Sholto Dobie

Sholto Dobie is an artist and performer living in London. He uses loose structures and and array of instruments including home-made organs and bagpipes, field recordings, guitar, concertina and anything else that comes to hand. His performances are personal and intuitive, often coming across as delicate, evocative, and absurd.

He has presented solo performances at Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival, Cafe OTO, Glasgow International and CCA, Glasgow. He has released music on Cosmovisión registros andinos and OtoRoku. He regularly collaborates with Ben Pritchard, and has played in combinations with Ashley Paul, Mark Harwood, Lia Mazzari, United Bible Studies, Billy Steiger and Ivor Kallin.

He is also runs the event series Muckle Mouth which he founded in 2014 and co-curates at The Horse Hospital in London.

www.mucklemouth.com

Sholto Dobie

Featured releases

Duo from regular good guy Sholto Dobie (Mucklemouth) and Alvaro Daguer of Chile’s Glorias Navales (Kye Records). Sholto's on diatonic symphony hurdy gurdy, and Alvaro picks up his Casio SA-1 - a monophonic old school number. After playing together for the first time that morning (Sholto had kindly put Alvaro's band up) the pair decided they play the support slot that night. The two instruments meld surprisingly well, and what follows is a melancholic, minimal and lo-fi lament in the key of Conrad or Cale. "In April, Alvaro and his brother Ivan (from Santiago, Chile) were touring Europe with their group Glorias Navales. They stayed one night at my house in Lewisham, we had fava beans for breakfast and afterwards me and Alvaro ended up playing music for a short time together in my kitchen. To us, it sounded fresh and we decided to perform together that night (the result of which is kindly documented here!). I named it 'Cat's Foot' after a symbol used in eastern european and russian embroidery - the flatness of the instrumentation and repetition of simple forms reminded me of weaves. The shimmering drones notes of the mechanical instruments - one acoustic and one electronic - create an wavy 'moire'-like effect. Although, weaving patterns would suggest structure, this music ambles, without any strict rhythm, agenda or narrative - a cat's foot is also playful!"   Sholto, July 2017 --- Sholto Dobie / hurdy gurdy Alvaro Daguer / keyboard --- Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Wednesday 12th April 2017 by Shaun Crook. Mixed & mastered by Mr J T Dunn. Artwork by Oli Barrett.  --- 

