Performance: A/am/ams

2 October 2021, 19:00

Glasnakille Road, Elgol, Highland, Scotland, IV49 9BJ

Free but ticketed

An image mid performance of A/​am/​ams at Elgol Hall, photo credit Jordan Young
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A/​am/​ams is an evening of music and words in Elgol Hall on 2 October, open to all. Join at 7pm or come along a little earlier at 3pm to take part in a musical workshop, exploring imaginative approaches to score-reading.

A/​am/​ams (come ashore, turn over) is the story of two characters, A/​am/​ams and E/​e/​e, walking forever down an eternal beach, spiralling down and down and down. There’s a mystery – who are these characters, and what happened between them? It is an expansive piece about apocalyptic love and loss, and a kind of raw, dead anger.

This piece is a kind of one-act play, which takes place in an apocalyptic void world. It takes place in a parallel North West Highlands, where all that exists is one long beach, which draws in my mind on the environmental change taking place here already – droughts, wildfires, months of sunshine, no wind.

Each OVER /​AT release is a branch of the trans music-making world. Formed out of open-ended conversations and improvisation with different musicians and instruments, such as operatic mezzo-soprano Lea Shaw, and collective score-making with Leo Valenti, the music features Scots traditional singer Josie Vallely, a.k.a. Quinie, and a small supporting cast of instruments with their own characters, played by three other musicians whose work spans traditional, experimental, and classical modes – Stevie Jones (Sound of Yell), Harry Gorski-Brown, and Andrew Herrington (Awkward Family Portraits).

Partly inspired by the influence of different factors such as trauma, gender, and disability on the voice, and partly by the speeches and structures of Classical and Renaissance drama, the work imagines instruments speaking to and answering one another.

The work also features a new text by Rufus, which imagines a new mouthful-of-sand future-language of the North West Highlands, spanning Older Scots and Middle English, presented alongside a new, specially commissioned Gaelic interpretation of the text, by Cass Ezeji.

A/​am/​ams will also be released as an album on 9th November, with new artwork by Jamie Crewe. The piece will be released digitally and on cassette by Glasgow-based label, GLARC.

About Rufus Elliot

Rufus Isabel Elliot is a young composer with a unique new voice in Scottish music. Its work is concerned with honesty, giving testimony, and the conditions in which one speaks out. Its music synthesises literary, musical, and experiential worlds into a highly personal voice. Since coming ashore, Rufus has worked with the likes of the Nevis Ensemble (with whom it was composer-in-residence 2019), Red Note Ensemble, Sound Festival Scotland, Knockvologan Studies, and Magnetic North.

Rufus is the founder of OVER / AT, a trans, non-binary, and gender-diverse music-making world. This includes curating new commissions, recording projects, workshops, and touring performances, all by/with/for the Folk. The OVER / AT world developed out of Rufus’ own practice, thinking about how different aspects of a person’s lived experience reside in the voice. OVER / AT #1 was recently shortlisted for a Scottish Award for New Music.

Rufus graduated from a Masters in Music at the Royal Conservatoire Scotland in 2020. Its studies with David Fennessy at the RCS were supported by scholarships from the RCS Trust and the EMI Sound Foundation. It graduated with the Patrons' Fund Prize (RCM) and the Craig Armstrong Prize. In 2017, it received a first class degree in English Language & Literature from the University of Oxford. Whilst studying in Oxford, it also studied Old English, Middle English, and Old Norse.

About Cass Ezeji

Cass Ezeji is a singer, writer and linguist from Glasgow. As a Gaelic speaker, she seeks to fill the historical voids that omit the experiences of Gaels of African heritage. She has written for Scottish Affairs journal, Map magazine and Mother Tongue.

About Josie Vallely

Quinie, aka Josie Vallely, is based in Glasgow. She sings primarily in Scots, with a style inspired by the traditions of Scottish Traveller singers Lizzie Higgins (1929-1993) and her mother Jeannie Robertson (1908 –1975). Quinie’s experiments with composition and vocal techniques create a dialogue between pipe music and voice. Her work engages with themes of seasonal rhythm and gendered narratives. It has a strong sense of place rooted in an imagined Scotland. Recent work includes ‘Thyme Piobaireachd’, which was released on Cafe Oto’s Takuroku Label in April. The piece builds on her work exploring the vocalisation of piping traditions. Working in collaboration with percussionist Laurie Pitt on snare drum, the work is an exploration of the solo voice in dialogue with the compositional structure of the Piobaireachd. She has two albums released by GLARC.

About Lea Shaw

Lea Shaw is an award-winning Mezzo-soprano from the Rocky Mountains of Denver, Colorado. Now based in Scotland, She graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2021 with a BMus with first class honours, a Masters of Music and a Masters of Opera. An accomplished soloist in concert, opera, and improvisation, she has performed both locally and worldwide with a repertoire spanning from Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s St. John passion and the works of Britten, Handel, Bernstein, Purcell, Strauss, and Humperdinck, to the works of Vaughan Williams, Turnage, Ravel, Macmillan, Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Maxwell Davies’ The Medium.