Ruth Wall – Renaissance bray harp, Gaelic wire harp (clàrsach), Scottish lever harp.
Graham Fitkin – keyboard, electronics.
FitkinWall follow threads of migration, loss and longing in their new show, inspired by the stories of the Highland Clearances. Ruth Wall’s explorations of Gaelic song, fiddle and pipe tunes and history of the Scottish Highlands where she grew up, are at the heart of this show. Composer Graham Fitkin has created enigmatic and mesmerising new versions of these tunes for Ruth’s three harps - the sitar-like Renaissance bray harp, the beautiful medieval Gaelic wire harp (clàrsach) and the Scottish lever harp.
The movement of people during the Highland Clearances is brought into modern-day focus: Ruth spoke with recent migrants to Scotland and their voices are incorporated at times in the performance. FitkinWall have created something beautiful and at times disturbing. Dark, fragmented folk moods transform into soaring fast-paced music in this memorable show.
The concert is lit by a specially-commissioned light installation by the artist Peter Freeman.
“…folk lilt often haunting, lamenting… but any notion of stasis dispelled as the duo’s treatment began to develop and migrate, melodies acquiring aura, the electronics sometimes conjuring wind and air, raw and elemental.” The Guardian ★ ★ ★ ★ (November 2023)
"The harp is luminous, pastoral and urban at the same time under Wall’s fingers, she pushes the instrument to its limits and Fitkin’s music allows for a certain steeliness and discordance. The sound is immaculate.” London Jazz News “...a series of musical equations that work their way through the ears into the mind, their rhythmic and melodic themes interweaving, rising and falling. It feels by turn widescreen and microscopic. It’s subtle, uncluttered, minimal and extremely focusing… a thoroughly absorbing world of tension, suspension and release.” Songlines
Ruth Wall was brought up in Sutherland, in the far north of Scotland, immersed in the songs and tunes of the Highlands. She has performed on stages around the world – the Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House, Berlin Philharmonic, Gucci 75th celebrations in Rome and Florence, Radio City New York, and the London Olympic Celebrations. Ruth has featured as a soloist with the London Chamber Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra and toured extensively with Goldfrapp, The Will Gregory Moog Ensemble, Kathryn Tickell, Ockham's Razor and her partner, composer Graham Fitkin.
Composer Graham Fitkin has worked with Yo-Yo Ma, Kathryn Stott, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, New York City Ballet. He has won three BASCA composer awards and the Royal Philharmonic Society Composer Award 2015.