Fiddler and singer, Mairi Campbell, conjures her grandfather, great-grandfather and grandmother to life in a new show.
The world premier was at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and now Revival! is off on tour.
It charts the life of Mairi’s grandfather, Duncan Campbell, a herd laddie from Connel in Lorn who, once a fine piper and step-dancer, abandoned music to join the Faith Mission and went on to play a key role in the Lewis Revivals in the 1950s.
Then there is her great grandfather, John Anderson, an early Scottish missionary – obviously in the DNA – from Rhynie, Aberdeenshire, who in 1890 set up a clinic 2500 miles up the Yangtze river in China. There’s clearly a fearless adventurous spirit in the DNA as well as the faith.
And there’s Marjorie Anderson, Mairi’s Edinburgh-born great-grandmother who, as a young teacher from Edinburgh, followed the love of her life to China.
Feeling their sun on her back, Mairi says: ‘These are men and women who followed their hearts into wild country, war zones and across continents.
‘I look at their lives through true stories and a collection of new songs using viola, voice and fiddle and we explore universal themes of love, music and religion.’
The audiences at Revival! at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival said things like:
- ‘beautiful, honest and true’
- ‘subtle, funny, brilliant and spellbinding’
- ‘Scottish social history comes alive!’
Mairi, a much sought-after session musician, was voted Scots Singer of the Year and Music Tutor of the Year at The Scots Trad Music Awards 2011.
She studied viola at the Guildhall in London and worked in the capital before returning to Edinburgh to focus on traditional song and fiddle music, essentially finding her musical roots. She is invited to music camps at home and aboard – with Vancouver a favourite – to teach.
Mairi and her Dumfries-born husband David, together form the production company, The Cast.
They travel extensively, work closely together in song writing, dance bands and teaching and have produced three CDs.
David directs Ceòl Mòr, an Aberdeen-based youth big band and runs Distil, a professional development project for traditional musicians wishing to hone composition skills.
The duo have just finished working with the Youth Music Theatre UK and came to international prominence in 2008 when their recording of Auld Lang Syne was used in the Hollywood blockbuster, Sex and the City.
The Revival! Tour
All dates start at 7.30pm except Edinburgh, which starts at 8.30pm.
- 16th September: Thornhill, New Cample Farm;
- 18th September: Crianlarich, Village Hall;
- 19th September: Dalmally, Community Centre;
- 20th September: Dunollie, 1745 House;
- 26th September: Armadale, Clan Donald Centre.
- 6th October : Lismore Hall;
- 16th October: Tobermory, An Tobar;
- 17th October: Edinburgh, Pleasance Cabaret (Edinburgh Folk Club);
- 19th October, Benderloch Village Hall;
- 21st October, Dalguise Village Hall; 23, Luing Cullipool Village Hall.