Across the Grain Festival returns this October

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Across The Grain is running for the second time throughout October, with an exciting and eclectic mix of activities, performances and workshops for all ages.

Events will be taking place in communities right across Aberdeenshire with most free to attend. Look out for printed programmes which give details of all performances and events.

Copies are available at libraries, leisure centres and museums, and key entertainment venues across the area. You’ll be sure to find a copy in your local shop, cafe or garden centre. The digital copy can be found on the Live LIfe Aberdeenshire website.

Organised by Live Life Aberdeenshire, last year’s inaugural festival got off to a really strong start, highlighting the uniqueness of the north east and attracting locals and visitors alike to around 50 events.

The desire to celebrate collectively what Aberdeenshire has to offer culturally has led to this year’s programme increasing significantly, showcasing the best the region has to offer, with some performances created especially for the festival.

These include a partnership with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland which will see two leading dance experts hosting intergenerational workshops in the north, culminating in a celebratory performance to a live soundtrack mixing Scottish Trad with electronic music.

Other participatory events include creating a brand-new festival ‘sound picture’ using local words and phrases in Alford, led by renowned composer and sound artist Pete Stollery, and there is also a return of last year’s popular Doric Call My Bluff.

As well as numerous music and singing workshops, there are opportunities to hear authors and specialist speakers, and a range of fun challenges for all the family at Live Life Aberdeenshire museums and libraries.

Another highlight, in partnership with the Elphinstone Institute, is “Aa Yap: Fa Eeses Doric Nooadays”, a world-first Pecha Kucha night adopting a fast-moving Japanese format where eight local speakers will talk about their work and its links to local language and culture.

In Stonehaven, North East Noo will showcase music from the folk tradition and worlds beyond, with performances from award-winning Aberdeenshire musician Iona Fyfe, Susanna Jara and Pawel Haranczyk from Eastern Europe, and music genres and styles from a variety of cultures across the world.

There are contributions from local musicians, storytellers, award-winning performers, composers, choreographers and singers.

As well as scheduled events at local venues, there will also be a variety of pop-up performances, from country dance sessions in community centres to young musicians busking at local farmer’s markets.

The festival is supported by local community groups, arts organisations, arts partners, academics and students who have all come together around a shared love of the Doric culture and language, and the north east’s musical roots.

Ye micht be asking yersel, ‘Fit is Doric onywye? Pit simply it’s jist the wye wi spikk in this neuk o Scotland. It’s nae that lang ago though, that you wid get belted for spikking it in the classroom, or at the very least be tellt ti ‘Speak properly’. It’s a diffrint story nooadays fooivir and spikkin Doric is nae jist tholed, bit positively encouraged.

The Across the Grain Festival is ae wye that Doric is bein celebrated across Aiberdeenshire. So if ye wis born an brocht up here, are fae ither pairts an hiv chosen to mak yer hame here, or are a visitor passing throwe, there’ll be somethin for ye aa during this month o music, sangs, stories, drama – aa kines o performances, in aa kines o venues, aa across the Shire.

Chair of Live Life Aberdeenshire’s Culture and Sport Sub-Committee, David Cook, said: “Our organising team has pulled together a great mix of activities this year, offering something for everyone.

“The 2019 programme builds on the successes of last year’s inaugural festival, and as a result, offers some more amazing opportunities and exciting experiences for festival-goers.

“I am in awe of the collected expertise gathered together in this programme and it is a reminder of the rich talent we have here in Aberdeenshire.”

Sub-committee vice chair, Anne Simpson, said: “I’m delighted to see so many events taking place in our communities, with opportunities to get involved for people of all ages.

“I know residents and visitors in Aberdeenshire will find Across the Grain entertaining and exciting, and will fully support this new festival as it grows in the future.”

You can find out more about the Across the Grain Festival, and about the many and varied events on offer on the dedicated web page.

Advance bookings and purchases for ticketed events can also be made online.

A video showing the highlights of last year’s festival is available on Facebook.

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