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Traditional Pakistani and Scottish music in perfect harmony

As we prepare to tour When Mountains Meet - our immersive cross-cultural live music and theatre experience, starting in Edinburgh - we're reflecting on how traditional Scottish and Pakistani music have blended to create something truly special.

It's not two genres you would ever expect to go together, but the connections and contrasts between the styles are where we've found gold dust. With traditional Scottish music, instruments like the bagpipes and fiddle evoke images of misty moors and rugged mountains - just a single note and you are transported there (and perhaps with the help of some clever set and lighting design in our show!).

Pakistani instuments, such as the sitar and sarangi, are similarly evocative. In When Mountains Meet, Anne's first experience on the Karachi roads is accompanied by a frenetic song that evokes the bustle and colour of this city which has three times the population of all of Scotland. The traditional instruments and melodies we used made this scene truly come to life.

Both traditional Scottish and Pakistani music share a profound emphasis on storytelling. In Scotland, ballads and folk songs recount ancient legends, celebrate the beauty of landscapes and lament the struggles of working-class life. In Pakistan, the rich poetic tradition of Urdu and Punjabi poetry infuses classical and folk music with haunting imagery, weaving tales of love, loss, travel, work and worship.

Our goal in making When Mountains Meet was to treat both musical traditions with great respect, creativity and celebration. Through the shared experience of live music and immersive theatre, audiences are invited to discover - and rediscover - the beauty of traditional music across cultures. Music connects Anne's family in the story, and we hope it does the same for audiences across Scotland as we prepare to take the show on tour.

When Mountains Meet begins in Edinburgh on Thursday 25 and Friday 26 April, before going onto a Scotland-wide tour. Book via The Studio at Capital Theatres in Edinburgh here.


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