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Scotland Unwrapped banner, featuring Karine Polwart

Scotland Unwrapped: A Grand Celebration of Scottish Culture at Kings Place

Dive into a year-long celebration of Scottish music, culture, and spoken word, from tradition to contemporary artistry.

Kings Place has just unveiled the inaugural events for Scotland Unwrapped, a series set to commence in January 2024. This latest installation in their acclaimed Unwrapped series will shine a spotlight on Scottish music and spoken word culture, capturing its traditional essence while also embracing the contemporary scene.

The Unwrapped series at Kings Place, now in its 16th iteration, has been celebrated for its inventive programming. Its 2019 series, Venus Unwrapped, which celebrated female artists, was awarded the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Award in 2020.

The firepower of Scottish performers will set Kings Place ablaze.

Helen Wallace, Artistic Director, Kings Place

Helen Wallace, Executive and Artistic Director of Kings Place, perfectly encapsulated the spirit of the upcoming series, stating, “Scotland boasts a uniquely vital music culture, where deep roots to tradition and seriousness of ambition go hand-in-hand with high-octane experiment and ecstatic rebellion. Above all, it’s a culture of sharing, and bringing artists and audiences together. The firepower of Scottish performers will set Kings Place ablaze.”

Distinguished Artists and Curators

Karine Polwart, a five-time BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner and recognized as “one of the finest singer-songwriters in Britain” by The Guardian, will be Kings Place’s Artist in Residence for Scotland Unwrapped. She will curate two weekends, starting with ‘Come Away In’, a celebration of hospitality and refuge. Discussing her collaboration with Kings Place, Karine said, “It’s a huge privilege to work with King’s Place over the arc of a year, bringing some of my favourite music and spoken word artists to the Scotland Unwrapped series. As a writer and maker, I often work to a thematic brief or concept, and it’s been a joy to curate two weekends that spin around ideas of hospitality and sanctuary, darkness and light. The pristine acoustics of the performance spaces at Kings Place offer a unique opportunity to think about sound too, especially massed voices, which will play a key role.”

Former Makar, Jackie Kay, will also join as a Guest Curator. She plans to introduce a new generation of Scottish poets and will be launching her book, May Day.

Another prominent figure, composer and fiddler Aidan O’Rourke, will be featured as a Guest Curator. He’s known for his collaborations, especially with folk supergroup, Lau, and his events for Scotland Unwrapped will celebrate this spirit.

A Tapestry of Scottish Talent

In collaboration with Showcase Scotland Expo, Kings Place will spotlight both legendary and emerging Scottish folk artists. Through a selection process, 10 folk musicians and ensembles will be featured, with announcements anticipated soon.

The series is packed with highlights:

  • The Orkney Folk Festival’s 40th anniversary, featuring a plethora of artists
  • Duncan Chisholm’s musical tribute to the Isle of Skye with his album, Black Cuillin
  • Celebrations for the HebCelt Festival featuring Julie Fowlis & Friends
  • Burns Night festivities, complete with supper and Ceilidh dance by Cut a Shine

Classical enthusiasts will also be treated to a journey through Scottish music history. From ancient Celtic laments to modern compositions, the series promises a rich tapestry of performances. Notable events include The Sixteen’s exploration of Robert Carver’s work and Tenor Nicky Spence’s homage to Robert Burns.

The contemporary and jazz segments will host talents such as Scottish pianist Fergus McCreadie and Glasgow’s Admiral Fallow.

With the initial events announced, more are soon to follow. Scotland Unwrapped beckons audiences to partake in this cultural feast. Tickets are now available on the Kings Place website.