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Burns&Beyond’s Culture Trail

Various venues, Edinburgh
Four stars

In the shadow of Luke Jerram’s installation, Museum of the Moon, which hangs over the interior of St Giles’ Cathedral, a fanfare is sounded from behind a screen. An overhead projector beams out a series of miniature cut-out models as a four-part chorale sings of ancient things. This is Disarming Reverberations, a one-night-only experience that formed part of the Burns and Beyond mini festival’s Culture Trail, which hosted events across eight city centre venues over four hours on Saturday night.

Curated by Lau’s Martin Green and featuring Alba Brass and the group Landless, Disarming Reverberations evoked a spirit of after-dark mystery which fed through the other venues. While across town Lost Map Records founder The Pictish Trail recreated the label’s Howlin’ Fling nights in the Freemason’s Hall, and the Gilded Balloon presented bite-size comedy sets at the Rose Theatre, at Greyfriars Kirk, spoken-word night Neu! Reekie! co-founder Kevin Williamson’s performed his punky take on Tam O’Shanter. This was accompanied by dancers from the Kixx Collective and guitarist Craig Lithgow. Kathryn Joseph’s series of short sets proved equally spellbinding.

At Assembly Roxy, another member of Lau, Aidan O’Rourke, reimagined Enlightenment era howf, Lucky Middlemass’s Tavern. Mrs Middlemass herself was brought to life with gallus brio by actress Nicola Roy, with potman Archie inhabited by Matthew Zajac. O’Rourke and piper Brighde Chaimbeul played short sets inbetween songs by Deacon Blue singer Ricky Ross, Alasdair Roberts, who premiered a new piece called Europe, and poems by Nadine Aisha Jassat. Ross was joined by O’Rourke on Green Grow The Rushes, while Zajac kept things contemporary with a couple of Tom Leonard poems.

Over at the Caves, The Red Rose Club programmed a superb-sounding showcase of female DJs. Sets by Nightwave, Sofay and Ribeka, plus three-woman hip-hop troupe The Honey Farm may have been more appropriate for late-night revels, but they nevertheless gave a pointer to a poetic future that can be about music as much as words.

The Herald, January 28th 2019



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