Mr McFall's Chamber

Soundhouse Spotlight Session:

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It's always a pleasure for Soundhouse to welcome Mr McFall's Chamber.

One of those pleasures is that, thanks to a repertoire spanning almost every musical genre you can think of, you know that they’ll pull something unexpected out of their bulging bag of tricks.

For Soundhouse Spotlight the regular string players – Robert McFall (violin), Brian Schiele (viola), Su-a Lee (cello) and Rick Standley (doublebass) – are teaming up with Jamie MacDougall (tenor) to perform songs by the mid 20th century Mexican popular songwriter María Grever, as well as by Robert Burns and Michael Marra.

In a stylistically diverse programme, typical of McFalls, they'll also perform instrumentals by the 16th century lute-player John Dowland, by the 19th century Cuban violinist José White, and by Jimi Hendrix (mid-20th century guitarist/composer).

Mr McFall’s Chamber was formed in 1996 as a response to an increasingly narrowing demographic for classical music in Scotland at that time.

The original string quintet (string quartet with double bass), four of whom have been members throughout the group’s history, played to nightclub audiences and offered a mixture of types of music, some popular, some way-out.

During its early years, the group ran a monthly music event at Edinburgh’s Bongo Club calledNone of the Above, which tried to bring together music from very different genres. More recently the group, with a more extended line-up than in its earliest days, has tended to take over concert halls instead, while still offering repertoire which spans the divide between classical and non-classical.

Since the early days they have commissioned new work from some of the finest composers around, collaborated with singer-songwriters as diverse as Dominic Harris, Valentina Montoya Martínez and Michael Marra, taken part in projects in hospitals and schools, given a leg up to fledgeling composers, and released a protean discography.

Their latest release, Born in Dirt came out in 2019. It was described by Keith Bruce in The Herald as “one of the most fascinating and accomplished collections of music to appear this year.”

Image: Douglas Robertson

Edinburgh Tradfest Spotlight is supported by Creative Scotland

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