skye youngster in international music piece

Sunday 27th July 2014

A Skye youngster, Christina MacDonald, has had the opportunity to be involved in ‘Aiseag’ (The Ferryboat), a dynamic new transatlantic composition which is at the heart of the cultural celebrations for Glasgow 2014, one of 20 new commissions selected to form the prestigious PRS Foundation New Music Biennial. The project has been masterminded by Mary Ann Kennedy of Lochaber’s legendary Watercolour Music studios, bringing together the cream of traditional and classical musicians from Nova Scotia and Scotland.

Mary Ann was looking for a young, north Skye voice to read some of Aonghas MacNeacail’s poetry and with support from Fèisean nan Gàidheal, Christina MacDonald from Staffin, a participant in her local Fèis, was chosen. Christina has already participated in the Aiseag premiere in July at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the Gaelic College in Skye and at a major PRS Foundation New Music Biennial showcase at the Southbank Centre in London, where ‘Aiseag’ formed the finale of the performances.

‘Aiseag’ has two remaining performances this summer – as part of a grand transatlantic cèilidh at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness on Friday August 1st, and at the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow on Saturday 2nd August as part of the Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme.

Christina will be taking part alongside Mary Ann Kennedy, who has been inspired by the communities, culture and connections on her own doorstep, celebrating an international dynamic by hooking up with one of Canada’s most respected composers – Scott Macmillan, Watercolour Music’s resident producer Nick Turner and Gaelic poet, Aonghas MacNeacail, to create a unique new work which will place the Highlands and the Gaelic language and culture right at the heart of the Commonwealth Games celebrations.

‘Aiseag’ is a 15 minute work inspired by the network of small ferries that ply the west coast of Scotland and Nova Scotia, and in particular the MV Corran that crosses Loch Linnhe at Ardgour, where Mary Ann is based. The ferry provides a lifeline link between the Ardnamurchan and Morvern peninsulas and the mainland, and also connects on to the islands of Mull and Iona. Mary Ann and Scott have created a score for choir, strings and traditional soloists, setting poems by Aonghas, and incorporating realworld soundscapes created by Nick.

The creative team is joined by the talented young Cape Breton fiddler, Colin Grant, piper Angus MacKenzie from the iconic band Daimh, percussionist Allan Òg MacDonald, bassist Brodie Jarvie, award-winning Inverness Gaelic Choir and the Scottish Festival Strings.

Arthur Cormack, Chief Executive of Fèisean nan Gàidheal, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Aiseag, in particular for the opportunity it affords a young Gaelic speaker to take part in a work of international significance. At a time when the world is looking in on Scotland and its culture is being celebrated, Aiseag is a great opportunity for Christina MacDonald to participate in a performance at the highest level.”

The photograph, by Seán Purser, shows Christina with Aonghas ‘Dubh’ MacNeacail.

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