An ongoing creative project featuring musicians from the UK and the Arabian Peninsula, Shifting Sands featured at this year’s Celtic Connections Festival – the world’s biggest traditional Scottish music and folk event.
Taking the form of an ever-evolving collaboration, Shifting Sands features a continually developing set of musical pieces, and a flexible line-up of talented musicians specialising in traditional music from their country or culture.
Rapturously received on its premiere at London’s Meltdown festival last June, this ambitious and already highly fruitful project bridges cultural boundaries primarily through the shared heritage of seafaring music, from rhythmic work chants to narrative ballads and desolate laments.
Central to the project are members of the acclaimed ‘folk big band’ Bellowhead, four times awarded ‘Best Live Band’ at the BBC Folk Awards and current Southbank Centre ‘Artists in Residence’. Trumpet player Andy Mellon is Shifting Sands’ Musical Director. For Celtic Connections he has brought together Bellowhead’s Pete Flood (percussion), the BBC Folk Awards 2010 ‘New Horizon’ winner Sam Carter (guitar & vocals), Corrina Hewat, one of the leading Scottish harp players in the world today, Karine Polwart collaborator and innovator Inge Thomson (image right) and multi-instrumentalist Matheu Watson - nominated for ‘Best Up and Coming Artist’ at the 2009 Scots Trad awards.
From Bahrain we welcome Mohammed Aseeri – still a student but already a highly coveted qanun player and considered ‘one to watch’ across the Gulf states, and Hasan Hujairi – a young guitar and oud player who experiments with field recordings and soundscapes. They are joined by acclaimed flautist Ahmed Al Ghanem, who has been involved in Shifting Sands from the outset, and accompanied by Arabic percussion duo Mohamed Hamada and Thani Salem Thani.
Development of the work took place during rehearsal sessions in Glasgow, culminating in two performances at Celtic Connections - watch a film following the musicians' experiences of the creative sessions and performances.
Check Hasan Hujairi's blog about his experience playing with Shifting Sands at Celtic Connections
Sam Carter also blogged about Shifting Sands on his own website
Wednesday 26 January @ 11.00am
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Main Auditorium
Thursday 27 January @ 8.00pm
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Strathclyde Suite
In partnership with the Bahrain Ministry of Culture, Shifting Sands also travelled to Manama, Bahrain, for two performances in early February 2011.
Shifting Sands Background
The project began in Kuwait in February 2010, where the musicians first started work on combining their distinct musical styles. Later that year the group reconvened for the first Shifting Sands sessions in the UK, culminating in a performance at the Southbank Centre, marking the opening of 2010 Meltdown festival which was curated by the legendary British guitarist Richard Thomson.