I just knew something wasn’t right and I didn’t feel well but art has really helped me to process and understand myself better. When I started to explore my anxiety through art I was struck by just how much it seemed to resonate with other people. To have feedback from people that one of my pieces has moved them it really means the world to me. Due to my own experiences with mental health I never really run out of material. I made a deal with myself one day to never preplan my work, just to let it flow on the canvas and I have been doing that ever since, it’s pure freedom.
Do you think art can help other people to recognise and understand that they are not alone and that art can actually help people to understand themselves a wee bit better?
From my experience abstract art has helped me profoundly – it channels my bad thoughts , anger, sadness and my happiness into something potentially beautiful. That other people can relate to it is just incredible and I really do think art can help people profoundly.
Can you describe what it was like showcasing your work publicly for the first time and what that meant to you, what it means to you going forward?
One day I received an email from a company in Glasgow called ‘Spaces’, telling me how much they loved my anxiety painting and asking if I would be interested in showing my art. I was stunned that someone out there wanted to give me an opportunity to exhibit my work. I think that’s generally the case for all artists initially, the world recognizing what you do, it’s an incredulous feeling. That very first showcase in Glasgow was a real exhibition of my work exploring mental health and wellbeing and when 100 people turned up to see my work it was as you can imagine almost overwhelming but such a great experience for me. I feel like I put my life on canvas so to have people come to share and celebrate that, it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world. My first ever show was a sell out ! I am so thankful to Spaces in Glasgow and the amazing opportunity they gave me, I am forever in there debt.
How do you feel society deals with people who are going through mental health issues and in Scotland in particular do you feel society is supportive or can we do more?
It seems in the last year or so society has became more aware of mental health and more willing to embrace and engage with it and understanding the effects it has on people. I think it’s a conversation we need to develop and I think we can all do our bit by showing that we are there for each other, not only with our friends and family but as a society as a whole. Knowing the someone cares, it’s powerful. I hope in some small way my artwork can help to keep the conversation going and to help people understand that they are not alone in their emotions and struggles. We’re all just trying to make our way through life and certainly art continues to be such a rewarding medium for me. I’m grateful to everyone who shows an interest in what I do.
Finally what are your future plans and what are your aspirations for the future? What are your dreams for your art?
I don’t know what the future holds for me but I’m certainly going to continue to express myself and tell my story through painting. My dream is for my paintings to be seen all over the world and for my next showcase to be in New York City.
Our music ambassador Jamie McGeechan caught up with them for a quick Q&A all about Kodak Ghosts!
How would you describe the Kodak Ghosts sound?
Sabrina: “Our music revolves around spreading joy and happiness. The idea of creating a community is important to us, we want people to feel included and uplifted when listening to us.”
Erin: “Our main goal is to create a space where people can join us, let their hair down and be a bit wacky for a while. Things today are hard, especially due to Covid, we want to be a respite from that stress and give people a place where they can relax and enjoy. With the video we made for Till the Morning Comes we were portraying this concept in a very literal way – we want people to come join us in our world.”
What influences your songwriting and what artists are you a fan of?
Sabrina: “We take inspiration from artists from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s (Blondie, ABBA, Cher, Dolly Parton) and combine it with our love of modern music (mine being Jorga Smith and Dua Lipa whereas Erin listens to MARINA and Florence & the Machine).”
Erin: “Our own personal artistic backgrounds (Sabrina’s in acting, mine in art) means our influences also come from the worlds of theatre, film, fine art and dance. Anything and everything is an influence and I think that allows us to keep coming up with new and fun ideas. We write with producer and songwriter Derek Fleming, and due to the collaborative nature of our writing it becomes a melting pot of positivity. Over the years we have mastered who we are as a team and the writing and recording process just gets more and more exciting.”
As brilliant Scottish talents with a fantastic future ahead of you what are your hopes and dreams for the future?
Sab: “World Domination. But in all seriousness we want to hear our music played all over the world and spread good vibes. I’m also excited to see the evolution of the performance field in general, lockdown has encouraged artists to think outside the box, explore different platforms of creativity and alternative ways of expression. I’m here for all of it!
