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'Engaged scholarship at its best'

oratorio2On St Andrew's Day 2018, the CoHERE oratorio had its well-attended world premiere at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. Described by an audience member as "engaged scholarship at its best", Rivers of Our Being was composed by the Latvian ethnomusicologist Valdis Muktupāvels (Latvian Academy of Culture), and performed by an ensemble of some twenty musicians and singers (including the IRC's Naomi Harvey), conducted by ethnomusicologist Simon McKerrell (Newcastle University). The IRC's Cristina Clopot efficiently and effectively organised and managed the event, and  Máiréad Nic Craith and Ullrich Kockel recited thematic readings between the musical pieces

oratorio 1



The work was enthusiastically received by the audience. Regina Bendix (University of Göttingen, Germany), describing the oratorio as "a creative, politically important endeavor", expressed the wish that it "will receive many further performances, and other like-minded endeavors might gain awareness of it. Engaged scholarship at its best". Katriina Siivonen (University of Turku, Finland) described the presentation of research results in "an expressive way" as "very impressive". Ann Packard (RSA Fellows Media, Creative Industries, Culture & Heritage Network) called the performance "a fantastic treat" and a "gift of music and story to the world".

Rivers of Our Being is one of the deliverables of CoHERE (Critical Heritages: performing and representing identities in Europe), a project funded by a Horizon 2020 grant, in which members of the IRC are involved.
The performance concluded a month-long heritage festival, staged by the IRC in collaboration with partners including Learning for Sustainability Scotland and the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics. The festival was part of Scotland's contribution to the European Year of Cultural Heritage.

There are already preparations for a performance of the oratorio in Latvia, and plans are afoot for its return to Scotland - possibly in the form of a national tour.