Eden Court's Fundraising Manager Aelish O'Rourke caught up with one of the exciting emerging artists playing this year's Under Canvas, alongside Tailormade Moves, sponsors of the Emerging Artists programme.
Morna Eadie and Karine MacRae of Tailormade Moves with Grace Stewart-Skinner
“I like to see my audience in tears – that’s my goal!”
Ahead of her performance at Under Canvas today, I caught up with the young, hugely talented clàrsach player Grace Stewart-Skinner, together with Morna Eadie and Karine MacRae of Tailormade Moves, sponsors of the Emerging Artists programme.
Grace has her heart set on making an impact, she told us “I want to make them feel something with how I play. I always say if I don’t make people cry I’ve not done a very good performance.”
Grace, who has cerebral palsy added: “I try to make an impression. I want people to close their eyes, and hear me play and not think about why is my hand going a certain way. Because obviously if you see me play, you do see it. But for people to just shut their eyes and hear it. That’s what I want.”
And Grace does have form on bringing her audience to tears. At her first performance aged 13, she found herself playing a piece written by trad legend, the pianist and composer Andy Thorburn, only to discover that he was in the audience.
Grace said, ”I was really nervous because it was the first time I played for anybody, but he said I made him cry, so either it was really good or really terrible!”
Growing up in a musical family, Grace attended every Fèis Rois residential course she could, trying instruments and developing her skills, finally settling on the harp.
Grace said: “I decided I wanted my own [harp], but my mum and dad were like, well you can get one but we’re not going to get it for you. So I went to the Storehouse at Foulis and busked to get the £3,000 I needed. I was strict with myself. I wouldn’t spend anything I got. As soon as I went home, it went straight into the bank for my harp.”
Grace’s commitment and determination won her a Hands Up for Trad Inspiration Award. Back in 2019 she performed with us at Under Canvas and this year she’s one of the talented young musicians who are part of our Emerging Artists programme.
Supporting our Under Canvas live programme and helping us give a stage to young talent is our Emerging Artists sponsor, Inverness-based estate agent, Tailormade Moves.
Director Morna Eadie told us:
“I missed live performance over the last year, so we are very happy to be part of bringing music back - we are always keen to support young people and our own local community. After a very challenging year for the arts in particular, I feel so happy for musicians to be able to play again, let alone us being able to see them.”
Musicians have been among those hit hardest by the last year, with young performers early in their careers especially affected. Before the pandemic, Grace, studying in Edinburgh, was often out more nights than in.
Grace said, “I really got into the session scene. I was going to sessions in pubs four times a week sometimes, plus ceilidhs. It was my main way to get tips. So that all stopped. It was really strange.”
Now, after a year of practising in gardens and online gigs from the living room, Grace is excited (and a bit terrified!) to be back live and in-person and this time with a solo spot.
Grace said “It is quite a big thing for me to come and do this. It’s my solo debut almost. It’s very exciting… I’m a bit worried that my stage craic is gone! I’ve not had to do it in a year.”
Grace is one of around 200 incredible musicians who we’ll welcome to our Under Canvas stage this summer. Alongside esteemed musicians such as Duncan Chisholm and Mary Anne Kennedy, will be brilliant performances by Emerging Artists Gillie O’Flaherty and James Bauld, Isla Ratcliffe and Ellen Gira, Gordon James and the Power, David Nicholson Trio, Calaand Isla Callister with Rory Matheson.
Morna Eadie of Tailormade Moves said “I’ve already enjoyed some magical nights in the tent. It is an amazing programme of just the best of Scottish trad and more. As well as seeing Grace, I’m looking forward to Gordon James and the Power. I’m enjoying discovering artists I don’t know and particularly the young up-and-coming musicians - it’s a great chance to see them here first. It’s fantastic.”
We hope you’ll join us soon. Explore the Under Canvas programme.
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