Bella Caledonia – Twa projects A’m pairt o at the Fringe


O is for Hoolet by Ishbel McFarlene explores whit Scots is the day. She ettles tae gie the audience an innin tae the leid fae ilka airt, includin fae ootside, quotin fae academics, fae inside, quotin fae Burns, an fae doonwards, quotin fae hersel as a bairn. Ishbel says Hoolet’s “aboot Scots at its core, but it’s aboot politics and pooer – aw leid is.”

O is for Hoolet hus lately been at the hert o a tour re-introducin Scotland tae its ain leid.

A Creative Learning leader (Michael Dempster) ran warkshops in scuils in the efternin, an Ishbel pit oan her shaw at local venues the same nicht.

The tour gied Ishbel new insichts intae Scots.

“A hud Scots speakers wha hid nae idea whit they were speakin wis a leid. A went tae scuils whaur the staff hud nae bother speakin with the bairns in Scots, whether it wis aboot no cuttin across the grass, or settin up the animation saftware oan the computer. A fun that non-native speakers wis wantin tae learn, but felt they’d nae richt tae. The hail o Buckie seemed tae be confident, fluent Doric spikkers – the wummin at the Post Office, the man at the Coop – een whan fowk spak English tae them, they spoke Doric back, an there wis nivver ony problem. It disnae matter if yer different tongues is ‘leids’ or ‘dialects’. The leid/dialect hing bothers fowk, but ma view oan it noo is this: fuck it. A speak it. A learn it. A yaise it. A teach it. It’s mines.”

Whit’s the maist common spierin fae her audience? “What does the word baffies mean and is it Scots?” she tells us. “Its frequency is, A think, connectit wi the fact that Scots isnae visible ootside the hame. It’s a suprise for fowk tae learn that ‘baffies’ is yaised ootside o Clydebank, or their scuil. Scots jist isnae visible eneuch in the public sphere.”

Tae improve the visibility o Scots, Ishbel an ithirs are collectin photaes, an quotes o Scots fae owre tha hail o the festival; “hings written oan posters, or cafe blackboards, or signs in shoppies, een the patter o street artists. Visibility an audibility halps wi the reality o a leid. We wannae celebrate it. Bella readers can gies a haun tae collect them bi taggin photies/videos oan Twitter or Instagram wi the hashtag #FringeScots”

Scottish Storytelling Centre, (Venue 30) 7pm 12th-29th August (not Mondays)

The Descent o’ Orpheus tae the Underwarl by Ayrshire Opera is an owresettin o an auld French opera fae 1686, La descente d’Orphée aux enfers bi Marc-Antoine Charpentier, intil Scots

The tale taks us doon tae the underwarl o Greek mythology, whaur oor hero Orpheus gings in search o his newly deid wife Eurydice. Giftit wi sang sae saft and bonnie that nane can refuse him, Orpheus ettles tae save his pairtner fae the clutches o Pluto, high heid yin o the warld ablow wir feet. Nae spoilers, but.

The owresettin fae French intil Scots wis the wark o Chris Waddell fae the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. This isnae Waddell’s, nor Ayrshire Opera’s furst wee bairnie steps in the warld o Scots opera. Baith hae aaready markit their nemmes in history ae year syne wi the production o Actéon meets Tam o Shanter, the furst Opera in Scots, anithir owresttin o Charpentier bi Waddell.

The shaw’s Creative Director, as weel’s its tenor, is West coast chiel David Douglas. It wis David’s love o Scots sang that gard him big a brig atween his classical operatic scuilin an the rich Scots o his native Ayrshire, he telt us. “The Scots taks the hail wark in a new airt, gies it a new smeddum. Opera companies aa owre the yird hae owreset Operas intae their ain leid, an Ah was fair tane wi the idea o owresettin ane intae Scots.”

The enterprise wis aidit bi Michael Dempster, wha gied assistance bi “relatin Scots soonds tae phonetic alphabet” fir the fowk wha didnae ken Scots.

The opera has but a wee twa-nicht run at this year’s Fringe sae tak tent an dinnae miss this neer-afore-seen spectacle. David Douglas’ troops promise baith beautiful music an “Scots [that gies the piece] a folk-like storytellin quality.”
Lauriston Halls (venue 163), 6.30pm 11th an 12th August


The Scots Festival

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