Spirit of the Highlands Commission - The Rose Window
The Rose Window is a commission for Spirit of the Highlands drawing together original music and spoken text referencing oral history and printed ephemera from archive and personal collections. This piece charts the urban story of Academy Street’s iconic rose window in Inverness and the restaurant which was its home, through the words of the people who remember it, adverts and menu snippets from the restaurant itself.
For many years, the rose window was a commanding feature of the Stewart Restaurant, founded by Christina's grandfather and latterly owned by Christina's father and his two sisters. Numerous family members, former staff and customers contributed their reminscences and these were collated by Christina along with quotations from printed primary sources, including press notices from the restaurant's opening. This is a collaborative piece, combining spoken text with a new composition on clàrsach by Grace Stewart-Skinner.
The window itself is being incorporated into the design of developments at Inverness Castle and this commission will feature in the Spirit360 celebration of Highland stories.
Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2022 Commission
Just as the hearth-side cèilidh was home to the varied strands of oral tradition, our commission for the Scottish Storytelling Festival 2022 addresses the theme of "Interpreting Scotland" encompassing traditional tales, ancient and not-so-ancient songs, contemporary poetry and original music. The result is an evocative, colourful and joyous examination of how we as Scots connect to and respond to our homeland.
The intergenerational ensemble comprises four artists performing in Gaelic, Scots and English languages and integrating sensitive translations in a fully inclusive way.
Rehearsals are currently underway and further details will be made available when the festival launches its programme later this year.
Cionar is an intergenerational duo with voice from Christina and instrumental music on clàrsach from her daughter Grace Stewart-Skinner. With a shared appreciation of Gaelic song and musical tradition, Christina and Grace perform evocative and original arrangements of Gaelic songs and melodies drawn from oral tradition and archives. Their close bond shines through their performances.
Echoes through Time
Taking inspiration from the extraordinary carved representation of the Biblical King David playing a Pictish harp on the Nigg Stone, Christina worked in partnership with harp expert Bill Taylor. Their research explored traditional and historic music and song from a variety of sources, including research visits to archives, where they discovered lesser-known historical pieces. They have devised a programme of song and music on a range of harps and psaltry, spanning centuries of Scottish history. Echoes through Time premiered in Old Nigg Church, where the intricate and impressive Nigg Stone is displayed.
A Woman Walks into a Bar
A woman walks into the bar of an inn in a small West Highland fishing community. It’s a cèilidh house, and she is a wandering singer. For every story she has a song, and for every song there’s a story.
Commissioned for the 2021 Scottish International Storytelling Festival's Go Local programme, this show is a collaboration between Christina, storyteller Bob Pegg and instrumentalist Bill Taylor. It takes the form of a single narrative strand, linking the lives of the different characters through song, story and music. The show also featured in 2022's Summer@Storehouse.