This event is being held in association with the WayWORD Festival. WayWORD is a student-led arts festival brought to you by the WORD Centre for Creative Writing, University of Aberdeen.

Heal & Harrow is a new multi-disciplinary work produced by Rachel Newton and Lauren MacColl, paying a humanising tribute to those persecuted during the 16th and 17th-Century Scottish Witch Trials, while also exploring historical beliefs in the supernatural and modern-day parallels in our society. The project is a timely artistic response to the current campaigns for a pardon for, and memorial to those accused in the trials. Seeking to humanise those who were persecuted and tried as witches, each piece within the work is inspired by and in remembrance of real women, as well as characters from the folkloric tales and mythology enshrined in our oral culture. Collaborating with the writer Mairi Kidd to bring these stories to life, each character is represented by a short story, a visual and a musical piece.

Singer and harpist Rachel Newton draws on poems and ballads that are hundreds of years old, working them into her contemporary compositional style to create a rich sound that is ambitious, original and unique. Scots Trad Music Awards Instrumentalist of the Year 2016 and Musician of the Year in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017, with award-winning albums The Shadow Side (2012), Changeling (2014), Here’s My Heart Come Take It (2016) and West (2018). Rachel also works in theatre and storytelling, while her bands and collaborations include The Shee, The Furrow Collective and Lost Worlds, Spell Songs. Co-founder of The Bit Collective, a group focusing on equality and diversity in folk and traditional music, Rachel has organised various campaigns and events, including the Trad. Reclaimed: Women in Folk festival in London 2019. November 2020 marked the release of her fifth solo album To The Awe.

Lauren MacColl is considered one of Scotland’s most expressive fiddle players. Her performances are emotive, engaging and informed by both tradition and technique. From the Black Isle, she studied music in Glasgow before returning home to the Highlands where she draws much of her musical inspiration.

A founder member of both chamber-folk quartet RANT and song-trio Salt House, Lauren also performs with Rachel Newton’s band and in a duo with Calum Stewart.  Seer (2017) was her critically acclaimed suite of music based on the life and prophecies of the Brahan Seer, and To the North…, a book of her own tunes, was released in 2019. Her solo album of traditional airs, Landskein, came out last summer. A fiddle tutor for RCS Junior Conservatoire for over a decade, Lauren continues to teach her own students and community groups, running the Black Isle Fiddle Weekend for adult learners each year.

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