Hidden Door

Esther Swift and The Emergence Ensemble

The whole festival will kick off with a reprise of The Call: an inspiring project conceived at the height of lockdown by Edinburgh-based composer Esther Swift when musicians were feeling the effects of enforced isolation – she summoned 20 of the best, most eclectic Scottish musicians, including bagpipes, trombones, cellos, percussion and even an Alphorn, to assemble on Edinburgh’s shoreline for a moving, socially distanced performance to demonstrate musicians’ solidarity.

She will reprise this testament to the collective spirit to open the festival, conducting musicians scattered across the gasworks site using huge flags.

What is connection? It has to be made, built and lived, and can create a series of indescribable patterns that are more profound, immersive and complex than is explainable or comprehensible. Join this unique line-up of some of Edinburgh’s finest musicians to celebrate in a ritual of connection.

Esther explains more:

“The Call is a show of solidarity after isolation. During lockdown, as I reflected on my life as a musician, I gained a new perspective on the importance of rituals, of creativity through connection, of the context of sound in a community, and of the benefits of social music making.  I have been lucky enough to connect with people around the world through music alone; when I have not spoken their language, or even shared an understanding of reading music, I have still developed a deep and meaningful relationship with them based on listening and responding.  A “Call” is a powerful way to demonstrate a desire to connect with someone or something, and is as communicative when it’s a baby crying, as when it’s an alphorn on the top of a Swiss mountain.

“So…through a commission from Hidden Door Festival I created an outdoor piece which includes improvisation and semaphore.  It is for any number of musicians, of any levels, ages and abilities.  This score is an open letter to the world of music that can be passed around and shared on both large and small scales by all.  The piece concludes with a summary of its conception.”

The Emergence Ensemble are:

Emma Lloyd / Fiona Liddell / Mairi Campbell / Graham Co / Su-a Lee / Atzi Muramatsu / Dave Tunstall / Neil Smith / Calum Roberston / Matthew Wright / Patrick Kenny / Robyn Blair / Jonathan Gawn /Marcus Price / Stewart Wilson / Emma Smith / Kirsty Law / Fiona Liddell / Mairi Campbell  / John Kenny / Chris Lyons / Marcus Britton / plus singers from the Castle Chorus.

Lyrics to The Call

Through the darkest of Storms
Will you still move me
Through the raging wind and battering sea
Will you still call me

Through the bowels of the earth
Would you still find me
From when lava became our home turf
Would you still know me

I’ll be with you through the night
Will you still see me
When the city sleep and all we hear is bleeps
Would you still hear me

I’ll bring you a song
across this city
Holding onto our Auld Reekie
Would you still move me

From where our volcanic home
Is sitting sweetly
From where players play to all and nothing
Would you still call me

Here’s a little look at the original performance – but rest assured the experience will be something else again in the shadow of the epic Granton gasholder…

About the Creative Collaborations

Originally born in lockdown, these projects began online as livestreams within the ‘Hidden Door Live Show’ series. These fantastic works have now been developed into fully realised shows that you have the opportunity to experience live in this year’s festival.

View the other Creative Collaborations taking place during the festival.

Book tickets