Soundfestival will host a celebratory concert of maritime music next weekend – with ships in Aberdeen Harbour sounding their horns to join in – in one of the first performances in front of live audiences in the city since lockdown.
After hosting two weekends of performances digitally, organisers will now stage unboundsound – four events with live, socially distanced audiences – on June 12 and 13.
“It has been an incredibly challenging year for musicians and live music events. We were pleased to be able to present our 2020 festival digitally, but nothing can replace the exhilaration of being at a live performance,” said the festival’s director Fiona Robertson.
Talented horn players Samuel Snell, Samuel Paul and Ben Williams will perform Pete Stollery’s community piece for multiple horn players celebrating Aberdeen’s hopeful coming out of lockdown.
The performance of Call will be staged in Aberdeen Harbour at 2pm on Sunday 13 June.
Aberdeen Harbour to celebrate maritime music
Pete said: “Call examines our ideas of space, something which has been compromised during various periods of lockdown, as well as the idea of calling, and responding, within space.
“The main group of horn players perform at the War Memorial on Pocra Quay at Aberdeen Harbour, but they interact with horn players on the other side of the harbour entrance.
“Both sides join together for a rendition of The Northern Lights and the piece ends with all the ships in the harbour sounding their horns in celebration of the first signs of our emergence from lockdown.”
Ships will become instruments
Aberdeen Harbour’s deputy harbour master Ewan Rattray said that music always played a big part in the maritime industry, with at least one musical instrument onboard a ship.
He added: “It is exciting that in this instance the ships themselves will be the instruments producing a musical sound. At the end of the piece, we will send out an all ships broadcast on VHF Channel 12 requesting that the vessels in port sound their horns for 30 seconds, and the vessels in the anchorage for one minute.”
Queen’s Cross Church indoor concerts
In addition to Call, Unboundsound will also host a concert in Queen’s Cross Church on June 12 when Red Note Ensemble will be joined by acclaimed horn player Richard Watkins. Local music fans can also look forward to Red Note’s afternoon concert on Sunday June 13 when the ensemble will perform works written by neurodivergent composers.
Sunday will also see 13 Aberdeen-based musicians recreate Esther Swifts’ The Call on the beach. Esther wrote the piece in response to a year of restrictions which saw live music brought to a halt.
Soundfestival wants to keep everybody safe
Fiona added: “We are really looking forward to welcoming people to join us for this weekend of performances and of course we’ll have measures in place to ensure our audiences’ safety including physical distancing and face coverings.”
Tickets for the Queen’s Cross Church performances and for a special audience area on the harbourside for Call (the latter is free) must be booked in advance here.