See all stories
3 Apr 2017

Sound archives inspire new Canna installation

Visitors alighting at Canna this spring will experience a beautiful installation inspired by the many archive recordings that are housed on the island.

The work has been created as part of a joint project between the Trust, the charity that conserves and promotes Scotland’s heritage, and the National Library of Scotland’s Connecting Scotland’s Sounds project.

Musician and artist Yvonne Lyon worked with the Canna community, visual artist Anne McKay and Canna Archivist Fiona MacKenzie to co-create the new multi-media installation which was premiered on Sunday 2 April at the Pier Waiting Room on the Hebridean island. 

Musician, Yvonne Lyon - Working as a Guest Sound Curator on Canna has been enormously inspiring. To have the opportunity to mine old archives and have space and time to re-imagine them, breathe new life into them, create new work and involve the community has been a profound privilege. Hopefully the new art created will encourage others to explore the old!

It celebrates the National Trust for Scotland’s Canna Sound Archive Collection – a unique treasure trove of audio recordings made from the 1930s onwards by folklorists John Lorne Campbell and Margaret Fay Shaw, who both feature throughout, and inspired the installation.

From Gaelic songs recorded by John Lorne Campbell and light-hearted recordings of Margaret Fay Shaw’s cat to new songs created by Yvonne Lyon and the Canna community, visitors to the island will enjoy a unique interpretation of Canna’s audio heritage.

Fiona Mackenzie, Canna House Archivist/Manager said: “Turning our little empty waiting room on Canna Pier into a welcoming, interesting and vibrant place for visitors and locals to learn about our island's heritage has been a wonderful experience.

"The community has learned about our own Canna Sound Archive and the potential that we have for using the 'old' to create the 'new'.

"It has re-opened the community’s eyes and ears to these treasures. It was also wonderful to work with professional creatives, whose activities the schoolchildren in particular have embraced fully! We thank the Connecting Scotland’s Sounds project for giving us this chance.”

Amy McDonald, Engagement & Learning Co-ordinator for Connecting Scotland’s Sounds said: “We are delighted to have supported this Guest Sound Curator residency on Canna. The creative collaboration between the Canna community and Yvonne Lyon will help share the island’s rich archive sound collection with new listeners.”

Connecting Scotland’s Sounds is a project based at the National Library of Scotland, championing the preservation and sharing of Scotland’s heritage sound recordings from 2016 to 2017 with support from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

The installation runs throughout 2017, in the Canna Pier waiting room.  


Explore Canna

Visit now