Spotlight gig: KERP

Siôn Parkinson (voice, megaphone, airhorn, ratchet) with BabaYaga: Karen Dufour (soprano saxophone) and Gwen Màiri (clarsach) and Allon Beauvoisin
  • Performance
  • Free event

Composed by artist Siôn Parkinson when he was Musician in Residence at Cove Park in summer 2022, 'Kerp' is a celebration of harvest-time, of food, drink and drunkenness. Through voice, saxophone, Celtic harp and costume, the piece invokes the raucous spirit and eccentric folk characters of traditional harvest festival songs from Scotland to America.

The piece plays on the simple gesture of plucking to gather in the crops. Kerp means ‘to pluck, or cut’ and is the root of the Old English word hærvest. The music starts with a single chord, a ‘seed’, which slowly swells; and it ends with a hard, techno-like beat reminiscent of rural raves, noisily punctuated by voice through megaphone and the mechanical clacking of twenty ratchets. This is not your typical harvest hymn; this is a work song, music to hearten collective labour at a time when, as Parkinson sings, 'some of us still stoop down to pick up'.    

First commissioned by Cove Park as part of Dandelion's Scotland-wide ‘Unexpected Gardens’ project. 

Part of our soundcreators programme.

Image: Donald Milne, 2020