Edinburgh Fringe: Celtic Ways Of Seeing And The Peoples’ Parish

Five events in just one day at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe! A Bach Midday Concert, afternoon Acrobatic Dancing, a Leonard Cohen Evening – preceded by two sessions at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

The first session was themed Celtic Ways of Seeing. These ways of seeing were not mystical or up-in-the-clouds. They were mundane and down to earth. James Macdonald Reid told how, stateless and therefore denied employment, he travelled like a gypsy across Europe, using his musical talents to join in communal folk festivals, see life from the bottom and discover unimagined riches. University students do research by ticking boxes on a research form: James lived among the people, saw things from all sorts of angles by night as well as by day, and learned in ways undreamed of by those students. This is part of ‘The Aidan tradition’, reflected in the prophet Ezekiel’s phrase ‘I sat among the exiles’. I reminded myself to daily practice seeing life in this way.

The second session was themed ‘The People’s Parish’. It referred to an experiment that seeks ways to bring Scotland’s civil parishes alive through community cultural events, a re-discovery of lost communal memory by the people who live in it, and the inspiring of ‘bards’ to tell the story.

The starting point of The Peoples Parish is an acknowledgement that the world is in a state of profound crisis – pollution, climate change, exhaustion of finite resources, data overload, loss of meaning, violence, anger, fear - but by digging where we stand we have the immediate means of addressing that crisis, revived and enriched local communities based on sharing, respect, fairness and celebration. David Francis, Chief Executive of The Traditional Music Forum can be contacted at [office@traditionalmusicforum.org] . He asks: Are we on the cusp of a new era of local creativity and heritage?

Posted at 07:24am on 10th August 2016
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