Jason Singh, international beatboxer, was highly impressive as he demonstrated his skills as a one man cinematic score for John Grierson’s 1929 debut documentary, Drifters. As part of a tour along the North Sea, A Kind of Seeing (AKA Shona Thomson) and LeithLate took this ‘trawler’ film to Destiny Church in Leith, which used to be a cinema in the 1920s.
Thomson and Singh began their tour in the UK’s most northerly island in the Shetland Isles, where they re-traced the journey originally taken to support the North Sea trawlers, following the once abundant herring shoals from community to community down the East coast. Following the Fleet: Drifters is a tour that will continue down to Great Yarmouth, where it will conclude, while engaging with the communities and telling stories about the labour we see on film along the way. It was funded by Creative Scotland and Film Hub Scotland and it is easy to see why.
Culturally rich with several layers, our eyes are drawn to the old archival film, our ears hugged by Eastern European singing, which resonates with the multiculturalism of our Leith surroundings and yet also, the more contemporary beat-boxing skill of Jason Singh. Atmospherically creating the sound of the dolphins, the steam from the vessels, the cogs turning and then some, Singh’s ability blew us all out of the water with this live scoring of Grierson’s documentary. We also gained insight into the church, which was built as a Turkish baths in the mid 19th century before being transformed into a filmhouse – now one of the last remaining plaster cinema screens in Europe.
Certainly many films and events such as these have hit our horizon after From Scotland With Love somewhat paved the way. However, Shona Thomson has been curating similar events for some time now under the banner A Kind of Seeing. It was great to see a queue out the door of the Destiny Church with a sold out event for this wonderful programme. I highly recommendation you not only check out Grierson’s, but witness it complimented with the rich sounds of Davno and Jason Singh.
For more information on Following The Fleet: Drifters and to book tickets click here.