How to tell a story without saying too much? How to tap the oldest wisdoms, hardest truths, most tender glances and cracked wit and political rage – how to distill all of that into humble miniatures?

Our slightly mad and epic project began back in 2013, when James Robertson set himself the challenge of writing a short story every day of the year. Each story was to be 365 words, he instructed himself: no more, no less. With titles including ‘I Was An Experiment’ and ‘Awake Isn’t Good’, the strange, sprawling collection of fairytales, memories, keen observations and bold provocations was published online, one story per day, through the course of 2014, then as a volume by Penguin as 365:Stories.

That turned out to be only the beginning!

Enchanted by the potent atmosphere of James’s tiny prose pieces, intrigued by the notion of an inescapable daily creative ritual, Aidan O’Rourke – Scottish fiddler, composer and one third of the folk supertrio Lau – decided to write a tune every day in response. The result is a major new body of 365 fiddle tunes, which together form a significant new addition to the Scottish traditional music repertoire. Aidan’s melodies are sparse, exploratory and emotive, paired with kaleidoscopic accompaniments from Kit Downes (harmonium/piano), Esther Swift (harp) and Sorren Maclean (guitar). Highlights have been released on CD as 365: Volume One (May 2019) and 365: Volume Two (released 9 August 2019).

So that’s how it came together. Now all 365 stories and songs have been recorded and the complete collection will go on tour around Scotland as a sound installation. See here for the tour dates. James reads many of the stories himself, with other storytellers — artists, actors, friends young and old — adding a handsome range of voices from across Scotland.

It’s completely free: we hope you enjoy.

More info on Aidan O'Rourke

More info on James Robertson

With support from Creative Scotland, PRS for Music Foundation’s The Open Fund, the University of Glasgow’s Scottish Literature department, BBC Scotland, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Scottish Poetry Library, An Tobar, Reveal Records and Penguin Books.

365:Stories and Music is a free piece of public art but if you'd like to support the project you can do this through Aidan's Patreon page here.



Aidan O’Rourke
Kit Downes
Sorren Maclean
Esther Swift


Marissa Bonnar, Tam Dean Burn, Leah Byrne, Keiran Duncan, Paul Gorman, Jennifer Hartland, Alana Jackson, Michael Kelly, Cathy Macdonald, Sharon Mackay, Jack McCreadie, John McGeachie, Kirstin McLean, Jimmy Hutchison, Ewan Miller, Yolanda Mitchell, Marianne Mitchelson, Kate Molleson, Bailey Newsome, Hannah Visocchi, Mary McCartney, Matthew Merritt, James Robertson, Claire Sawers, Rowan Smith, Neila Stephens, Gerda Stevenson, Sam Stopford, Charlie West, Rebecca Wilkie, Iona Zajac, Matthew Zajac

Creative Team

Aidan O’Rourke
artistic director
James Robertson
creative advisor (stories)
Yann Seznec
digital designer
Old School Fabrications
installation designer
Mattie Foulds
recording and mixing engineer
Gordon Maclean
recording engineer
Calum Malcolm
mixing engineer
Stuart Hamilton
mastering engineer
Elaine Walker
audio producer (stories)
Gavin Murchie
editing and mastering (stories)
Dalziel and Scullion
bird images / cd covers
Fogbank Projects
branding design
Alex Fiennes
website design and build
Judith Walsh
at The Creative Consortium - project manager
Caroline Winn
planning consultant and project administrator
Chris Buttigieg
installation manager