Sholto Dobie & Alvaro Daguer – 12.4.17

Very special release from filmmaker Lucia Nimcová and sound artist Sholto Dobie. Highly reccomended.  --- "I first discovered khroniky – Ukranian folk songs – in the Highlands of Scotland. I was watching a screening of Bajka, a mesmerising documentary made by the filmmaker Lucia Nimcová and sound artist Sholto Dobie. I knew nothing about these ballads beforehand, but I was fascinated by these odd, beautiful songs, especially the easy way in which they mixed misery and levity, where gentle melodies blend with tales of dark violence. The folk songs describe hardship, murder, torture, death in gulags, heavy drinking, outsmarting men, love affairs. But they’re often very funny too – many of the songs make fun of marriage, and there’s an amazing subcategory of khroniky songs called potka (vagina) songs.The khroniky have never been properly documented because they were considered too crude, or contained lyrics that were problematic, politically. When Ukrainian folk songs have been archived in the past, it’s normally a sanitised, more polite version of the ones that Lucia remembers from her childhood. Lucia grew up on the other side of the Ukrainian border in Slovakia. She is part of the Rusyn (Ruthenian) minority ethnic group found in the borderlands of Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine and Poland. Rusyn is a centuries-old Slavic language, looked down upon as a poor, uneducated dialect by the neighbouring Ukraine and Slovakia. It was forbidden to talk about Rusyn culture at Nimcova’s primary school, but the khroniky stayed in her memories.“I remember weddings when I was young,” says Lucia, who now lives in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. “At the end of the night, when everyone was drunk and the young couple would go around their guests, people would sing in Rusyn. There was singing and dancing, and songs about being in prison or falling in love. I picked up the lyrics and sometimes my mum would make my sister and I sing them for people we met on the train. I was about five or six but the lyrics still come back when I sing to my kids.”Determined that these rich, nuanced, unique songs shouldn’t be forgotten, she decided to record them. Over two years, Lucia, joined by experimental musician Sholto Dobie, visited Rusyn villages high in the Carpathian mountains to rediscover the songs and make the documentary. It was at the beginning of war breaking out in Ukraine in 2014.“The Rusyn community is a very closed one,” explains Lucia. “Sometimes we’d have to wait several days to hear someone sing; we had to earn their trust before they shared something very personal to them. We’d stay up ‘til 5am at a wedding, then go straight to a morning baptism, or collect haystacks with the villagers, hoping they’d sing while they were working.”DILO is named after an important independent Ukrainian daily newspaper that was shut down when the Red Army entered Lviv in 1939. The four long tracks on DILO blur field recordings with song; an unpolished, privileged glimpse into a private world. We hear dogs barking and insects buzzing in the summer heat, then a blast of hurdy gurdy or violin will drift in, or a plaintive song soars softly over the rural background noise, with casually harrowing lyrics about a cuckoo, “lifeless in a world of misery”, as translated in the album’s booklet.For both Lucia and Sholto, it was important not to tamper too much with what they heard. “When you think about ethnography,” Lucia explains, “you have to have a lot of time, love and respect to document it with sensitivity.”“The songs all have their own atmosphere and intimacy from the spaces they were recorded in and it was important to maintain these particularities and move with them,” adds Sholto, who now lives in Vilnius, Lithuania. “They guide and sometimes interrupt a journey between interiors – domestic spaces; in kitchens, by the fire – and exteriors; marketplaces, cow sheds. We used contact microphones to record metal bridges and fences, and we spent one afternoon recording a wool processing machine, the details of the rattling and tuning wheels are the ground layer for the third track.”Lucia took rough notes and diary entries during the recording process, which are now shared in the booklet alongside a selection of lyrics, loosely translated, but revealing the depth and astonishing beauty that sometimes lies in the language of these folk songs.The feel of the album is intimate, flipping between laughter, where a woman sings about selling her pussy to buy a cow in one track, then shifts to a raw, painful truth; an adult son asks his mother why his dad won’t be back for dinner, as he’s gone to war.Since Lucia and Sholto began working together in 2014, they have shared the audio recordings on radio and film and shown photos in gallery spaces, making sure these special, smutty, poignant songs don’t get lost. This new record and booklet joins that same continuum, another glorious fruit from the same rare tree. " ---- Concept, photography, notes, and research by Lucia Nimcováwww.luco.skRecorded and mixed by Sholto Dobiesoundcloud.com/sholtodobieDesign by Ondrej Jóbwww.setuptype.comMastered by Tomáš Vtípil / dinn (dinn is not noise)www.vtipil.czWords by Claire Sawersclairesawers.comPhotography by Lukáš Rohárikbit.ly/2QT4r49Released by mappa as MAP025 in 2021This project has been supported using public funds provided by Slovak Arts Council.

Lucia Nimcová & Sholto Dobie – DILO

Following the cancellation of their Central European tour as a duo in June 2020, Shakeeb Abu Hamdan and Sholto Dobie, together and apart, unveil a remote sonic partition between their respective abodes in Lebanon and Lithuania. Letting a melange of new and archival material wind around each other, swell back and forth and coalesce into a nebulous mass, they tease the temporality of real time improvisation, opting instead for a near mythical, ghost-like exchange.  The two have never played together in real life, and while each sonic element can sing on its own, nothing falls out of the frame or feels like a loose fractal. Sholto's self-built organ breathes deep sighs and hisses, meeting Shakeeb's undulating electronics and ricocheting rhythmics in a series of harmonic, tumbling gestures. Like Limpe Fuchs' work with Anima, there is space given for elements to clatter and scatter, but also bring towards circling motifs. Organ dirges & patterned drums emerge out of the misty plains, raising themselves skywards. Sholto and Shakeeb's own locality might or might not have contributed to their ventures, but we can't help but feel an imprint embossed in its genetic make-up. Listen closely and one can hear the spectres of regional folk musics, ceremonies, lonely streets, day-to-day banality... Together they let their complex inner & outer worlds meet and dance in a sonic apparition. -- Shakeeb Abu Hamdan: drums, amplified drums and electronics Sholto Dobie: self-built organ -- Drum parts on tracks one and three: from a live recording by Graham Dunning at The Old Hairdresser’s, Glasgow 2019. Tracks two, four and five: recorded by Shakeeb Abu Hamdan at Ashkal Alwan, Beirut 2018 - 2019.Organ parts on tracks one, three and five: recorded by Simas Okas and Vytautas Franukevičius in Vilnius 2020. Track two: recorded in Empty Brain Resort, Vilnius 2020. Track four: recorded in the studio of Arturas Bumšteinas and Gailė Griciūtė, SODAS 2123, Vilnius 2020. Assembled and mixed by Shakeeb Abu Hamdan in Beirut and Gharifeh, July - August 2020Mastered by John Hannon at NO Cover design by Oliver Barrett

Shakeeb Abu Hamdan & Sholto Dobie – It's Worse

Past events