An Sgàthan is the culmination of Fiona’s year spent working towards her Masters in Songwriting & Performance at the University of the West of Scotland.
The performance takes the form of a Song Cycle, celebrating both the traditional and the contemporary Gaelic song world. As a focus for her project, Fiona has taken 7 of the songs collected by American born folklorist Margaret Fay Shaw (one for each year that Margaret spent in the Hebrides) and composing her own new song responses to those songs. But this is more than just another concert of songs collected by Shaw. This is An Experience… an Experience "informed by the environment in which Margaret found herself in the 1920’s and 30’s…” Each of the traditional songs is ‘mirrored’ by a new song, in which Fiona has used the wind, the rain, the sounds and smells, the birds and particularly the sea, as inspiration.
You are invited to participate in this feast of The Senses, with Fiona and her musicians, Yvonne and David Lyon, as she celebrates the past and the future of Gaelic Song and its influences....particularly that of the shore.
On Uist, the performance took place in the actual croft house in North Glendale, South Uist, which Margaret stayed in, with the Macrae sisters, while she was collecting the songs. Taigh Màiri Anndra is currently being renovated for a self catering cottage but is in a basic condition at present, just as it was nearly one hundred years ago…what would these stones say....? The event took place on a beautiful sunlit midgie free evening and Fiona took the audience on a ‘journey’ along the track leading up to Taigh Mairi Anndra, singing the traditional songs and telling stories in Margaret’s own words, with a few surprises along the way. In the cottage itself, Fiona’s new songs, “An Sgàthan” were performed with the band a fairy grotto atmosphere! Songs and stories were heard in the cottage for the first time in nearly 50 years.
On Canna An Sgàthan will take place along the shoreline and in one of Canna's community spaces after the initial ‘promenade’ style of fun performance! If you are on the island, please feel free to come along and join in with the fun and music. Meet outside The Bothy at 6.45pm on the 26th September. A short walk along the front will ensue followed by the concert indoors.
Please be prepared for a bit of fun and to enter into the spirit of things…Margaret Fay Shaw was a fun loving person, (she died at the ripe old age of 101) who loved cats, dogs and music (of all sorts) in equal measure and would be charmed by what Fiona has in mind for the evening…. Expect the unexpected…
Please feel free to take pictures or video during the evening's proceedings and don’t expect to have to be a “quiet audience”. This will be as relaxed as it can possibly get!
An Sgàthan / The Mirror Taigh Màiri Anndra, South Uist, Friday August 8th 2014 Isle of Canna, Friday September 26th 2014