A MUSICIAN hailing from Shetland spent last week bringing a flavour of the islands to the Prague Fringe festival.
Harpist Sophie Rocks, who is now based in Glasgow, was originally invited out to the Czech Republic capital for two recitals of her concert Notes from Shetland to Shanghai last year before the pandemic got in the way.
She was re-invited this year for the fringe’s twentieth anniversary by festival founder and organiser Steve Gove, a fellow Scot, who was impressed by the originality and creativity in Sophie’s work.
She told Shetland News it was an honour to be invited to perform internationally and she felt it had been “really positively received” by audiences.
The show combines Sophie’s harp playing with spoken word, opening by pairing fiddler Tom Anderson’s Da Slokkit Light with Christine de Luca’s poem Moments of Separation, as part of a concert exploring various themes related to human migration.
“That piece really looks at those left behind when people move,” she said. “Then we start looking at the fears of those that are not the most welcoming [to migrants] and the fear of those faced with moving to a country, and explore the more welcoming nature of some countries – the connections, the freedom and the positives as well.”
The concert, which Sophie is touring across the UK, was put together and developed in Canada shortly before Covid-19 struck.
In February 2020 she received the Banff Artist’s Award, allowing her to take up a residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.
“I was lucky I managed to get to Banff just before lockdown,” Sophie said, adding she wanted to thank local sponsors through her mother Veronica Rocks’ Sharing Shetland venture for “helping me get the show off the ground”.
Like most full-time musicians her career was badly hampered by the pandemic, not least as she is reliant on weddings for much of her work, but “since July it’s been non-stop” with live events opening up again.
Sophie is currently resident at Partickhill Bowling Club in Glasgow, where she has an upcoming harp-and-guitar performance as part of her Music at the Green concert series.
Meanwhile the clarsach group she performs in, The Willow Trio, will also be heading out on tour in early 2022.
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