Late night soundsession: Sand, Silt, Flint (album preview)

Fiona Soe Paing (composer, vocals, electronics)
  • Performance
Composer: Fiona Soe Paing Artist: Fiona Soe Paing

Avant-folk producer and vocalist Fiona Soe Paing’s second solo album “Sand, Silt, Flint” is a re-imagining of haunting folk tales and traditional ballads from North East Scotland. Combining experimental electronic production with traditional instruments, Fiona takes the “folktronica” sound into deeper, darker territory.

Rooted in place and heritage, Sand, Silt, Flint is an album inspired by the folklore, landscape and rich balladry tradition of North East Scotland.  With each song linked to a specific North East location, the album creates  a virtual ‘Ballad Map”, re-imagining and re-interpreting the ancient stories and songs, re-telling old tales for new times. 

Discovering that she was related to one of the original ballad singers, John Strachan, who was recorded by the folk archivist Alan Lomax, Fiona was inspired to make a new  recording of one  of Strachan’s songs. A residency as Associate Artist with Aberdeen Performing Arts enabled the project to be developed further, exploring  more of the songs and stories from Aberdeenshire. This development continued during the lockdowns of 2020-21, where daily walks took Fiona to some of the places she had visited as a child, triggering memories of the haunting stories and tragic tales that eventually became the album “Sand, Silt, Flint”. As well as electronica re-workings of some of the more well known Aberdeenshire ballads such as “Tifty’s Annie” and “Bonny Udny” the album includes new songs inspired by existing stories. With support from Help Musicians UK, Fiona collaborated with performance company Dudendance to create a short film to accompany the track inspired by the legend of the Sands of Forvie.  

Combining Fiona’s experimental electronic production and voice with traditional instruments, the album recording includes contributions from Paul Anderson (fiddle), Alice Allen (cello), Joanna Nicholson (clarinet), Irene Watt (clarsach), David McKay (drums) and Thee Manual Labour (guitar). The album "Sand, Silt, Flint" is also presented as a series of sound-walks via the "Echoes" mobile app; using smart- phones and headphones, the audio is triggered by GPS, enabling audiences to experience the music in the environments which provided it's inspiration.