Where You're Meant to Be review – a funny, gloomy musical labour of love

This diverting documentary about Aidan Moffat’s mission to reinterpret the music of folk singer Sheila Stewart leaves one wanting more

For reasons I can’t precisely explain, this gloomy, funny film reminded me of the experience of listening to John Peel playing Ivor Cutler on his Radio 1 show in the 70s. It follows the Scots musician Aidan Moffat, formerly of the band Arab Strap, as he undertakes an intimate solo tour of Scotland on a mission to revive and reinterpret the work of traveller and folk singer Sheila Stewart, whose music is part of an oral tradition stretching back centuries. This is a labour of love – clearly a work in progress – and Moffat is wrestling with ways of rewriting Stewart’s music with an instrumental accompaniment, and he cheerfully admits he flounders sometimes in performance. The comedy comes in with Sheila herself, who frankly disapproves of what he is doing and crisply tells him he has got her work all wrong. While Aidan is struggling to keep her memory alive, Sheila will acidly tell the camera that her oral tradition will die with her. It’s a diverting little film, though it left me wanting more: more about Aidan, more about Sheila, more about the music itself.

Watch the trailer for Where You’re Meant to Be


Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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