Where You're Meant to Be
M/A/D | Music/Art/Design
For pop tunester Aidan Moffat, formerly of indie band Arab Strap, it seemed like a good idea at the time: reconfigure classic Scottish folk songs for a modern audience and tour rural Scotland with them. Then he comes up against the dynamic, legendary 79-year-old folk singer Sheila Stewart, and she is not at all pleased with his well-intentioned cultural appropriation… First-time director Paul Fegan’s moving, frequently very funny and deeply musical film asks questions about the role music plays in our lives while weaving together the past and the present to comment on Scottish identity. The bearish Moffat, whose onstage patter is hilarious and profane, comes across as a sly and genuine voice for modernity, while the late Stewart (she died after the filming was completed), who could trace her Scottish gypsy roots back to the 12th century, is equally eloquent about the value of musical traditions. And then there are all those lovely songs themselves, as captured in performances by Moffat—and Stewart in the film’s climax—throughout Scotland.
"Like Moffat’s project, the film is affectionate, playful and irreverent in spirit. But it becomes something else altogether, something affecting and profound, when folk legend Sheila Stewart appears. She staunchly disapproves of Moffat’s appropriation of the songs she has spent her life performing. And she argues her point in the best way possible—on stage, unaccompanied, belting out a ballad with a force as primal as the sea she sings about."—Wendy Ide, Guardian
"With its mix of dark melancholy and bawdy humour, its grime and its visual magnificence, Where You’re Meant to Be feels like a celebration of the real Scotland, in all its messy, joyful chaos, as sincere and authentic as Moffat’s contemporary versions of Stewart’s age-old songs."—David Kettle, theartsdesk.com