AIYF rolls into the Mearns

Isa Mubarek al Najem is a talented Oud player from Bahrain, makes his first appearance in Scotland at Stonehaven Town Hall.
Isa Mubarek al Najem is a talented Oud player from Bahrain, makes his first appearance in Scotland at Stonehaven Town Hall.

Aberdeen International Youth Festival (AIYF) is hitting the road and heading to the Mearns. Some of the world’s most talented musicians, singers and dancers will be entertaining local audiences as part of the drive to introduce performers to towns and villages outwith the main festival performance hub in Aberdeen.

The Stonehaven ‘stushie’, which is being held at Stonehaven Town Hall on August 4 at 7.30pm, will feature a host of talent from across the world. Isa Mubarek al Najem is a talented Oud player from Bahrain and is making his first appearance in Scotland through AIYF. At 16, he is one of the youngest and most proficient players of the ancient Oud in the world. Kfar Vradim Youth Orchestra from Israel range in age from 10 to 18 and play a variety of instruments. The orchestra is internationally renowned and have performed in several countries including the opening of the Maccabi Games in Detroit. Joel Sebunjo is one of Uganda’s most recognised young folk artistes and is one of their best world music exports. Joel sings and plays the Kora, Endongo and Kalimba. ReSession are a four piece traditional band from Scotland, with one band member, Cameron Ross hailing from Stonehaven. They have performed at the Ironworks in Inverness and have recently completed a tour of Orkney and Caithness. Punch in the Dark are a four graduates from Newcastle University. They play an enticing blend of fresh interpretations of traditional material and original composition. Tickets are available from Stonehaven Tourist Office and are priced at £8 for adults, or £6 for concessions.

Stord Ungdomskor and Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra will be performing at Mearns Academy in Laurencekirk, also on August 4 at 7.30pm. Stord Ungdomskor are a Norwegian choir with a showcase including a mixture of different styles of music ranging from the traditional and classic to folk. The multi-award winning Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra have worked with many of the world’s top musicians including Maynard Ferguson and James Morrison. The orchestra perform big band music from the 1930’s to 1990’s as well as original compositions. Tickets are priced £6 for adults, £4 for concessions and are available from RTN Alf Larie/David E Johnston, Central Garage, High street on 01561 377 368.

Stewart Aitken, artistic director and chief executive of AIYF, said he was delighted that audiences outwith Aberdeen would get the opportunity to see some of the world’s greatest young musicians, singers and dancers. He added: “This year’s festival plays host to one of the largest ever contingents of international groups and performers. We have expanded the number of venues in the extended festival programme as one of the key aims for AIYF in the next few years is to capture new audiences from around Scotland and enable them to experience the wealth of international talent that the festival attracts.”

The festival takes place over ten days in the summer from Wednesday July 27 to Saturday August 6 and the full festival line up can be found on the festival’s website –

Now in its 39th year AIYF is regarded as one of the world’s foremost celebrations of youth arts. More than 100 performances in music, dance and theatre are scheduled to take place with many of the world’s leading young artists taking part.