East Neuk Festival:  world music, jazz and more in quirky venues for 2024 festival

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Anstruther will be a hot-bed of world music, jazz, and trad tunes during the East Neuk Festival this summer - with some of the town’s quirkiest, and most intimate venues staging concerts by local and international musicians.

The 2024 programme, which runs from June 26-30, welcomes the return of festival favourites Julian Bliss with his Julian Bliss Septet celebrating the genius of Gershwin, and French bassist and composer Renaud Garcia Fons. They will be joined by newcomer Esther Swift who is a contemporary harpist and singer, and Irish fiddle player Aoife ni Bhrian who will perform with East Neuk regular, harpist Catrin Finch.

The festival kicks off on Friday, June 28 with the premiere of Zulu - a 2024 commission performed in the dramatic setting of the Zulu Gallery at the Scottish Fisheries Museum. Harpist and composer Esther Swift will work with multi-instrumentalist and music tutor Callum Macleod and 15 young local musicians to create this new piece which will tell the story of the Zulu fishing fleets which were once ubiquitous to the East of Scotland.

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Other key events include Aoife ni Bhrian and Catrin Finch - a dazzling duo famed for their virtuosity and musical freedom, spanning traditional and classical heritage, and new musical vistas; and fans of legendary bassist Renaud Garcia Fons will be able to hear him unplugged on Friday until late, and again with his latest work Luna de Seda (Silk Moon) on Saturday afternoon. Performing with a quartet of musicians from around the Mediterranean (Spain, Turkey, and France) audiences can expect to hear bass, flamenco guitar, qanun and kemenche which offer a beautifully rich tapestry of reflective, dance-like, jazzy, soulful and funky songs.

Taking part in the festival are Julian Bliss and Catrin Finch (Pics: Submitted)Taking part in the festival are Julian Bliss and Catrin Finch (Pics: Submitted)
Taking part in the festival are Julian Bliss and Catrin Finch (Pics: Submitted)

Anster’s weekend of music comes to a close on the Saturday with a night of free-flowing, high-spirited swing from Julian Bliss and his Septet celebrating Gershwin’s hits.

Svend McEwan Brown, festival director, said: “It has always been my ambition to complement the classical music programme in Crail and Kilrenny with a vibrant selection of music in the multitude of intimate halls and quirky venues offered in Anstruther. The town lends itself to the energy of world, trad and jazz and the musicians always have an incredible time playing to a real mix of new and returning audiences at the festival.”

Over the past 20 years, the East Neuk Festival has presented over 400 events and welcomed over 3,000 performers and 200,000 people to a host of venues.

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