co-created by Andrea Baker and Howard Moody
Tales of Transatlantic Freedom is a music theatre show developed and produced by Yard Heads during 2021, 2022 and 2023. It was first performed at the magical Pianodrome venue at their Old Royal High School site ‘resonancy’ in August 2022.
image credit: Calum Colvin
In 2020 director John Paul McGroarty approached Andrea Baker having heard her performing as part of the Lyceum Edinburgh’s US Election Night Cabaret. Their initial exploration and research was sparked by the transatlantic work of the late Serge Hovey, an American composer of Jewish and Russian heritage who came to Scotland and painstakingly documented and arranged all the songs of Robert Burns. Andrea’s own journey across the Atlantic to Scotland and her exploration of African diasporic narratives, her research into the relationship of Frederick Douglass with Scotland and Burns and her Sing Sistah Sing! series, celebrating the African American female voice, were woven into the development of the new work.
Supported by the Year of Stories fund, a partnership between VisitScotland and Museums and Galleries Scotland, the project developed in 2022 and acclaimed international composer Howard Moody joined the team. With the kind cooperation and support of legendary Edinburgh community-interest music and performance venue the Pianodrome, the artists had time to focus. Together Andrea, Howard and John Paul identified music and song to create a new show that would reflect historical stories and transcend borders and oceans.
Tales of Transatlantic Freedom explores songs, music and artists connected with transatlantic journeys and stories. Weaving musical styles from Gaelic psalm singing, field song, holler, folk, blues, opera and Robert Burns into one piece Andrea and Howard demonstrate our interconnection and inseparability.
Tales of Transatlantic Freedom is a compelling and moving reminder of our collective histories and a call to celebrate our common humanity. We celebrate our human potential to overcome the forces that would drive us apart and create peace and beauty together.
In 2023 the show was supported by the National Center for Race Amity, Boston, MA to take Tales of Transatlantic Freedom to audiences in the United States.
We are delighted that Tales of Transatlantic Freedom was selected for the Made In Scotland showcase at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023. Made in Scotland is a curated showcase of high quality performance from Scotland at the world’s biggest arts festival, made possible by support from the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund. It is a partnership between Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Federation of Scottish Theatre, Scottish Music Centre and Creative Scotland. Find out more about the showcase at www.madeinscotlandshowcase.com.
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