Thursday, 30 May 2013

One Man, a #Violin and a Laptop (#music)

Over the past few years I've been privileged in meeting some very talented people. None more so than Ian Peaston, a musician and author of epic scifi at Last year I flew from Essex to Edinburgh to watch him perform at the Fringe as essens:1 with clarinet player Per Johansson. This year Ian went solo at the Brighton Fringe as Violin Variations. Here he is on stage!

Photo credit Brian Peaston

Oh, you can't see him? Sorry about that. When you have one man essentially playing the part of many, and on an instrument that may well look like a violin but can sound like a variety of strings and percussion, you expect some kind of blur or time distortion. Or maybe a group of musicians hidden back stage to perform some  of the magic. After all, one man can't possibly perform like an entire string orchestra? A rock band? A traditional trio?

But that's exactly what Ian can do. Using looping and a laptop, he mixes classical music such as Bach with pop like Bjork and Muse. He performs traditional La Folia with its three elements of chords, bass and melody, but specially composed for looping by Stefan Klaverdal. He can rock out Teardrop by Massive Attack. And do it all solo with just an electric violin, a bit of tech and a pair of stripey socks. :P Between pieces you'll be treated to his soft Scottish accent as he describes his creative process or gives you some background on each section of music.

If you thought classical music and violins weren't for you, think again. Stop by or and listen to a snippet or three. I can recommend Stockholm Syndrome right now if Muse is your thing (or even if it isn't!) You might be surprised.

Unfortunately I don't have any footage from the Brighton Fringe to share. Both my camera and my phone ran out of battery at the essential moment. *cries* But I do have a video of Mogadishu Blues (still one of my favourite pieces, although I've been told this may be evolving in the future) taken at the Edinburgh Fringe last year. Enjoy!

Stalk Ian here -

Facebook - Violin Variations, essens:1, Who is Kai?
Websites - elucian, Violin Variations, essens:1



One violin. One laptop. Endless creativity.

A concert-talk about the violin, music and creativity.

How can one violin sound like a whole band, seamlessly blending all genres into one?

How can musical creativity inspire you to challenge limitations and increase productivity?

Violin Variations is a concert-talk about music and creativity by the Scottish violinist Ian Peaston. With an electric violin, pedals and a laptop, Ian performs everything from Bach to film music by Hans Zimmer, trip-hop by Massive Attack and Brazilian electro-samba!

Every sound you hear — strings, guitars, drums and bass — is produced from a single violin, and Ian loops together layer upon layer of these sounds until there is a twenty-piece band playing from the speakers! And all completely live!

Ian then weaves this eclectic mix of music together with thought-provoking insights on creativity from his own experience as a musician, customising each performance to maximise the relevance for the specific audience.

For a concert audience, Ian blends this exciting fusion of musical styles with a personal account of what led him to create music in this way, deepening and enriching the concert experience.

For students, he shows how music from a wide range of cultures has inspired him, opening pathways to new ways of thinking that can help motivate students in their own academic and artistic endeavours.

As an inspirational speaker at corporate events, he utilises his eclectic collection of music to illustrate concepts of creativity to help stimulate innovation and productivity.

To book Violin Variations and to discuss how it can be adapted to suit the specific needs of your venue, school or company, e-mail


  1. One of these days/years I am going to have to make it to one of Ian's concerts. Sounds like you had a fabulous time!

  2. It was fantastic! But sadly over too fast.


I always love to hear your thoughts.