Jenny brings the music of The Living Mountain to Peebles

Musician and songwriter Jenny Sturgeon returns to the Eastgate Theatre later this month with The Living Mountain – a spellbinding audio-visual interpretation of what is widely regarded as one of the finest books ever written on Britain’s nature and landscape.

By Kevin Janiak
Thursday, 11th November 2021, 3:08 pm
Jenny Sturgeon will perform The Living Mountain at the Eastgate Theatre on Tuesday, November 23.
Jenny Sturgeon will perform The Living Mountain at the Eastgate Theatre on Tuesday, November 23.

Nan Shepherd’s book of the same name, written during the Second World War, describes the author’s many journeys into the Cairngorm mountains.

Drilling down to the finest detail, her writing explores the rocks, rivers, wildlife and hidden aspects of the landscape to create a powerful meditation on the magnificence of mountains and our relationship with wild places.

It is this intense, poetic prose that Jenny Sturgeon has used to create her own lyrical and visual exploration of the landscape, ecology and sounds of the Cairngorms – giving a musical voice to what is the ultimate love letter to the mountains.

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“The meditative experience of the combined live music and imagery provides a soothing and poignant exploration of what it means to connect with a landscape and find a sense of place,” explained Jenny, who recently performed at the Eastgate as part of another project, Northern Flyway, together with Inge Thomson.

The process of translating a work of literature into a performance on stage began with the writing of a song for each of the 12 chapters in the book.

Jenny said: “Once I’d started work on the lyrics, I re-read Nan’s book which helped inform the melodies and musical approach of each song.”

Eager to include visuals with the performance so that audiences could see and experience the landscape as well as hear her interpretation of it, Jenny collaborated with two prominent filmmakers, Shona Thompson and Robyn Spice, plus rewilding charity Scotland: The Big Picture.

The result is a range of archive and modern-day footage that covers many different aspects of the mountain range.

“The film brings another dimension to the performance which helps place the audience in the landscape,” added Jenny.

Jenny Sturgeon performs The Living Mountain at the Eastgate Theatre at 7.30pm on Tu esday, November 23. Tickets, priced £14, £12, £8 under 16s, are available from 01721 725777 or online.