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‘There was once a man, so old that most of his family and all his friends had left this world before him…’
In 2013, the Scottish author and poet James Robertson wrote a story every day for a year, each one 365 words long. These stories – drawing on everything from ancient myth and Scottish folklore to personal dreams and memories – were published a year later in the anthology 365 Stories. Inspired by this endeavour, the Scottish musician Aidan O’Rourke wrote 365 melodies, each of them corresponding to a different work from Robertson’s collection. In this video, Robertson, O’Rourke and the English jazz pianist Kit Downes combine their crafts in an intimate and unique performance. As Robertson reads from his short story ‘Imagination’ about an elderly man lost in memories of war, O’Rourke and Downes accompany him with a wistful score of string and harmonium inspired by the work. Through this cross-form collaboration emerges a stirring reflection on ageing, memory and trauma that illustrates the many ways art can evoke emotion.
Kit Downes will be appearing at the UK launch of the Sophia Club – the new international series of cultural events from Aeon Media – on Tuesday 26 April in London. To book tickets for this event, click here.
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