Rich musical mix at book festival

The Commoners Choir
The Commoners Choir

Wigtown Book Festival is this year also offering a rich musical mix from the rabble-rousing Commoners Choir to cosy sofa chats with the Bookstore Band

The Commoners Choir is bringing its mix of irreverent fun and an unquenchable thirst for social justice to the Wigtown Book Festival.

Founded two years ago in Leeds by Chumbawamba singer Boff Whalley the choir has carved out a reputation for its ability to create catchy songs about politics, insurrection, poverty, land ownership and the environment.

Wigtown audiences will be treated to songs from the debut album entitled Commoners Choir which was released this month and is billed as 21 songs of protest, anger, humour and hope.

Boff said: “We sing songs about subjects that need singing about, and have a lot of fun doing that.

“In Wigtown we’ll be presenting a celebration of the printed word in song – the invention of the printing press was one of the most important ever made, because once people could read they found they could have some influence over their world and their own lives.

“We’ll also be singing a couple of songs poking fun at the Tory government.”

The a capela choir, which has its own manifesto, is made up of a broad spectrum of people from doctors and teachers to carers and carpenters, who all identify themselves as being on the left of politics.

Boff says: “It’s meant to be very broad. We are aligned round ideas not parties or leaders. Nothing annoys me more than endless arguments about detail and ideology.”

Another choir, The Cairn Chorus, will be presenting a show with very different themes and sounds. They will perform the Cairn Valley Song Cycle which was commissioned from seven composers by the villagers of Moniaive to reflect the area’s rich landscape and sense of community.

Glasgow’s Auricle Ensemble will also be at the festival, performing Stravinsky’s suite The Soldier’s Tale. Written at the end of World War I it tells the story of a soldier returning to his viialge who makes a pact with the Devil.

Festival visitors will also be able to begin their days in a pleasant and tuneful way with The Bookshop Band who will be inviting special guests to join them for their Chat Show events. It’s a chance to hear delightful music, meet fascinating people and enjoy coffee and pastries.

Galloway Consort, The Last Pavane is at The Print Room on Sunday, 24 September. The tale 
of two Renaissance lovers whose fates were inextricably linked with that of Mary, Queen of Scots. Their story is illustrated by music played on Renaissance recorders, viols, guitar and percussion.

Adrian Turpin, Wigtown Book Festival Artistic director, said: “It’s a real pleasure to be offering music of many different types for many and varied tastes. We’re also pleased to be welcoming performers to Wigtown from Leeds, Glasgow and Dumfries and Galloway itself.”