Making Tracks at The Queen’s Hall Edinburgh tonight features music from an ongoing project that since 2010 has brought world-class and diverse music from all corners of the globe to a network of leading venues throughout the UK. This however is “Making Tracks” first visit not only to Edinburgh, but to Scotland.
Our programme started with a brief introduction to what “Making Tracks” does and the music that it has been involved in over nearly a decade. The original programming ethos was to present established musical performers from around the globe, but funding cuts have forced “Making Tracks” to rethink everything that they do as an organisation, and the focus is now on developing emerging talents from a global musical background.
For this show, the concert featured solo and collaborative performances from each of the project's eight 2019 Fellows: Kaviraj Singh (santoor, vocals), Louise Bichan (fiddle), Rapasa Otieno (nyatiti), Melisa Yildirim (kamancha), Barbora Xu (guzheng, kantele, vocals), Arsen Petrosyan (duduk), Katariin Raska (torupill, parmupill, saxophone) and Luna Silva (vocals, ukulele, cavaquinho). Much of the music tonight is the product of an intensive creative programme held in Wales recently and when you take into account that music performed tonight often not only came out of that residency, but that these musicians had not played together before that meeting, the results were surprising and often very interesting.
The format of this show, like all “showcase” shows allowed each performance only a limited time, but that was still enough for us to have the briefest of introductions to Indian classical music from Kaviraj Singh and find out more about the santoor that he was playing. The name of the instrument literally means 100 strings, although this one had 91.
Our musical experience in “Making Tracks” gave us sounds from India, Scotland, China, Finland, Armenia, Spain, Turkey, Kenya and wider influences. Along the musical journey I got to do what I like doing best in music, finding new performers, new music, new sounds and new instruments. Selecting one performer from a showcase event like this always seems a little unfair but, for me, the sound of the evening was Barbora Xu with her blending of Finnish and Chinese traditions, and my introduction to the wonderful sounding guzheng.
Everyone at this performance will have their own personal favourite artist, but the one thing that will not change is that when you hear musicians from such a diverse cultural background as the ones on stage tonight, you realise just how similar so much of this music is and how it so instantly brings not only performers but audiences together. Music is the sound archaeology of our cultural route and events like this one show that we are all connected together with far closer bonds than we realise, or sometimes want to even admit.
The only thing that could perhaps have been improved here was a tighter compering and presentation of our musical programme as this was at times a little loose and lacking at times in clarity on the performers and their instruments.
If you want to find out more about “Making Tracks” visit their website at
Making Tracks is once again a reminder to me why The Queen’s Hall is one of my favourite music venues in Edinburgh as it offers the opportunity all year round to listen to world class musicians and performers from a vast range of musical styles and disciplines. No two nights are ever the same at this venue and a look at their online website will give a small sampling of just how diverse their programme is and how vital this venue is to performers and audiences alike. This year is a little special though as the Queen’s Hall is celebrating 40 years of being a music venue.
Review by Tom King