About Aidan O’Rourke
"365: Volume 1" is the new double album from Lau's Aidan O'Rourke with Kit Downes (ECM). A musical response to the 365 stories by author James Robertson.
The multiple BBC Folk Award winner and founding member of Lau, Kan and Blazin’ Fiddles spent a year writing daily musical responses to James Robertson’s short story collection 365: Stories (Hamish Hamilton / Penguin Books Ltd 2013).
'It's as if Debussy and Ravel were orchestrating Scottish Folk - truly beautiful'
October 5th London Kings Place
1. Nobody Could Be One Hundred Percent Sure About The Last Tiger
2. Do People Still Do This?
3. Every Morning She Steps Out The Front Door
4. Her Feet Padding Back
5. A Fox And A Hound Met Early One Morning On A Hillside
6. He Looked At His Right hand
7. It Was The Savage Boys Watching From The Cliffs
8. I Was An Experiment
9. The Room Is Darkness
10. You Forget More Than You Retain, And That's The Truth
11. Awake Isn't Good
12. I Don't Know Beforehand How I Will Appear To Anyone
13. Lying Awake In The Middle Of The Night
14. Sometimes He Felt He Could Live Permanently In A Hotel
15. I Used Not To Be Able To Read On Buses
16. The Phone Rang Just As She'd Got The Children To The Table
17. They Were Passing The End Of A Particular Street
18. Jack,' His Mother Says One Day, 'That Auld Dug Has Had It'
19. There was once a man so old that most of his family, and all of his friends, had left the world long before him
20. When I was still some distance from the village
21. At the interval, as the applause dies away and people begin to make for the exits
22. Now,' the old woman said, 'before you go up there I want to introduce you to someone'
All music written by Aidan O’Rourke (Reveal) / Kit Downes (SGO Publishing)
Aidan O’Rourke says:
It all began with short stories. James Robertson, one of my favourite Scottish authors, wrote a short story every day for a year, and each story had exactly 365 words. Quite a task! I was given the collection for Christmas in 2015, and began reading the stories every day.
I loved reading those stories: a daily dose of poetry and wisdom. And I loved the writing. The language is emotional, concise, apposite. Somehow the words and the pacing of the stories felt musical. I was intrigued by the discipline of setting such a quantifiable daily creative ritual. Would the same be possible in music…? By February 2016, I had decided I would take on a similar writing challenge each day for a year. I told James and he replied, ‘don’t do it!’, then suggested I give it a month and see if it drove me mad. By 28 February 2017, I had 365 new tunes, each one linked to a story from James’s collection. There’s no doubt the tunes are based in Scottish folk music; that’s my backbone, the place I come from, the traditional language I love. There’s a parallel with James here, too, because he loves old Scots words and tales. But, like the music I make with my trio Lau, I’m always interested in new ways of playing with old forms. Meanwhile, I had started an exciting new duo with piano/harmonium player Kit Downes. He has an extraordinary ear for harmony, informed by jazz and Ravel and the church organ repertoire he grew up playing. Occasionally I would send him rough solo recordings of the tunes and he would respond by harmonising them. He did complex and wonderful things with them, took them places I hadn’t imagined.
We got together in the studio in Edinburgh in the spring of 2017 and spent several days going through the tunes. We made a demo — the process felt adventurous and intuitive. From there, I booked a series of rural village hall gigs in Scotland in July 2017, and every time we played the tunes they seemed to grow and change and keep surprising us. My aim is to record all 365 tunes (made possible with support from Creative Scotland) and to release selected highlights as two double albums (365: Volume 1 in 2018, then 365: Volume 2 in 2019). In the summer of 2019 I plan to build a touring installation that will present all of the tunes, stories and audio recordings together. 365: Volume 1 was recorded in the early days of 2018 and will ship in April ahead of it’s May 25th UK release.
James Robertson says:
“I am amazed that Aidan O’Rourke went through an entire year composing his daily musical responses to my 365-word stories. I am even more amazed, and deeply impressed, by the beauty and variety of these recordings by Aidan and Kit Downes. It has been a joy working with them in live performance and I look forward to doing so again in 2018.”
“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