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Musings News Project Updates

Trading Journeys: Part Two

If boats aren’t your thing, and you like a more measured pace, keep your eyes open for Alice Francis is travelling with her horse who are making a three day trip to Wigtown from Auchencairn.

As they travel Alice will be creating a standard that will form the head of the Wigtown Trading Journey’s procession that will take place on Saturday afternoon. She will also be recounting the story of Billy Marshall, who supposedly had lived 120 years in southern Scotland and always claimed to be the “King of the Gypsies”. He was ,also, referred to as the “Caird of Barullion”. Caird (a skilled gypsy) referring to ceardon (a skilled worker who practices some trade or handicraft). Barullion is the name of a range of hills in the county of Wigtonshire in the council area of Dummfries-Galloway, in southern Scotland. Another so-called title of his was “King of the Randies”. The word Randies in this context may be referring to a type of macho, virile, man that despised all rule and authority.

Billy Marshall is buried in Kirkcudbright, and his grave features the curious crossed spoons on the reverse.

The crossed spoons possibly may represent a wish for his people that they may never go hungry, for the coins at his grave site may have been left there with a goodluck wish, but originally they were left there for a poor travelling gypsy to be able to buy another meal. The spoons probably represent horn spoons, which have been popular in Europe and Scandinavia as far back as medieval times, being, also popular with the Vikings. Horn spoon making has been a tradition among gypsies since the 1600’s, and possibly had been a labor of love for Billy Marshall.

If you find that you have a hidden talent for spoon playing, bring that new talent along to Wigtown on Saturday, it’s bound to come in useful!

For more details on the stove network’s Trading Journeys, head across to our project page here

Trading Journeys has been created as part of the Wigtown Book Festival

Musings News Project Updates

News from the Band

From Ruth Morris

By far the most difficult part of the whole thing has been finding enough young musicians to take part. We had the idea of a Balkan style street carnival band. To sound like that, one needs a few brass/ woodwind instruments, which turn out to be like hen’s teeth in Dumfries and Galloway! However we have a few now, including a euphonium, a trombone, some clarinets and some saxophones. We also have fiddles, accordions, flute and percussion. So it should be very lively!

To hear it at it’s best, join the parade through Dumfries from 1.30pm this Saturday, or see the band perform the full piece on our stage on the Whitesands later in the afternoon.

Writing music for transposing instruments, eg clarinets, saxophones, euphoniums is full of interesting challenges. For example, if I want everyone in the room to play the note ‘C’, I have to tell fiddles, flutes, accordions etc to play ‘C’. But I have to tell clarinets and euphoniums to play ‘D’, and I have to tell alto saxophones to play an ‘A’. This can lead to confusion, as I’m sure you can imagine.

But once everyone has worked out what the notes are, it’s a truly wonderful sound, loud and powerful. For most of the people involved, this is a very different kind of music to what they normally play, so it’s a great opportunity for everyone to try something a bit different.

Writing it was a lot of fun. We usually start with an idea for a melody line, then once that has become fixed, find some nice chords that work with it. We often then record that, which gives something to try different harmony parts against. We adapt the parts to suit the players that are involved. We’re very pleased with how the Nithraid music has come out, it will work well for a parade.

Ruth Morris and Gavin Marwick are part of the Stove’s Nithraid team, working to develop and grow the procession that will see the salty coo carried through the streets of Dumfries and down to the riverside where it will take pride of place over the River Nith to welcome in the arriving boats. This year’s Nithraid takes place on Saturday, 13th of September. A dangerous dinghy race from Carsethorn upriver, the boats will arrive in the centre of Dumfries with the high tide at approximately 3.45pm. There is a lot going down on the Whitesands all afternoon, full details on our Nithraid page here.

News Project Updates

Inspired by Dumfries

Dumfries and Galloway Standard has had its reporters oot and aboot:

“It wouldn’t be the first town you would think of if you were asked to name a fashion hot-spot of the world.

But thanks to visual artist Lisa Gallacher, a collection of bespoke pieces created and inspired by Doonhamers, and their town, will be exhibited here next month.”

Fabric based in Paling’s Window by Lisa Gallacher

TRDM: Dumfries is one of eight creative projects specially commissioned by artists’ collective The Stove for their exhibition InBetween:Dumfries. The project will culminate in a collection of “Dumfries Inspired” made-to-measure garments being shown at The Stove’s base on the town’s High Street throughout the beginning of November. The Dumfries born, internationally acclaimed artist has collaborated with ten local residents of all walks of life, to create an item of clothing, representing what the town means to them.

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