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.
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
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.
On 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.
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
Monday, October 1
6:00 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Lecture
The Explorers Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, NYC
Member Ticket Price: $10
Guest Ticket Price: $25
Student Ticket Price: $5 with a valid student ID
John Keay, British historian, journalist, radio presenter and lecturer specializing in popular histories of India, the Far East and China, is widely seen as a pre-eminent historian of British India.
Keay will take one on a journey …
Like the travels of Marco Polo, those of Alexander Gardner clip the white line between credible adventure and creative invention. Either he is the nineteenth century’s most intrepid traveler or its most egregious fantasist, or a bit of both. Contemporaries generally believed him; posterity became more skeptical. And as with Polo, the investigation of Gardner’s story enlarged man’s understanding of the world and upped the pace of scientific and political exploration.
Before more reputable explorers notched up their own discoveries in innermost Asia, this lone Scots-American had roamed the deserts of Turkestan, ridden round the world’s most fearsome knot of mountains and fought in Afghanistan ‘for the good cause of right against wrong.’
From the Caspian to Tibet and from Kandahar to Kashgar, Gardner had seen it all. At the time, the 1820s, no other outsider had managed anything remotely comparable. When word of his feats filtered out, geographers were agog.
He witnessed the death throes of that Sikh empire at close quarters and, sparing no gruesome detail, recorded his own part in the bloodshed (the very same featuring as the exploits of ‘Alick’ Gardner in the ‘Flashman’ series).
Fame finally caught up with him during his long retirement in Kashmir. Dressed in tartan yet still living as a native, he mystified visiting dignitaries and found a ready audience for the tales of his adventurous past. But one mystery he certainly took to the grave: the whereabouts of his accumulated fortune has still to be discovered.
Using much original material, including newly discovered papers by Gardner himself, renowned historian John Keay will take us from the American West to the Asian East to unravel the greatest enigma in the history of travel.
Author of over 25 books and regularly contributor to a number of prominent publications in Britain and Asia. He began his career with The Economist as a political correspondent, and was a contributor to BBC radio.
Keay is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society & the Royal Literary Fund, and he has received several major honors including the Sir Percy Sykes Memorial Medal of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs. He read Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford, and now lives in Argyll in the West Highlands of Scotland while traveling widely.