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The Pumpkinseeds Music For Winter Solitude

19 Oct 2020

During the summer An Tobar commissioned cellist Pete Harvey to compose a new piece for strings reflecting on this unusual year we’ve had. Pete is a widely respected string arranger especially across the Scottish Indie music scene. Currently working with Emma Pollock from The Delgados, Pete has also arranged strings for King Creosote, Andrew Wasylyk, Lomond Campbell, Iain Morrison, Deacon Blue, Ben Chatwin and Emily Scott, who he plays alongside in the exceptional Modern Studies. As a cellist he's a member of 'manic folk-punk jug-band' The Leg, and he runs a recording studio - Pumpkinfield - at his home in Bridge of Earn, near Perth.

After an early working title of 'Washing the Shopping' the work is now four movements under the title 'Four Songs (without words)'. We spent a week in the studio recording it for future release and filmed it as part of the Music for Winter Solitude series. Originally to have featured Seonaid Aitken on violin, plans had to change when Seonaid managed to fall off a large horse and sustained some serious broken bones. Her many friends on Mull will be glad to hear she’s back on her feet and playing again. However, this project welcomed Mary Keating from Los Angeles on violin with her partner Feargus Heatherington on viola, Liam Lynch on viola and the composer on cello. One of the movements was scored for a fifth musician, a shielding violinist - reflecting a reality that none of us expected a year ago - and it’s great to have Kate Miguda in the band, performing from Edinburgh.

Kate, Feargus, Liam and An Tobar’s Gordon Maclean all played in The Grit Orchestra at Celtic Connections 2019. 80 musicians crammed close together on stage. Wonderful feeling. This year Celtic Connections is moving online with a fantastic programme of music on film. The Festival Director Donald Shaw asked if An Tobar would film Mairearad Green and Hannah Fisher & Sorren Maclean as part of the CC programme and will also feature some of the performance by Roddy Woomble which An Tobar will be releasing in full in February.

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