As is usual with life on Folk Radio UK I just never have enough hours in the day despite being a full-time commitment. One project I’m personally very excited about is Away with the Birds. In relation to this I have a lengthy interview to transcribe with Hanna Tuulikki who many of you will have heard of. She is a Glasgow-based artist and composer with many strings to her bow – she’s also a member of Two Wings.
However, before you can read it there is a more pressing Kickstarter Campaign for the project which ends in 42 hours time. In this project she has undertaken a very unique and inspiring re-weaving of Gaelic song that will be performed live on the Isle of Canna, an island in the Inner Hebrides.
Away with the Birds will be performed by a female vocal ensemble in the beautiful harbour of the Isle of Canna, where the music reverberates with the bird-calls and the ebb of the tide.
Away with the Birds is Hanna’s most ambitious work to date. Selecting Gaelic song from historical archives, she has sought out extracts and fragments which imitate birdsong and rewoven them into an extraordinary soundscape. Each of the five movements represents a different habitat and bird community – wader, sea-bird, wildfowl, corvid, and cuckoo.
Away with the Birds was conceived for and inspired by the Isle of Canna. Hanna’s long-standing relationship with its ecology, birdlife, and history has seen her form a strong bond with the community. The archive of songs and tales assembled by the folklorists John Lorne Campbell and Margaret Fay Shaw, and kept in Canna House, has been one of the main sources for her composition.
The actual experience of the performance includes the voyage out on the ferry to Canna, ‘people might be lucky enough to see dolphins, whales, or basking sharks, as well as a myriad bird species.’
Hanna explains: ‘The setting itself is so important to the piece. The Small Isles are a magical place and, to me, the performance begins as soon as people climb on-board the ferry-boat to make the crossing – the experience of voyaging and crossing over is the heart of the project.’
The Isle of Canna is steeped in Gaelic tradition and the audience will be welcomed with Hebridean hospitality on the lawn of Canna House before taking their seats down by the shore.
Then, as the tide comes in, the blending together of haunting music, the natural surroundings, the culture of Canna and the islands of the Hebrides beyond will begin.
Read more about it here and make a pledge in return for some great rewards
We will be bringing you an interview very soon.