Wordfringe 2009Programme StrandsEvent Calendar




1st–31st May 2009


Makar Making
First Friday Fling with Janis MacKay
Pushing Out the Boat
Night at the Light
From Pennan to Penang
Trio Verso
Demented Eloquence Tag-Team Word Wrestling
Prometheus: A River Stained with Iron
Cream of Strathbogie
Expect the Best: Elspeth Murray
Speak Volumes
Coming Home
Double Launch
The Night Mare V Fear of Intimacy
In Search of Salt (Ellon)
In Search of Salt (Aberdeen)
John Hegley
Drawing out the Creativity
Fredrik Sixten: Requiem
The Word Birds
Voyager Poets
Not Drowning but Waving
Fresh Ayr
Young People's Poetry Competition Prizegiving
Closing Verses

Coming Home

An evening of piano music and poetry with Susanne Olbrich and Margot Henderson

Saturday 9 May 2009

Woodend Barn, Banchory [Map]

Part of the Woodend Barn Weekend
Part of New Words / New Sounds

If the various locations of the Wordfringe 2009 Festival are by definition peripheral, there was empathatically nothing peripheral about the quality of performance at last Saturday's Coming Home event in the Woodend Barn.

The Wordfringe leaflet describes the event as "an evening of piano music and poetry with Susanne Olbrich and Margot Henderson", but although the artists were two in number their artistic voices were many and wide-ranging. Margot has a beautiful singing as well as speaking voice, and her lyrics and poetry are an alluring mix of humour and profundity. Her recitations were either solo or accompanied by Susanne. Susanne's skill as a pianist and composer is such that in performing her haunting music, as well as displaying her versatility as a pianist per se, she is equally versatile as a harpist-painist, plucking the strings of the piano with heart-stopping beauty.

True to the theme of the event Margot's songs and poetry convey the complex and multi-layered nature of the experience of homecoming, and she does so with humour and poignancy. The audience were invited to think of a phrase which represented to each their understanding of homecoming, and both poet and musician gave voice in word and music to the essential and yet elusive nature of how and where one feels at home. Both artists have first-hand experience of the acute sense of exile often experienced by those who have lived and worked both at home and abroad, most especially if that experience of exile feels forced rather than voluntary.

But of course Scots abroad have worked and continue to work for the common weal, and when Margot read a beautiful poem by the Indian mystic Tagore, I was reminded of a compilation edited by the Bengali poet Bashabi Fraser of the renowned collection of letters exchanged between Tagore and Scotland's Patrick Geddes.

If this event at Woodend is an example of the quality of Wordfringe 2009 performances, I recommend that you keep to the peripheries!

Joyce Gunn Cairns

Joyce Gunn Cairns is an artist currently exhibiting drawings of poets in Brussels, and also on exhibit in Woodend Barn along with four other artists including Sera Irvine whose Left Bank Gallery in Tarland will host the closing event for Wordfringe 2009. Currently on show at the Left Bank are prints for An Leabhor Mor as part of Aberdeen University Word Festival.

Promoted by

Woodend Barn, Banchory

Supported by

Scottish Book Trust
Kincardine and Deeside Arts Forum
Aberdeenshire Council



Wordfringe 2009Programme StrandsEvent Calendar


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