Trio in Aberdeen

After a busy day on Monday it was lovely to see a lighter schedule on Tuesday with only a public recital at the very sociable time of 2 o’clock at Cults Parish Church. We had a relaxed morning with breakfast in the dome and then Amanda took us across for a rehearsal in the venue. There we were met by David who shepherded us into a community hall complete with wooden fort at the back, which we initially thought was where we were performing, until he took us down a small corridor and into the church itself.  We were playing under a wooden arch in front of a beautiful stain glass window and after getting properly centred thanks to Amanda’s OCD we were all set! Then came some sad news as our BFF (Best Festival Friend) Amanda had to leave with another member of the AIYF team coming to introduce our concert. A tasty lunch provided by Cults Parish Church helped to soften the blow but we would miss her over the coming days.

The warm and welcoming audience enjoyed our programme of Mozart, Beethoven, Jacob, and Ibert with De Haan’s whacky arrangement of Camptown Races being a particular hit. Over coffee and cake afterwards we were reliably informed by a gentleman of a piece called ‘Picnic’ by Ibert’s brother Edouard, Ted to his friends – Ted Ibert’s ‘Picnic’ (boom boom)! Thank you to everyone at Cults Parish Church for their hospitality and welcome, it made for a really lovely concert.

With the rest of our afternoon free we decided to explore the centre of Aberdeen before going to see the World Music Concert at the Music Hall later. But how to get there? We waited for the No. 20 bus for long enough for Charlie to try and persuade a nearby AIYF coach driver to give us a lift, which he refused only to drive past us shortly after as we walked with only one person on board! We did have a nice walk along the cobbles through Old Aberdeen, however, and where soon in the centre. There we had a bit of a look around the shops before treating ourselves to a fancy cocktail in the Tippling House just off Union Street.

But enough about us, I have to tell you about the simply amazing concert World Music concert we saw on Tuesday night as part of the festival. The stage was set in the Music Hall with full steel band and twelve, yes twelve, marimbas including two huge bass marimbas – I was very excited about what was to come. And they did not disappoint. The ‘Toronto All Stars Steel Orchestra’ were first and blew us away with there playing mixing Brazil Medley with Scotland the Brave and even throwing in Katy Perry, Firework for good measure! You really should check them out on YouTube ( Beijing No. 20 Symphonic Band were up next and we were delighted when they played ‘One More Cornetto’ which we’d been singing all week. Scotland was well represented with ‘Feis Rois Ceilidh Trail’ playing some great tunes with the breath-taking vocals of Iona Fyfe.

In the second half it was the turn of the marimbas and the ‘World Music Program’ from Canada. Wow. I have always liked the marimba but twelve at once with around twenty performers I like even more. I was mesmerised by their energy levels (one head banging marimba player especially!) and their musical and technical ability playing The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Viva la Vida, and a very moving performance of Loch Lomond in collaboration with Feis Rois. Again, check them out ( And then, as if that was not enough, everyone was on stage for the grand finale Auld Lang Syne – a suitably awesome end to a great concert.

Exhausted we headed home to get some rest before another busy day with just time to watch a couple of Martin Fröst videos before bed, as you do. 


Thomas Porter