Singer’s show highlights range of Scots’ influence “Very well received”
Fiona opens the
kist on some Scottish delights.
WHEN the words Scottish and music are put together, most minds jump to bagpipes, ceilidhs and, at a push, The Proclaimers. However, singer and presenter Fiona Kennedy hopes to put an end to the preconceptions. Her show The Kist, which is coming to Aberdeen from August 25, will showcase Scottish music from ancient Gaelic times right through to today’s chart toppers like Paolo Nutini and KT Tunstall. “I want to stop Scottish music being put in a box and show the amazing range that is out there from this country,” said the 50-something who lives in Blairs. “I want to show that Scotland is really contemporary but also is steeped in history and that a wide range of music has been affected by our little country, including country and bluegrass. “There’s a Bob Dylan track and a Woody Guthrie in the show. “I think people will be surprised by how many kinds of music Scotland has influenced.” The Kist is not only a collaboration of different styles of music but also of different musicians. American Marcus Hummon, who has had six American Billboard number one hits, has flown in to take part and he will join The Albyn School choir in the line-up. Fiona held a range of auditions to find her performers for the show and has offered the artists tuition along the way. “They all auditioned and we offered mentoring and tuition for them. “As well as The Albyn choir, who were picked because it’s my old school and the head of music is brilliant, a 17-year-old singer Jordan MacAskill from Aberdeen is also performing.” The show is being performed at His Majesty’s Theatre for three nights and Fiona is delighted to be performing in the town she calls home. She said: “We’re previewing the show for 18 nights in the Edinburgh Festival, and there’s no better venue to come to after that than HMT. “I think it’s head and shoulders above most theatres in the UK and a good part of the show was conceived near Aberdeen in my home so it feels right to bring it here first.” Fiona had the idea to do something about kists, the Scottish word for a travel chest, when she was visiting Ellis Island nine years ago. All immigrants had to go through the centre – beside the Statue Of Liberty – to get into America. And at the time of Fiona’s visit the centre had an exhibition of Scottish kists. Fiona said: “The kists represented the Scottish people that travelled through the centre and their lives when they travelled from all the ports in Scotland to America. “I was affected by it and woke up in the middle of the night to write a song about it. “Five years later I managed to get Beth Nielsen Chapman to work on the song with me which we called The Kist and it was very well received on my show Highland Heartbeat. “While the journey could have ended there I felt there was still more I wanted to do – so I created this show.” Fiona was born into a family of folk singers – her father was Calum Kennedy and her mother was Anna Gillies. From a young age she would badger her dad about letting her perform with him. “I would ask and ask and ask and he kept telling me I wasn’t ready until when I was eight he allowed me to join him on stage in Inverness. “I was off then – he couldn’t get rid off me and I’ve never lost the buzz of performing.” And now the performing gene has been passed on to Fiona’s youngest daughter Sophie Kennedy Clark who’s starred alongside David Tennant in Single Father and worked as a model for Burberry. “Sophie’s under no illusions
STAR: Music by KT Tunstall will feature in the show. MUSICIANS: From left, Claire Hastings, Darren Mclean, Rachel Oates, Fiona Kennedy, James Muldoon.