Preview: The Sweetest Hours

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When Ayrshire tenor David Douglas and local harpist Esther Swift play together, something magical happens.

Esther enjoys a varied career with orchestras and as a recitalist and composer. David is a singer with a breadth of experience performing in operas, oratorios and as a recitalist. Together Esther and David are Alchemy.

Two renowned musicians who have performed as a duo across the UK, their unique approach in employing a range of styles has seen them perform at the Ae Sparks of Natures Fire festival, support Spiers and Boden on their farewell tour and perform Burns Meets the American Song Book.

For the Red Lion Folk Club, Folk Club of the Year 2008, the attraction was instant: “When we heard David Douglas and Esther Swift there was no doubt in our minds that we must book them for the club. They specialise in Scottish folk music in such a professional and enchanting way one gets as completely lost in their music as in any classical symphony.”

In 2014 and 2015 they headlined the Alloway Sessions at the National Trust for Scotland’s Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, giving them the opportunity to perform at Burns’ Cottage.

On January 9, Peebles’ Eastgate Theatre will host The Sweetest Hours, a celebration of the poet who is such an integral part of Scotland’s culture, specially arranged for harp and tenor by David and Esther.

Esther and David are currently recording their debut album, also called The Sweetest Hours; a Robert Burns album filled with new and exciting arrangements. The Sweetest Hours will be released later this month, and will be followed by a theatre tour.

Saturday’s performance will also feature traditional and contemporary dances by students from the Fine Arts Centre of Excellence.

Tickets are £12 (£10 concs, £6 for schoolchildren). Call the box office on 01721 725777, or see