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The Greig-Duncan Collection A project with Shona Donaldson 29 October 2010 OAP Hall, Church Street, Huntly

This month sees the culmination of singer Shona Donaldson’s residency Bogie’s Bonnie Belle researching the Bothy Ballads in the North East of Scotland. No area in the western world possesses such a fine tradition of balladry and folksong as the North East of Scotland and 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 “fairmtouns” 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. 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, has researched the traditions of the Bothy Ballad in the North East of Scotland, in particular focusing on a contemporary adaptation of the Greig-Duncan Collection. A native Doric speaker Shona has written new texts for old tunes and new tunes for old words. Shona Donaldson is one of Scotland's leading young traditional singers. She is in residence with Deveron Arts throughout the year 2010. Her residency will culminate in the publication, recording and performance of new work relating to the Greig-Duncan collection of both ballads. Gavin Greig and James Bruce Duncan have collected over three thousand songs from the North east of Scotland. These have been published in a monumental 8 volume edition by Aberdeen University. Sadly Greig and Duncan never saw those in print in their life-time. A fair amount of them depict the Huntly area, such as The Weaver Loons of Huntly. While most of the songs have tunes – unfortunately some of them have not. Others are ‘patchy’, with missing lines. Shona’ now creates modern tunes to the songs without melody, and integrate modern lines into the fragmented of songs, creating a juxtaposition of old source material fused with new music. 29 October 2010, OAP Hall, Church Street, Huntly

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Shona Donaldson