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Created in a storm – Diverse languages harmonise in Galloway

Ten leading traditional poets and musical artists have completed an exciting, multi-lingual residency in Galloway, Scotland.  The artists have been working together to create a new arrangement of the Galloway Gaelic Oran Bagraidh song as well as original compositions inspired by the song, the landscape and each other.  Taking the theme of multiple identities they have explored commonalities and differences between languages, regional histories and musical sensibilities, dipping into traditional, experimental and electronic.

The residency has involved award winning Scots/ Gaelic singer Josie Duncan, lauded Irish song archaelogist Lorcan Mac Mathuna, former Welsh poet laureate and singer Gwyneth Glyn, celebrated Irish Sean-Nós singer Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde, Belfast fiddler Conor Caldwell, ancient instrument virtuoso Barnaby Brown, poet, singer and performance artist MacGillivray, widely published poet Rody Gorman and medieval Welsh duo Bragod.

Despite a fierce storm causing a power cut in the middle of the recording sessions the musicians, poets and vocalists recorded new poetry and music, inspired by past peoples and languages of Galloway. The work features five languages, medieval instruments: lyre and northern triple pipes as well as fiddle, harp, accordian, whistle and electronics.   The work will now be edited by producer Ben Seal to be made into an album, set for release in February 2019.

Poet Rody Gorman, said: “This has been an extraordinary productive collaboration with, at its origins, an enigmatic element of the corpus of Gaelic tradition in Scotland and Ireland as well as other traditions.  It has been a very rewarding learning experience in a creative environment with recognisable mutual benefit.  The collaboration has involved new combinations in relation to language, music and literary forms.  A particularly pleasing element of the enterprise has been that the newly created material has emphasised the specifically local, as exemplified in the song Oran Bagraidh.”

Oran Bagraidh ‘Song of Defiance’ is allegedly the only surviving example of the extinct dialect of Galloway Gaelic, spoken across the region from the 5th to 18th century, alongside English, early Welsh and Scots.

The Oran Bagraidh residency is produced by Katch Holmes for Knockengorroch as part of the organisation’s Off Site programme.

Katch Holmes, Producer of Oran Bagraidh, said: “The week exceeded all expectations in the creative ideas and energy manifested.  There is some incredibly exciting work been recorded and I for one cannot wait for the next stage as that work is now crafted into an album. Everyone came to the residency with an open mind ready to share the wealth of talent and knowledge that they have and that shows in the work.”

The project is funded by Creative Scotland, Arts Council Ireland and PRS Foundation and supported by Barscobe Heritage Trust.

For press enquiries contact:

Katch Holmes 07872 964 986


Hannah Innes 07790 813 712

Permalink - Posted: September 25, 2018 at 9:10 am