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  • Writer's pictureLiza Mulholland

Reflowering of live music lifts spirits.

As I sit writing this in our sunny back garden, spotting the wild garlic, chives and rhubarb all pushing through and honeysuckle and clematis both well under way, it occurs to me that sometimes things just seem to align perfectly to lift our spirits when things have been tough,

After the heart-breaking tragedy of Sarah Everard’s death, the shocking actions of Metropolitan Police officers, and the subsequent sharing by women of the extent of male sexual predation and harassment, intimidation, and violence, it is easy to feel despondent. Thank goodness then for cheering news.

As well as nature’s healing balm, the welcome announcement this week having us musicians and music lovers champing at the bit, is of course that Under Canvas, the series of outdoor live music performances on the front lawn of Eden Court Theatre, will be back in the summer. This fabulous festival, delivered in partnership with Fèis Rois, has been a huge success since its inception in 2018. The combination of relaxed down-home atmosphere, great live music accompanied by good food and refreshments, in the cosy shelter of a lovely big stretch tent, is a winning one.

Cancelled of course in 2020, it is fantastic to know we can look forward to it again between July and September, and I urge you to visit if you can for a lovely evening of entertainment and to support the hard work that goes into programming, funding, and putting on Under Canvas. For most performers and sound engineers, the gigs will be the first in a whole year but for all involved, behind the scenes and out front, it will just feel fantastic to be back among the good vibes of live music.With covid restrictions easing soon and clocks going forward this weekend, there are many reasons to feel heartened. Definite signs of Spring are all around us now in lighter evenings, lusty bird song and nodding daffodils everywhere.

Talking of flowers, some news of a fun new venture by Ablekids Press of Inverness. This publisher of multilingual children’s books has launched their Storyflower Project, inviting children, or indeed anyone, to grow flowers – for someone else. The idea is to grow flowers of your choice, follow their progress in a downloadable colouring-in diary, noting why you’ve chosen that flower, its significance, who you are growing for and your feelings as they grow.

You can give the blooms to that special someone, keep as a reminder of them, or, as Ablekids Director Pauline Mackay did last year when she grew a giant sunflower - inspiring this project - gift to a local children’s centre or nursery.

A terrific project and resource for schools and young people, both in terms of growing, creativity and exploring emotions. Pauline has commissioned me to compose music to accompany the project and I can’t wait for the re-opening of local garden centres to buy my seeds and find musical inspiration in growing lovely flowers!

First published Highland News & Media 26th March 2021

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