It’s turning into quite an eventful year for Scottish folk singer and musician Mairi Campbell; earlier this year she previewed her new one-woman theatre show Pulse which tells of her musical journey and quest for pulse. One that begins with a painful end to her classical music training before heading to Mexico and Cape Breton and finally returning home to the traditional music scene in Scotland. The latest news that she’s been appointed by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to teach improvisation to students on the BMus (Traditional Music) degree course therefore seems very suited with her being such a pioneering figure in Scottish music. As you can hear and see below she’s no stranger to pushing the boundaries of the traditional music scene, those students are in for quite a treat.
What the devil ails ye?
Students can spend time with Mairi throughout the academic year learning to improvise within the folk music tradition. She will also work with the students to reframe what it means to be a traditional musician, and expand the boundaries of the genre.
“I’m excited to be working with these gorgeous young musicians who are the future sound-keepers of this precious tradition,” said Mairi. “Trad musicians don’t just play tunes. They preserve and pass down the songs and stories of their local areas, and actively participate in their local communities.”
Mairi is keen to encourage students to get in touch with their creativity and find new ways of expressing traditional music and themselves.
“Jigs and reels are great and have an important place,” said Mairi. “But I want to help these young people find new forms for the music. Something else wants to happen with this music, and these young musicians are the ones to call it out.
Joshua Dickson, Head of Traditional Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said of Mairi’s appointment: “Mairi Campbell has been an inspiration to her peers and students for many years through her exploration of the true, the joyous and the authentic in Scottish traditional music. These are precisely the things we encourage our students to pursue in our trailblazing degree curriculum, so our students could not be more excited to work with Mairi.”
Mairi felt creatively stifled and repressed by her own classical musical education at the Guildhall School of Music, which she explores in her new one-woman theatre show Pulse.
“I really felt the lack of not being able to play music from my roots,” Mairi said. “I had a real hankering to connect with my own music and know it and to express my spirit and creativity. You could say I’m now doing for my students what I wanted someone to do for me.”
Take some time to visit Mairi’s website here: www.mairicampbell.scot