Robyn brings a historic folk collaboration in C sharp

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A rare historic collaboration between the UK’s leading string orchestra, Stranraer’s award-winning traditional folk singer and a popular Scottish composer, will debut in Newton Stewart this month as part of the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival.

The Scottish Ensemble and Robyn Stapleton will perform songs from the Ballad Book of Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe (1781-1851) who was born in May 1781 at Hoddam, Dumfriesshire.

Sharpe was a social and intellectual ancestry of some distinction and his early education was nourished on Jacobite story and tradition, which was to be the main driver of his artistic studies and research.

Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe (self-penned as “C#”) was educated in Edinburgh and then at Christ Church, Oxford, graduating in 1806. Following the appearance of The Minstrelsy Of The Scottish Border (1802), Sharpe contacted Sir Walter Scott. They were to become lifelong friends and Sharpe contributed to his works, including the famous ballad of The Twa Corbies.

Robyn Stapleton has recently been working alongside singer Emily Smith as part of McMath: The Silent Page, a project which has brought new life to the songs of Galloway song collector William Macmath. It was through this project that Robyn was first introduced to the songs of C# and her interest in his collected ballads began.

She said: “The first time I looked at Sharpe’s ballads, I knew they were very special indeed.

“I really wanted people to know about his collections and to hear these wonderful songs performed.

“I’ve always wanted to work together with a string ensemble and I know that the Scottish Ensemble musicians will bring tremendous strength and beauty to the music.”

The event takes place at the McMillan Hall in Newton Stewart on Thursday, 26 May, at 7.30pm.

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