Fiesta de los Muertos

The Space @Surgeon’s Hall –





There was a Mexican family who came last night. The teenage boy had lost his father last year, and he came to me in tears at the end of the show, telling me how much he had loved it. It was a really touching moment. 

Sarah Nichols


Earlier this year I took my seven-year old niece to see the Animated film, Book of Life, on which occasion I first encountered the Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead, where the living world & spirit world combine in a raucous celebration of food & tequila. A few months later I was witnessing the same folk-motif in the Surgeon’s Hall, but this time played out through music & storytelling by the Modern Troubadours, a dynamic young company dedicated to ‘connecting people through music & stories.’



They have brought to Edinburgh a collection of tales from Mexico, North America & even one from Russia, to explore the meaning of Life & Death. Of the Russian tale, the group’s chief bard, the elegant & ever-smiling, ever-interesting Sarah Nichols, told the Mumble, ‘The Russian tale is famous traditional folktale, very important to storytellers. There are a lot of variations to this story and it can be found in many other cultures. The message is an important one, showing that death is just as important as life itself, and it cannot be cheated. We also made it a bit humorous so that it would lighten the mood and get the audience engaged. As a storyteller, it’s a fun one to tell and I can play with it a lot and get the audience to interact.



Sarah, an excellent harp-plucker herself, is accompanied by two creative & talented musicians (Gaelle Dohen & Aldo Aranda), who play a wild variety of strange instruments which produce a synesthenic affect upon the listener, painting pictures in the mind to colour in the hypnotic word-smithery of ms Nichols. The overall effect which the Modern Troubadours invokes is one of a universal nature – a child of 3 & an old man of 93 will both react equally to such a wonderful combination of sights & sounds, a spell-binding performance drawn from the Mictlan realms themselves. Of the tales, the story of the Weeping Widow – La Llorona –  was the best, a genuinely chilling story which had me completely enchanted.  FOUR STARS



Reviewer : Damo Bullen

Posted on August 13, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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