Crossing borders and genres
This article is from 2007.
The Acoustic Music Centre has become the focal point for folk music on the Fringe, but one gig in particular stands out in this year’s programme as offering something a bit out of the ordinary. Parallelogram is an unusual fusion of traditional musicians with jazz players, built around the Lau trio of fiddler Aidan O’Rourke, accordionist Martin Green and guitarist Kris Drever.
Flautist Brian Finnegan of Flook also comes ostensibly from the folk camp, while Acoustic Ladyland saxophonist Pete Wareham, bassist Oli Hayhurst and drummer John Blease are primarily jazzers. Aidan explained how the project came about.
‘An opportunity came around about a year-and-a-half ago to put together a project that would be funded mainly by the PRS Foundation, which they did via promoters. The idea was to come up with something that spanned two countries within the British Isles, and John Barrow in Edinburgh called me up and asked what we might be able to do with a cross-genre, cross-border project.
‘We were still in the early stages with Lau at that point, and we thought it was a good opportunity to think out of the box and indulge alternative interests we all have, especially in the way of free improvised jazz and alternative jazz. We talked it through, and the name of Acoustic Ladyland kept coming up, alongside bands like Polar Bear and The Bad Plus. We felt that Acoustic Ladyland were doing something with their genre that was analogous to what we were doing with traditional music, and we approached Pete Wareham and he was very enthusiastic.’
The musicians got together in Birnam for four days of working on the music, and this will be their fifth gig in the UK. A recording remains a possibility if they can find the time amid their busy schedules.
‘We all wrote for the project,’ Aidan added, ‘and the interesting thing is that the results we came up with when we got together don’t actually sound like any of the component bands.’
Lau, meanwhile, now have their well-received debut album behind them, and have two subsequent concerts in the Acoustic Music Centre (15 & 16 August). The trio indulge in a bit of experiment in their own right, although within a more traditional folk context.
‘It’s really taking off now, and the album is selling well. We were interested in good tunes, but with a bit more of a leftfield input. We are a traditional band, and that is what we are proud of, but we do talk a lot about where we might take it – we feel at times that we are reining it in slightly.’
Acoustic Music Centre at St. Bride’s, 346 1405, 9 Aug, 7.15pm, £12 (£10).