Inge Thomson

Inge was raised in a musical family on Fair Isle (between the Orkneys and the Shetlands), where stories of selkies, trows, Guid Fix and other fairy folk are still widely told today. Her main instrument is the piano keyed accordion, but she also works with a range of unusual instruments and composes music rich with the textures of natural, created, and manipulated sounds.

Inge has toured with The Karine Polwart Trio, Drop the Box, Harem Scarem and other groups, and collaborated on the innovative musical projects Crow Bones, Da Fishing Hands, and Northern Flyaway. Her solo album, Shipwrecks and Static, is "an eccentric marriage between melodic instruments and the bleeps and squeaks of electronic tomfoolery."

"Our workshop sessions have been full of intriguing discussion, music-making, sound creation, sketching and sharing of stories," she says. "As for my personal relationship with things hidden and extraordinary: When you spend much of your time out in the wild, guddling about in the rock pools, turning over stones to see what is crawling in the flattened mud maze, wowed by the fantastic beasts that occur in the natural world, it’s not a ridiculous stretch of the imagination to count characters from the 'hidden flock' as part of our nature. Nature in the broadest sense – maybe even a hark to our own personalities, characteristics and idiosyncrasies. I like the notion of keeping an open portal between the natural and the ultra-natural world, the things that can’t quite be explained by science."

Over the course of this project, Inge has tinkered with the magical qualities of sound itself: creating fairy music out of codes and spells; bending pitch and sound to represent the bending of time in the Underworld; and weaving music and spoken word into a tapestry of story.

She also collaborated on a series of works inspired by legends of the Seal People, bringing her love for the selkie tales of Fair Isle to the process, and her deep understanding of folklore as a living, unbroken tradition.

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