The Power of Music returns to the Fringe


Music has the power to move us beyond words. 

In these three events, internationally renowned mezzo-soprano Andrea Baker interviews three master storytellers about the music that keeps them spellbound. 

Internationally acclaimed mezzo soprano Andrea Baker began her career with San Francisco Opera and has appeared at many of the world’s greatest opera houses and arts festivals. She can also be heard as frequent BBC radio presenter. Baker is the creator of the award winning show Sing Sistah Sing! celebrating the extraordinary breadth and depth of the African American female voice and spirit.

She is uniquely placed to explore the power of music in this event in the capital of the country she now calls home with three special guests, Louise Welsh, Sir Geoff Palmer and Val McDermid. Last year’s event received a glowing review from Rosemary Kaye in the Edinburgh Reporter:

In the midst of all the frenzy that is the Old Town in August, St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church on George Street never fails to provide a space of calm. Its festival talks are something I have come to look forward to, and The Power of Music on Thursday was certainly no exception… Baker (is) such a good chair, that the following hour felt more like a chat with two particularly genial old friends.

The Power of Music in Edinburgh Fringe will be held at St. Andrews and St. George's West from 2.30-3.30pm on the following dates:

August 19th featuring Louise Welsh - BUY TICKETS

August 21st Featuring Sir Geoff Palmer - BUY TICKETS

August 23 Featuring Val McDermid - BUY TICKETS



Based in Glasgow, Louise Welsh made her mark in the literary scene in 2002 with the arrival of her deep, dark debut, The Cutting Room, which was nominated for the Orange Prize for Fiction and won the Crime Writers’ Association Creasey Dagger for best first crime novel. She is a Professor of Creative Writing at University of Glasgow.

In 2014 Louise was co-founder and director of the Empire Café, an award winning multi-disciplinary exploration of Scotland’s relationship with the North Atlantic slave trade. The project was included in the City of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme.

Most recently she has begun writing opera libretti with her frequent collaborator, composer Stuart MacRae. Their latest opera, Anthropocene, had its highly acclaimed world premiere for Scottish Opera earlier this year.


Geoff Palmer was born in Jamaica and immigrated to London in 1955. He is a Professor Emeritus in the School of Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University. He is the author of many scientific papers in his area of specialisation - grain science. In 1998, Palmer became the first European, to be honoured with the American Society of Brewing Chemists Award of Distinction, considered the “Nobel prize of brewing’.

Alongside his academic work, Palmer is also a prominent human rights activist, and has written extensively on race relations and the history of slavery in the West Indies. He is the freeman of Midlothian and Honorary Consul for Jamaica in Scotland.  Professor Palmer was awarded the OBE in 2003 and a Knighthood in 2014 for contributions to science, charity and human rights.  

In 2007, the Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade in the British Empire, Professor Geoff Palmer was named among the "100 Great Black Britons”.


Val McDermid has sold over 16 million books to date across the globe and is translated into over 40 languages. She is perhaps best-known for her Wire in the Blood series, featuring clinical psychologist Dr Tony Hill and DCI Carol Jordan, which was adapted for television starring Robson Green.

Broken Ground the fifth in the Karen Pirie series was published earlier this year, and How The Dead Speak, book 11 in the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series is eagerly anticipated in August 2019.

Val has previously served as a judge for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, was Chair of the Wellcome Book Prize in 2017 and served as a judge on the 2018 Man Booker Prize.  She is the recipient of five Honorary Doctorates and is an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda’s College, Oxford. 

Born in Kirkcaldy, a coastal town in the heart of the Scottish mining community. She graduated in English at St Hilda’s College, Oxford - the first from a Scottish state school to do so - before going on to be an award winning journalist for sixteen years. Val is also in a band - The fun lovin' crime writers.

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