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3 Apr 2017

Sound archives inspire new Canna installation

Fuaim na Mara 8 – The Centre of my World – Yvonne Lyon, Canna

Transcript

The National Trust for Scotland
[A project from the National Trust for Scotland and Connecting Scotland’s Sounds]
Voice of Margaret Fay Shaw: I’m often asked if this is a lonely life. It’s not. People who work with animals are never lonely.
I remember visitors arriving on shore from a yacht on a lovely summer’s day. A neighbour was so busy making a bee hive. ‘You’re far from the world here’, said the yachtsman. ‘I am at the centre of my world’.
[tha mise aig meadhan mo shaoghail | I am at the centre of my world ...]

A lady sings:
Canna lights. Canna shores. Journeys collide. [Pooni, Lord & Master of Canna House]
Time to rest, feel the safety of harbour.
Canna fire. Canna soul. Star finds the light.
Time to stop, be content under dark skies.
Ancient song gathers here from a timeless place. [Peigi Macrae, Margaret Fay Shaw’s principal contributor]
Ancient love draws you here to the foot of space. [young Magda ...]
And just like a bee finds its home in a flower unfurled, I am at the centre of my world.
tha mise aig meadhan mo shaoghail

Canna sounds. Canna hush. Shelter of souls.
Time to dwell, hear the sigh of the ocean.
Canna myth. Canna gold. Stories unheard.
Time to stay, see the water rising.
Ancient song gathers here from a timeless place.
Ancient love draws you here to the foot of space.
And just like a bee finds its home in a flower unfurled, I am at the centre of my world.
tha mise aig meadhan mo shaoghail

[Recorded voices speak over this verse]
Wrack of sea of ages
Earth to the sky
Ways of crystal lava
To the eagle soaring high [Magda and John ...]

And just like a bee finds its home in a flower unfurled, I am at the centre of my world. [orain luaidh | waulking songs]
And just like a bee finds its home in a flower unfurled, I am at the centre of my world.
tha mise aig meadhan mo shaoghail
tha mise aig meadhan mo shaoghail
[Margaret and John Campbell in Canna House]

[John Lorne Campbell Oct 1 1906 – April 25 1996
Margaret Fay Shaw Campbell Nov 9 1903 – Dec 11 2004]
[All images and film from the Fuaim na Mara project and the Canna Film and Photographic collections National Trust for Scotland. Music by Yvonne Lyon.]
[Scotland’s Sounds – Connecting our audio heritage]

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, our 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.

Quote
“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!”
Yvonne Lyon, musician

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.  

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