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Music charity reveals Paisley Thread Mills inspired composition by Savourna Stevenson

Live Music Now Scotland continues its ‘Composing With Care’ project, revealing a brand new piece of music by Scottish composer Savourna Stevenson.

Music charity Live Music Now Scotland was delighted to receive funding from Renfrewshire's Culture Heritage and Events Fund, designed to support Paisley's bid to be UK City of Culture 2021. The outreach organisation gathered together some of the talented musicians on its roster — Lizy Stirrat, Grant McFarlane, Yvonne Robertson and Ross Wilson, who all hail from Paisley in Renfrewshire, West Scotland — and invited them to perform in care homes around the region.

Focusing on the historic Paisley Thread Mills, the musicians gathered stories from people in five older people’s care homes and day centres last year which were then used as inspiration by celebrated composer Savourna Stevenson to create a new piece of music for flute and guitar, entitled ‘Mill Memories’.

Music charity reveals Paisley Thread Mills inspired composition by Savourna Stevenson

Savourna explains more about her new composition: “‘Mill Memories’ is a celebration of the mills of Paisley through the memories of the mill workers. The mills were central to Paisley's status as a city of international industrial acclaim through the famous Coats cottons and silks and the exquisitely patterned Paisley shawls, but central also to the community and social life of its workers.

The machinery of the Paisley mills was operated by a female workforce while the men maintained the equipment and worked as firemen. The working environment was dangerous and noisy and such hard working conditions required cooperation and camaraderie between workers that extended far beyond the mill gates.

‘Mill Memories’ opens with a ‘con moto’, emulating the sounds of machinery, spinning, shuttles flying and raised high voices. Spanish and Eastern influences represent Paisley's exotic international trade. The 70 children who died in the Glenn Cinema disaster of 1929, (the largest cinema disaster in European cinema history) are commemorated in the penultimate section with echoes of the mill themes in the finale suggesting hope and regeneration of Paisley's cultural past.”

Flautist Yvonne Paterson and classical guitarist Ross Wilson will perform the new music in a series of concerts in the care homes and day centres which inspired its composition in June.

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: "We are thrilled to have helped support this great project through Renfrewshire's Culture, Heritage and Events Fund.

"Our bid for UK City of Culture 2021 aims to reconnect the people of Paisley to their unique and internationally-significant heritage - and Live Music Now Scotland are bringing that to life in a really innovative way, while showcasing some of the superb homegrown musical talent we have here.

"At the same time, the bid aims to reach every corner of Renfrewshire and give groups who may not always get to enjoy the benefits of cultural activity an opportunity to do so.

"This project is a great example of how that can be done - and should we win the title our 2021 year would feature lots more projects along these lines."

For further information, contact Live Music Now Scotland’s Press and Marketing Officer claire.sawers@livemusicnow.org