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Deveron Projects

The Town Is The Venue
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Shona Donaldson

Short Nichts and Lang Kisses

2010

The Nicht is short, I have tae go, the sun is up and I maun ride. I’ll come again when evening falls, and through
the dark be at your side
From the album
Looking at the North East ballads through a contemporary exploration of the Greig Duncan collection

Shona Donaldson originally comes from Huntly and is one of Scotland's leading young tradition bearers. She was in residence in her home town during 2010.

No area in the west possesses such a fine tradition of balladry and folksong as the North East of Scotland. The agricultural heartland of Aberdeenshire has long been recognised for its music and song. Born and bred in Aberdeenshire, the 'bothy ballads' evoke romance and love, expose injustice, recount real events, but specifically have grown and been nurtured from the experiences of the men and women working in and around the farms or ‘fairm-touns’ of the 19th and 20th centuries. The bothy ballads were composed (often not written down) and set largely to existing pipe and fiddle tunes by the men hired or fee'd at the local hiring fairs or fee'ing markets held in towns and villages.

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Huntly, situated in the very agricultural heartland of Aberdeenshire, has been the setting for many of the songs, with the most famous amongst them being Bogie's Bonnie Belle. Shona Donaldson, who is bilingual in English and Doric researched the traditions of the Bothy Ballads in the North East of Scotland, in particular focusing on a contemporary adaptation of the Greig-Duncan Collection. Shona created modern tunes to the songs without melody, and integrated modern lines into the fragmented songs, juxtaposing old source material with new music and text. A number of performances took place during the residency. Shona toured notable sights on the Bothy Ballad Bus singing songs for which the North East of Scotland is famous.

The launch of the CD Short Nichts, Lang Kisses took place in the Masonic Hall in April 2011.

     

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