Brighton visit from Scottish Fiddler who wrote a song every day of the year

Aidan O'Rourke and Kit Downs, photo by Genevieve Stevenson
Aidan O'Rourke and Kit Downs, photo by Genevieve Stevenson

Scottish musicians will bring their unique live tour to Brighton this weekend, performing a selection from more than 300 songs.

Musician Aidan O’Rourke is embarking on a tour to perform music from ‘365: Stories and Music’ alongside pianist and harmonium player, Kit Downes.

The pair will visit Brighton Toy Museum on Saturday (October 19) to perform their music and share a unique installation with the public.

The collection is an epic built on the ‘beauty of the miniature’.

A Scottish fiddler and composer, O’Rourke was inspired to write 365 songs in 2016, one for every day of the year.

He was inspired by leading Scottish author, James Robertson.

Robertson wrote one short story a day for a year which were 365 words in length. Penguin published the collection in 2014.

O’Rourke’s music is paired with harmonies from Mercury-nominated Kit Downes on harmonium and piano, guitarist Sorren Maclean, and harpist Esther Swift.

O’Rourke said: “This project was never meant to be quite so... public! Nobody was necessarily going to hear any of it. That wasn’t the point.

“My 365 tune cycle started as an entirely personal writing exercise – to see what might happen if I imposed a daily writing ritual upon myself. I read James’ stories; I felt a tangible connection. I loved how succinct and emotive he could be with his words.

“I appreciated the power of his understatement, of saying less in a world when everyone seems to be shouting more. I wondered whether there might be a musical parallel.

“It has been mind-expanding working with Kit and James, both of whom take me in directions I would never go without them.”

Robertson’s stories and O’Rourke’s music now form a touring installation designed by inventor Yann Seznec, in collaboration with design team Old School Fabrications.

Crafted from wood and brass with no digital screens in sight, the piece encases the spoken-word recordings of all 365 stories.

Robertson reads many himself, and other storytellers provide rich and varied accents from artists, actors, and young people around Scotland.

The free installation allows up to six people at a time to browse through all 365 stories and listen to the 365 compositions through headphones.

From January 2020, readers can also receive a free daily story and tune in their email inbox.

James Robertson said: “I love the way the 365 project has built new layers of creativity and performance on my original collection of stories.

“It has been a total joy and privilege to work with these talented musicians, and I am still astonished that my words have provoked such a rich range of responses in Aidan’s compositions.

“It has been a huge collaborative effort but also great fun, and I am just grateful to be part of it.”

The tour and installation launched at The Edinburgh International Book Festival in August 2019 and is touring the country.

Dates, tickets, and information can be found here

To sign up to receive 365 Stories and Music in your inbox, visit their website here