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The Bloody Great Border Ballad Project

I was a guest artist in this project curated by Lorne Campbell of Northern Stage for the Edinburgh Fringe in 2013. Lorne wanted a space to talk about Scottish independence and commissioned six artists to make their own long-form border ballads. Two of these played the first half of each night. But then in the second half, an epic ballad of 20 verses composed over the course of the festival, about a foundling child discovered floating down the river Tweed the night of Scottish independence, each verse 5 years of her life and composed by a new guest artist.

I was verse 16. I saw up to verse 15 the night before and was symbolically handed the verse by that night’s guest Hannah Nicklin. I got Aly Macrae, the folk musician who’d composed the first verse and chorus, to sing the chorus down my phone outside the pub. I had 20 hours to compose my verse and I needed this to hand.

Here’s me doing my verse (all the verses are on Youtube)

This was the most beautiful gift-chain to be a link of, and a gorgeously talented chaotic ensemble to be a part of. It was joyous to watch The Deaf And Hearing Ensemble take on the baton the following night and see what they did with where I’d left them.

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