Far Far From Ypres
was originally conceived as a celebration of World War One songs and poems, mainly Scottish, for a double album on Greentrax Recordings. It evolved into a stage production at the 2012 and 2014 Celtic Connections Festivals where it was described by the Festival Director, Donald Shaw, as "brilliant".
It will feature again at The Queen's Hall in Edinburgh on Sunday 17th August 2014.
The show features the large screen projection of relevant images throughout the evening enhancing greatly the audience's understanding of the story unfolding before them. The format of the evening takes the form of two fifty minute halves with an interval. It has a cast of 26 folk singing stars, who remain on stage throughout the performance, singing the "trench", "marching" and Music Hall songs of the time. From that chorus, groups and soloists come to the middle of the stage and perform songs, both contemporary and traditional, about the Great War.
The narrator, Iain Anderson, brilliantly links the songs with stories about the hero of the show, Jimmy MacDonald, who was born in "any village in Scotland". It tells of Jimmy's recruitment and training then follows his journey to the Somme and back to Scotland. It would not be a Scottish tragedy without laughter, so there are also stories of humour and joy that take this production well away from the path of unremitting gloom.
Written and directed by Ian McCalman, this production features 26 folk stars, which has included Dick Gaughan, Iain Anderson, Barbara Dickson, Sangsters, Ian Bruce, Siobhan Miller, Ian McCalman, Stevie Palmer, Stephen Quigg, Ragged Glory, Sineag MacIntyre, Soopna, Donald Hay, Drew Talbot, Dennis Wilson, Brian Miller, Tom Ward and a host of others.