Paisley Daily Express - - Front Page - Lynn Jolly Scot­tish singer-song­writer Ross Wil­son — AKA Blue Rose Code — with Indian vo­cal­ist Smita Bel­lur and mu­si­cians Asin Khan Langa and Sawai Khan

The town that gave the world the Pais­ley Pat­tern is set to cel­e­brate its close links with In­dia by forg­ing a mu­si­cal friend­ship as The Spree kicks off to­day.

Pais­ley is host­ing the renowned arts fes­ti­val for the sixth year, with more than 60 shows tak­ing place over 12 days.

And all the ac­tion comes as we wait to hear if the town will be the first Scot­tish place to be­come UK City of Cul­ture in 2021.

Head­line acts this year in­clude an ea­gerly-an­tic­i­pated home­com­ing char­ity show from the town’s mu­si­cal megas­tar, Paolo Nu­tini, in Pais­ley Abbey on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 20 and a unique col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Fright­ened Rab­bit and the Royal Scot­tish Na­tional Orches­tra on Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 16, also in the abbey.

The fes­ti­val starts tonight with a spe­cial Mu­si­cal Tapestry, which cel­e­brates Pais­ley’s friend­ship with In­dia through its tex­tile her­itage.

Three Scot­tish mu­si­cians —piper Ross Ainslie, mu­si­cian and com­poser An­gus Lyon and singer-song­writer Ross Wil­son (aka Blue Rose Code) — team up with Indian coun­ter­parts Smita Bel­lur, Asin Khan Langa and Sawai Khan for a col­lab­o­ra­tion fus­ing tra­di­tional mu­sic and in­stru­ments from both coun­tries.

The six have just ar­rived in Scot­land after per­form­ing the same show last week at the Ra­jasthan In­ter­na­tional Folk Fes­ti­val, which The Spree has been twinned with thanks to sup­port from the Bri­tish Coun­cil as part of their UK/ In­dia Year of Cul­ture 2017.

The Scot­tish leg wi l l be recorded for BBC Scot­land’s Trav­el­ling Folk pro­gramme and broad­cast next Wed­nes­day. It will be ac­com­pa­nied by a dig­i­tal tapestry, where school pupils from both coun­tries will work to­gether on an art project to be re­vealed later in the year.

Some of the par­tic­i­pants met up yes­ter­day in the County Square spiegel­tent, which will host to­day’s open­ing con­cert and the bulk of The Spree ac­tion.

Ross Wil­son said: “Peo­ple can ex­pect some­thing gen­uinely new.

“We bandy around the terms ‘unique’ and ‘spe­cial’, but this is a gen­uine fu­sion of styles peo­ple won’t have heard be­fore.

“As mu­si­cians, we have been out­side our com­fort zone, but we have learned a lot and really grown to­gether.

“Last week, we per­formed this show in a 15th-Cen­tury Indian fort to 3,000 peo­ple and the en­ergy was pal­pa­ble — it couldn’t have been any bet­ter.”

Spiegel­tent high­lights in­clude:

 Yola Carter with Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards to­mor­row

 Sharon Shannon with Fara on Sun­day

 Dougie MacLean on Wed­nes­day

 BBC Ra­dio Scot­land’s Jan­ice Forsyth and Vic Gal­loway shows on Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 19 and

 Bre­abach with Kris Dr­ever and Talisk on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 20.

Other mu­si­cal mo­ments in­clude Pais­ley Arts Cen­tre host­ing Emma Pol­lock and RM Hub­bert on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 15, Pais­ley: The Un­told Story show with James Grant in Pais­ley Abbey on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 21, and a Lost Map Records night, hosted by the Pic­tish Trail, on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 22.

There will also be two Best of Scot­tish Com­edy nights with the Gilded Bal­loon, as well as theatre, po­etry, film, dance and a full pro­gramme of kids’ shows dur­ing the Oc­to­ber school hol­i­day.

Pais­ley 2021 bid di­rec­tor Jean Cameron said: “The Spree fes­ti­val is firmly es­tab­lished as a key date in Scot­land’s fes­ti­val cal­en­dar and we look for­ward to wel­com­ing peo­ple from across the coun­try for this year’s bill, which is the big­gest and best yet, with a range of art forms and some in­cred­i­ble per­form­ers

“We are de­lighted to be wel­com­ing mu­si­cians from In­dia to help kick off the packed pro­gramme tonight.

“Our UK City of Cul­ture 2021 bid aims to use Pais­ley’s place as the one-time cen­tre of a global in­dus­try to re­con­nect us to the world and this is a great way to show what that will look like.”

The Spree is tak­ing place in part­ner­ship with Gil­mour Street bar Burger and Keg, and Fos­ters, which has pro­grammed ad­di­tional acts in the Burger and Keg Live Tent in Abbey Close dur­ing the fes­ti­val.

These in­clude co­me­di­ans Rab Florence, Billy Kirk­wood, and Tom Urie and Janey God­ley. You can find out more at burgerand­

The fes­ti­val is also ac­com­pa­nied by The Spree For All fringe, which will see gigs tak­ing place in lo­cal pubs and venues dur­ing The Spree fort­night.

More information is at thes­

The fes­ti­val is or­gan­ised by Ren­frew­shire Coun­cil, pro­grammed by Ac­tive Events, and sup­ported by Even­tS­cot­land, part of VisitScotland’s events direc­torate, and the Bri­tish Coun­cil.

Pais­ley is the only Scot­tish place to make the fi­nal UK City of Cul­ture 2021 short­list along­side Coven­try, Stoke, Sun­der­land and Swansea, with the win­ner to be an­nounced in De­cem­ber.

Spr e e tick­ets and information are avail­able from www.thes­ and from the box of­fice on 0300 300 1210.

Forg­ing friend­ships

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