The sun may be shining. The fields are gradually turning from green to gold. The soft fruits are ripening on the cane. The long summer nights are still with us. The air is yet warm and balmy. And yet, there are people who are already turning their attention to the autumn and the harvest season, none more so than Frieda Morrison, the Artist In Residence at Edinburgh University’s School of Celtic and Scottish Studies and a passionate exponent of the songs and traditional music of the North East of Scotland.
Through her music and video production company, Birseland Media, she’s well on her way to producing the final line-up for this year’s Deeside Harvest Folk Festival at the end of September. It’s an event which has developed a reputation for bringing new and exciting sounds to Deeside. And she says that, once again, the team has come up with something really special, providing “a platform for some of Scotland’s finest folk musicians. The North East of Scotland,” she adds, “has a unique cultural heritage and this, combined with the finest of food from the region creates an opportunity to build a ‘folk n’ food’ event that will give people a ‘real sense of place’.”
A number of talented acts have already confirmed their place in Finzean Hall, an award-winning building rebuilt in 2003. Finzean itself is a small but thriving community with a determination to breathe life into this part of rural Aberdeenshire.
The performers include the recently re-formed Malinky and Fraser Fifield, a local hero with an international reputation. Fifield is a multi-instrumentalist. The performance in the video below gives an impression of his range. He can play a wide range of wind instruments, as well as being a composer. One of the leading jazz magazines (Jazzwise) described his as “someone who can blow a low whistle like Charlie Parker…and knock out an air on a sax like a Highland traditionalist.”
Other include Aileen Carr, one of the finest ballad singers in Scotland, Alison McMorland and Geordie McIntyre, singer-songwriters and instrumentalists and the Shetland duo Blyde Lasses who perform on fiddle, concertina and vocals who’ve just launched their debut album.