THE quaint fishing village of Anstruther is to become a hotbed of world music, jazz and trad tunes during this year’s East Neuk Festival in Fife.

One of the music weekend’s opening acts will be the premiere of Zulu – a 2024 commission performed in the dramatic setting of the Zulu Gallery at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther.

Harpist and composer Esther Swift is working with multi-instrumentalist and music tutor Callum Macleod and 15 young local musicians to create this new piece to tell the story of the Zulu fishing fleets which were once ubiquitous in the East of Scotland.

The museum’s collection houses the last remaining first-class Zulu boat in Scotland, which was constructed in Banff in 1903 and finally decommissioned in 1968. Zulu boats were replaced by steam and diesel-powered boats after the end of the First World War, and as a result, many were left to rot on the shore – something which is still visible up and down the East Neuk coast.

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Zulu will be performed in the museum’s gallery, evoking stories of the boats and the communities that depended on them for fishing, the storms they weathered and the lives they led on land and at sea.

Other events over the weekend will include legendary bassist Renaud Garcia-Fons performing with a quartet of musicians from around the Mediterranean. Audiences can expect to hear bass, flamenco guitar, qanun and kemenche in a rich tapestry of reflective, dance-like, jazzy, soulful and funky songs. Also on the programme is Irish fiddle player Aoife Ní Bhriain, who will perform with an East Neuk regular, harpist Catrin Finch.

Festival director Svend McEwan-Brown said: “It has always been my ambition to complement the classical music programme in Crail and Kilrenny with a vibrant selection of music in the multitude of intimate halls and quirky venues offered in Anstruther. The town lends itself to the energy of world, trad and jazz.”

Outwith Anstruther, music fans can also enjoy a classical programme of music performed by three acclaimed string quartets – the Doric, Pavel Haas and, making their UK debut, young Scandinavians Opus13.

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Also playing will be the Belfiato Quintet, pianists Hisako Kawamura and Boris Giltburg, internationally acclaimed harpist Margret Köll and recorder virtuoso Stefan Temmingh.

On June 30, broadcaster, musician and composer Neil Brand will accompany an hour of slapstick golf-themed silent films featuring Laurel and Hardy, and Chaplin and Keaton while the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, led by principal conductor Maxim Emelyanychev, will bring the festival to a close with works by Beethoven, Mozart and a fantasia.

The East Neuk Festival runs from June 26-30. In the past 20 years, the festival has presented more than 400 events and welcomed more than 3000 performers and 200,000 people to some of the most unique and intimate venues in the East Neuk of Fife.