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Seonaid Aitken Ensemble

Seonaid Aitken Ensemble

“Seonaid Aitken’s bright vocals and breezy virtuosity are simply a pleasure to behold”

HERALD SCOTLAND

"Truly exceptional as both a vocalist and Grappelli-style violinist"

fROOTS MAGAZINE

Jazz

Instrumentation

  • Seonaid Aitken - Violin & Vocals
  • Katrina Lee - Violin
  • Patsy Reid - Viola
  • Alice Allen - Cello
  • Emma Smith - Double Bass
  • Helena Kay - Tenor Saxophone & Flute

Repertoire

1st half - Chasing Sakura (2021)

1 Awakening

2 Chasing Sakura

3 Beauty & Wonder

4 Hanami

5 Spring Song

6 The Walk

7 Sakura Snowstorm

8 Impermanence

9 Rebirth

10 Hanami (Reprise)

INTERVAL

2nd half - What Is This Thing Called Love?

1 What Is This Thing Called Love?

2 Misty

3 Embraceable You

4 Ill Wind

5 Skylark

6 Papillon

7 I'll Never Be The Same

8 The Man I Love

9 Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye

10 I Can't Give You Anything But Love

Biography

Seonaid Aitken is a violinist, vocalist, composer/orchestrator and broadcaster from Fife, Scotland. As one of the rare few female improvising violinists in the UK influenced by the great Stephane Grappelli, she performs with her award-winning Gypsy Jazz band Rose Room as well as a guest with the Tim Kliphuis Sextet, Martin Taylor MBE and Swing 2021. She was awarded ‘Best Vocalist’ twice at the Scottish Jazz Awards following her highly acclaimed Ella Fitzgerald big band show ‘A Night With Ella’, took part in the 2019/2020 UK touring production of Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ on violin/viola and has played with the Orchestra of Scottish Opera for 20 years. Seonaid has been commissioned by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival and presents ‘Jazz Nights’ on BBC Radio Scotland.

Chasing Sakura

In Japan, the cherry blossom (sakura) is widely celebrated. It is symbolic of rebirth - springtime, hope, optimism - but is also a reminder of the impermanence of life. Its beauty is wonderful yet fleeting. Having lived in Tokyo and experienced Hanami - the flower ‘viewing’ or celebration of sakura - Seonaid has drawn a parallel with this season to her life now in Scotland. After a serious accident, Seonaid found herself unable to walk and was forced to slow down and focus on her well-being. During a lengthy and isolated recovery due to ‘lockdown’ she was able to explore her local surroundings and discover the transformative and healing powers of nature. As both mind and body gradually healed, she found a new perspective. Through jazz, classical and folk idioms, Seonaid’s musical suite ‘Chasing Sakura’ - originally commissioned by Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival in 2021 - was written for a hand-picked ensemble of string quintet and saxophone/flute and follows the lifespan of the cherry blossom exploring many of these themes with the realisation that her injuries, and the pandemic, are also fleeting.

What Is This Thing Called Love?

Seonaid pays homage to her favourite jazz vocalist - the iconic Ella Fitzgerald - by exploring the Great American Songbook with selections from her 2019 album ‘What Is This Thing Called Love?’. The Jazz world meets the Classical world as Seonaid’s cinematic string arrangements (inspired by the likes of Nelson Riddle, Billy May and Vince Mendoza) bring these jazz ‘standards’ to life with flavours of the 1930s Golden Era, MGM musicals, Broadway pizzazz, Argentine Tango and a novel piece in pizzicato!

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