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Cremation of Sam McGee
10 May 2019

Christine Hanson’s ‘The Cremation of Sam McGee’

The performance tonight is based on Robert Service’s famous poem, set in the snow-bound north, which appeared in Service’s book of poems, first published in 1907, Songs of a Sourdough (a ‘sourdough’ was someone who had spent an entire year in the Yukon).

Christine Hanson’s wonderful musical compositions accompanying what is probably Service’s best-known poem make full play with the poetry’s different colours, nuances, tones and range—varying from traditional jigs, reels and country waltzes to southern swing and frosty musical soundscapes which perfectly evoke the bizarre, tragicomic setting of Service’s poem.

For this short tour of Scotland Christine Hanson (Cello) is delighted to be working with this handpicked team, all accomplished and well-known artists in their own right: Gerry Cambridge (Poet/Narrator/Harmonica); Anna Massie (Fiddle/Guitar) Gordon Gunn (Fiddle); Kevin Murray (Guitar/Mandolin); Kevin McGuire (Double Bass); Rick Taylor (Trombone); James Mackintosh (Percussion) and Brian McAlpine (Piano/Accordion)

About Robert Service

Robert Service was born in Preston, Lancashire, England, in 1874. He moved to Kilwinning, Scotland, at the age of five, close to the former haunts of Robert Burns, and to Glasgow when he was nine. Aged 21, he moved to Canada, and was a bank clerk in Whitehorse when he wrote his popular poem. Though he lived in France later in life, it was the offbeat characters and frozen scenes of his early books, especially his first, which made him famous. Songs of a Sourdough was a bestseller, not just by poetry standards. Estimates for its total sales range from ‘far more than a million’ to three million copies, which would make it by some margin the bestselling book of poetry of the twentieth century.

About Christine Hanson

Music has taken Christine Hanson from touring Canada’s High Arctic with a tango trio to playing jigs and reels in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. While classically trained, in her roles as cellist, composer and sound designer. Christine is eclectic in her musical explorations. Her activities include compositional commissions, arranging, studio, television, film and theatre work, and performing as an ensemble musician with a variety of groups that play classical, folk, pop-jazz, and experimental music. Also an experienced instructor, teaching professional masterclasses in workshop settings on both sides of the Atlantic, Christine won CBC’s Galaxie Award for Best New Artist at Canada’s junofest 2006.

Programme: A musical introduction to the members of the ensemble in various combinations, followed by an interval and then ‘The Cremation of Sam McGee’

Start time 8:00pm, tickets £15 (under 18s £10)

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