East Neuk (Scotland)




Splorroch, glisk, smirr, pirr, spitters, flindrikin, drookit and thunderplump are just a few samples
from the Scottish lexicon for weather which, in all its tumultuous magnitude and powerful diversity,
is the inspiration for a sequence of films and original music for this year’s annual Big Project at the
East Neuk Festival.

Neil Brand, renowned composer, author and dramatist with a particular passion for, and huge
knowledge of film music, will motivate and curate the musical invention of this project in
partnership with young film-maker David Behrens whose lyrical films added a significant new
dimension to the semi-lockdown Festival last year. Richard Michael directs Fife Youth Jazz and stars
of brass John Wallace and Tony George and members of their celebrated ensemble, the Wallace
Collection will corral the 100-strong forces of players, young and old, from across Fife – including
Tullis Russell Works Band – to create and perform an entirely original score.

David Behrens has been travelling far and wide in Scotland at all times of the day and night and in all
extremes of weather to capture on film atmospheric imagery of weather, evocative of sensations,
memories and stories. To this footage he is introducing vintage film from the Scottish Screen
Archives of familiar local land, sea and townscapes to produce a sequence of several short films to
inspire the community groups of young musicians who will create corresponding soundtracks.
Neil Brand will hold a ‘Composing for Film’ masterclass with the group leaders in May and will keep
his finger on the pulse of musical progress, while composing his own grand finale for the whole
ensemble – the ‘thunderplump’ of the title. The forces will unite the weekend before the Festival to
hone the harmony and synchronise the moving images for the Festival’s opening night on 29 June at
the Bowhouse in Anstruther. “I’ve never composed for brass before” Brand confessed “so it is an
exciting challenge I am very much looking forward to.”

Brand will also be in his most familiar seat – at the piano keyboard – performing his original
accompaniment to three silent movies by the supreme master of slapstick, Buster Keaton, ‘the
Michelangelo of silent film’ according to Brand. The Boat is the warm-up act for Thunderplump,
while The Cook and One Week make up a double bill the following day when Brand also talks to
audiences about the classic films he loves and how to make music that measures up to giants of
comedy like Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd.

Moving on a few years to the golden age of Hollywood musicals, the irrepressible Julian Bliss Septet
brings jazz and swingtime to Anstruther town hall in Hooray for Hollywood on Friday evening.