Aidan O’Rourke

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About Aidan O’Rourke

2018’s “365” tour will showcase new material from Aidan O'Rourke's forthcoming 365 album series (the first of which is due for release in March 2018 via Reveal Records).

A sparse and emotive exploration of contemporary folk music by the multi award winning Scottish fiddler - composer Aidan O’Rourke (Lau / Kan / Blazin Fiddles) and assisted (for live concerts and recording) by Mercury Music Prize nominated, harmonium and piano player, Kit Downes (ECM Records). 

Aidan has been writing an original tune every day for the past year in response to James Robertson's collection of daily short stories 365 (Penguin Books). Kit Downes adds bold harmonisations to Aidan's trademark lyrical and dynamic fiddle style. Next years concerts offer a chance to witness two of the worlds finest musicians collaborating and exploring new music together. Not to be missed. 

Aidan O’Rourke is a fiddler, composer, producer and one of the most influential folk musicians of his generation. With his trio Lau (singer/guitarist Kris Drever, accordionist Martin Green) and various solo and collaborative projects, he has pioneered a new sound in Scottish folk and re-contextualised tradition forms with experimental, improvised, jazz, classical and electronic music.

Aidan’s roots are in Irish and Scottish traditional music — he grew up in Oban and was immersed in Irish culture at home. He studied with Highland fiddle teachers George McHardy and Maurice Duncan and by 14 was touring the UK, Europe and North America with The Caledonia Ramblers (a band that included Ian MacGregor, son of the great ballad singer Sheila Stewart). In 1998 he joined Blazin’ Fiddles; in 2010 he formed the quartet Kan — “a live wire of rhythm and melody” (Songlines) — with whistles player Brian Finnegan. Their debut album, Sleeper, was released in 2012 and hailed as “forefront of moulding and re-defining traditional music” (Folkradio UK). A new duo with jazz pianist Kit Downes was formed in 2016 and makes a debut tour in July 2017.

As a solo artist, Aidan was named Instrumentalist of the Year at the 2006 Scots Trad Music Awards and Musician of the Year at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. He has released three acclaimed solo albums (Sirius in 2006, An Tobar in 2008, Hotline in 2013) and two experimental EPs (Imprint and Music For Exhibition and Film). As a composer, he has been commissioned by Celtic Connections, Sage Gateshead, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Tolbooth in Stirling, Mull’s An Tobar arts centre, the Cottier Chamber Project, Capella Nova and other ensembles. He collaborates with visual artists Dalziel and Scullion on pieces exploring Scotland’s landscape and wildlife.

Lau came together in 2006 and released their debut album, Lightweights and Gentlemen, the following year; that album would set a precedent for new folk music that integrates experimental sounds and expanded forms. Three further studio albums followed (Arc Light in 2009, Race the Loser in 2012, The Bell That Never Rang in 2015) plus two live albums (2008, 2012) and a series of collaborations with (among others) Adem, Karine Polwart and the Royal Northern Sinfonia. Lau made multiple tours of the US and Japan and played with Jack Bruce and Trilok Gurtu. They won Best Group at the BBC 2 Folk Awards an unprecedented four times. To date they have staged three editions of Lau-Land — weekend festivals involving workshops, collaborations and eclectic lineups. In 2017 they released a retrospective album charting their heady first Decade.

As spokesman and tradition-bearer, Aidan is often made an ambassadorial figure for Scottish folk music. In 2005, his piece Mantra Alba was commissioned for the Dalai Lama’s official visit to Scotland. He represented Scotland in the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad with a PRSF New Music 20x12 commission for his work TAT-1, which premiered at London's Southbank Centre. Two years later, Lau were given a PRSF New Music Biennial commission for the Southbank and Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games celebrations — and that commission became the audacious 17-minute centrepiece of The Bell That Never Rang featuring the Elysian Quartet.

As a teacher, Aidan is a founder of the fiddle camp Blazin’ in Beauly and a regular tutor at Celtic Connections, the Cambridge Folk Festival and University of Limerick in Ireland. As part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, he gave a number of ‘composer surgeries’ and workshops at the Southbank Centre. He was a judge on the inaugural Niel Gow Fiddle Competition in 2017.

“Few contemporary musicians in any category can match either his artistic ambitions or his achievements in bringing them to fruition” (The Scotsman)
“What a unique and extraordinary fiddler he is” (Channel4.com)
“O’Rourke is a dazzling fiddler in any setting” (Scotland on
“O’Rourke’s music – both his writing and playing – is unfailingly strong and imaginative” (The List)
“Lau are a remarkable band - exquisite and hypnotic, musicianship at its best” (The Guardian)

“Few contemporary musicians in any category can match either his artistic ambitions or his achievements in bringing them to fruition” (The Scotsman on Aidan O’Rourke)

“Bravely adventurous - epic and exhilarating” (The Guardian on Aidan O’Rourke’s band Lau) 

 
Management Tom Rose
Booking Jody Rothera Unique Gravity
Label Reveal Records
Publishing Reveal Publishing


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