Our Song of the Day is a demo recording from Alasdair Roberts Hirta Songs (2013), a collaboration with poet Robin Robertson and a concept album of sorts that was inspired by the people, landscape and history of the remote Scottish archipelago of St Kilda, the most remote part of the British Isles.
The seed of the record lies in Robertson’s 2007 visit to the islands; upon returning back in the Hebrides he wrote two poems inspired by St Kilda, The Well of Youth and Leaving St Kilda, but he knew that the islands weren’t finished with him and, 6 years later, Hirta Songs was the result.
As Robin explains in our review (read the full review here), “I travelled to St Kilda with my partner, Karin Altenberg. She has a doctorate in archaeology and heard about relatively recent excavations on the archipelago, which prompted her initial interest. She had done a lot of research, particularly into the Church of Scotland minister, Neil MacKenzie, and his young wife Lizzie, who were sent to the islands in the 1830s, and had decided to try and write a novel based on their story.
“Being an archaeologist, she needed first-hand experience of St Kilda, so we decided to spend a fortnight in the Outer Hebrides and to book a passage with Tim Pickering, on his boat 58 Degrees North, due to sail west from the Sound of Harris in early August 2007.
“That trip was an incredible – and very productive – experience for both of us. She wrote Island of Wings, a novel that was published in the UK, America and Canada and was long-listed for the Orange Prize, and I wrote a long poem Leaving St Kilda and then, years later, the words to these Hirta Songs.”
Released via Stone Tape Recordings
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