Erin: “You’re too lovely saying that! You know what Cindy Lauper says ‘Girls just want to have fun’. We want to spread positivity as far as we can, and get the world dancing. Once Covid has settled down a bit I think it would be great to start gigging again, but who knows what that will look like in the next few years. As actors and artists we want to create an experience and have people from all walks of life together feeling the joy of Kodak Ghosts.”
Erin: “Absolutely. We were recently compared to new wave/pop duo Strawberry Switchblade from the 80’s as Jill Bryson studied at GSA. That GSA environment of being surrounded by other creatives, many also musicians, really pushes and motivates you. Because of this, quite a lot of bands have some sort of Art School background. John Lennon was a student at Liverpool College of Art, and although he never completed the course it still counts.”
Sabrina what has been your most enjoyable experience so far?
Sabrina: “For me the most enjoyable experience in our Kodak Ghosts journey so far has been filming the music video for Till the Morning Comes. As an actress it’s always interesting to encounter different platforms of performing that combine both music and acting. So even though I was playing myself in the video, it was an exaggerated version of myself and it was interesting to discover this new yet familiar person. Sort of like Beyonce has Sasha fierce as her alter ego for when she’s performing, I’ve found mine. Name pending.”
How does Scotland influence the Kodak Ghosts Sound?
Sabrina: “I am dual nationality – Congolese and Scottish – and I wear them both proudly on my sleeve. Within Kodak Ghosts I try to inject both my Congolese and Scottish culture into our aesthetic. For the video we really focused on the image of a tenement building, a longstanding symbol of Glasgow, and how we could twist that in our own colourful, quirky way.”
Erin: “We are always authentically ourselves and part of that is our Scottish heritage and culture. We draw inspiration from the Scottish bands of the 70’s and 80’s as well as the bands that surround us today. I personally have always had a love for Scottish folk music, and of course the unicorn. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that the unicorn is our national animal. It is important to be proud of where you come from and we are proud Scots, waving the Saltire for all to see.”
Each month the American Scottish Foundation presents a monthly online concert under our Sounds From Scotland banner.
The Sounds From Scotland online monthly concerts are brand new platform from which we showcase and celebrate wonderful live music direct from Scotland! The concerts take place live on our Facebook platform at www.facebook.com/americanscottish on the third Sunday of each month from 3pm – 5pm EST.
We were thrilled to joined by Whisky Kiss, Chris Andreucci, Matt Scott and Paul McGranaghan for our August Sounds From Scotland. You can see the performances as well as previous Sounds From Scotland performances on our dedicated ASF Magazine page here.
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!).
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
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!
Robert The Bruce is pivoting from theatrical release to digital platforms. .Screen Media has set the release for APRIL 24TH – full details will follow shortly.
This heroic tale not only coincides with the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, when The Bruce declared Scotland a free land, but also with the 25th anniversary of Braveheart from which Robert The Bruce picks up the historical timeline. Angus Macfadyen portrays Robert the Bruce in both films.
ROBERT THE BRUCE is an inspiring story of the courage of ordinary Scots. When their King is injured and hiding from the English army that controls their lands, a widow and her family nurse him back to health, risking their lives for the life of their King and their hope for a free Scotland. Defying their clan, which has pledged itself to England, and inspiring him to fight again, they join The Bruce as he sets out to win the long-sought independence of their beloved country.
Written by Eric Belgau and Angus Macfadyen, ROBERT THE BRUCE is directed by Richard Gray and also stars Jared Harris, Anna Hutchison, Patrick Fugit, Zach McGowan, Emma Kenney, Melora Walters, Mhairi Calvey, Kevin McNally, Shane Coffey, and Talitha and Gabriel Bateman. The film was produced by Gray, Hutchinson, Macfadyen and Nick Farnell with Executive Producers Carter Boehm, Sharon Cox and Mike Gillespie.
As Riddoch notes: .. so as soon as we realised the corona virus lockdown would also cancel every celebratory event, my filmmaker colleague Charlie Stuart and I dropped other work and decided to make a film ourselves with help from Oscar-nominated composer Patrick Doyle, historian Fiona Watson and the actor Brian Cox
Only completed this past Saturday April 4th we share with all on this its 700th Anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath