Is­land’s dawn cel­e­bra­tion of Gaelic will tour Europe

The Herald - - NEWS - PAUL ENGLISH

AN out­door cel­e­bra­tion of the dawn and the Gaelic lan­guage staged at one of Scot­land’s most beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral land­scapes is set to tour from Skye to some of Europe’s ma­jor cities.

Ra­gadawn, a dawn con­cert that sees au­di­ences take part in an al-fresco salu­ta­tion of the ris­ing sun set to mu­sic and song, will be staged at Paris, Mar­seille, Barcelona and Ber­lin af­ter this morn­ing’s per­for­mance over­look­ing the Sound of Sleat and the Knoy­dart Penin­sula.

The per­for­mance, cre­ated by Nor­we­gian artist Caro­line Bergvall, uses mul­ti­ple “frag­ile” lan­guages from around the world in­clud­ing Gaelic, and aims to re­con­nect au­di­ences to “time, place and each other” while ob­serv­ing the sun­rise.

Fea­tur­ing com­poser Gavin Br­yars, so­prano Peyee Chen, per­former Ver­ity Sus­man and sound de­signer Sam Grant, the con­cert was set to be staged in the early hours of this morn­ing, on the roof of Skye’s Sab­hal Mor Os­taig, a col­lege on the south coast of the is­land, by Skye arts or­gan­i­sa­tion At­las Arts.

Ms Bergvall worked closely with mem­bers of the is­land’s Gaelic speak­ing com­mu­nity in work­shops in com­pos­ing the pro­duc­tion.

She said: “A lot of my in­ter­ests is to do with con­tem­po­rary and his­toric lan­guages. We set up a lan­guage sta­tion work­ing with poets and mu­si­cians at the Gaelic col­lege. Gaelic is a beau­ti­ful-sound­ing lan­guage and the process has been fas­ci­nat­ing

“Dawn is the time of day that isn’t cel­e­brated so much and I was in­ter­ested in trying to mark it, cre­at­ing a sec­u­lar rit­ual that brings peo­ple to­gether out­side the ex­pe­ri­ence we usu­ally have.

“It’s sort of an ex­tended sol­stice cel­e­bra­tion through sound and voice work. It cre­ates a sharp at­ten­tion to the very moment that we are in. The au­di­ence at­ten­tion is taken up by the birds, and the light and the song. Peo­ple en­joy be­ing taken out of their tracks. Get­ting to­gether for the sun­rise is some­thing very an­cient. It’s about a sense of recog­ni­tion, and it’s some­thing we never do.”

Ra­gadawn will now be restaged in Mar­seille next month be­fore tour­ing Europe in 2019.

At­las Arts di­rec­tor Emma Ni­col­son said: “Ra­gadawn fea­tures a num­ber of frag­ile lan­guages from across Europe. It’s im­por­tant for At­las Arts that we’re work­ing in Gaelic in a con­tem­po­rary way, and chal­leng­ing per­cep­tions about what kind of art­work can be pre­sented on this re­mote ru­ral is­land lo­ca­tion.”

„ The per­for­mance was cre­ated by Nor­we­gian artist Caro­line Bergvall.

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