Island’s dawn celebration of Gaelic will tour Europe
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.”