Simon Thacker and Justyna Jablonska

with special guest 

Masha Natanson


Fri 12 - Sat 20 August 2016 | 21.15hrs


The Library Gallery, Summerhall (venue 26)

1 Summerhall Place, Edinburgh EH9 1PL


£10/£8 conc./£7.50 family | 0131 226 0000| buy online


Part of the Made in Scotland showcase




Karmana, Songs of the Roma

Innovative music is a bit like sorcery; it can be magical, mysterious and powerful - and a little bit dangerous; but audiences at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe (EFF) will be in safe hands with classical guitar virtuoso Simon Thacker and the masterful Polish cellist Justyna Jablonska. They are joined on a mystic road to new soundworlds in music by the charismatic traditional Roma singer Masha Natanson. Together, they will present a combined programme featuring selections from Simon’s highly original six-movement Karmana Suite, and Songs of the Roma, a vivid re-imagining of music and song from the gypsy tradition.


This enchanting programme promises a host of enthralling musical surprises. Karmana is Sanskrit for “performing anything by means of magic”, and sees Thacker draw on and extend European, Indian and Balkan folk forms, as well as flamenco, in the pursuit of new instrumental paths. These gifted musicians will expertly contrast wonderfully inventive new music with an exploration in song of traditional Roma themes such as birth, death and love; the search for lost roots; endless wandering; and the changing role of women in traditional societies.


This will be Simon Thacker’s third consecutive superbly eclectic presentation for the Made in Scotland Showcase, having previously appeared with his Ritmata and Svara-Kanti ensembles. Thacker is firmly established as one of Scotland’s most vibrant, cross-cultural musical voices, and he’s highly regarded as a composer, guitarist and performer, whose meticulous work references the world’s richest musical traditions.


He returns to Summerhall with Justyna Jablonska, a much-admired soloist who has studied with Peter Dixon (Principal Cello, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra); William Conway(Hebrides Ensemble); and Eric-Maria Couturier (Ensemble Intercontemporain, Paris). In 2014 and 2015 she was selected for Lucerne Festival Academy, and worked alongside Sir Simon Rattle and Isabelle Faust. In 2016, Justyna will be part of the Ensemble of the Lucerne Festival Alumni directed by Wolfgang Rihm.


Simon and Justyna have been performing together since 2013, and they’ve toured extensively around the UK. They are currently recording Karmana for a Creative Scotland supported album, which also features some very special guests including the award-winning singer/songwriter Karine Polwart.


Masha Natanson is an outstanding Polish Roma singer and violinist who inherited her passion for traditional music largely from her mother. At the age of 15, Masha left home in search of the genuine traditional music of the Carpathians, and the Gypsy communities of Eastern Europe. As a result, she has acquired a huge repertoire of authentic European traditional song, gathered in the course of extensive travelling, collecting and performing.


Karmana promises to conjure an extraordinary musical experience, and a fascinating travelogue through an astonishing world of new sounds and sensations. More importantly, Simon Thacker once again captures the inclusive spirit of the Fringe with an international programme guaranteed to light up the capital.




Made in Scotland is a curated showcase of high quality performance from Scotland at the world’s biggest arts festival, made possible by support from the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund. It is a partnership between the Festival Fringe Society, the Federation of Scottish Theatre (FST) Scottish Music Centre and Creative Scotland.