r2vyln3rdioj14u-rld0ska where mountains meet the sea: November 2018

The morning after*



...We’re a citizenry of bonnie fighters,
a gathered folk; a culture that imparts,  
inspires, demands a rare devotion,  
no back-tracking; that each should work
and play our several parts to bring about
the best in Scotland, an open heart.

Happy St Andrew's Day!

*Scotland, 19th September 2014

The Four Pillars



The Four Pillars is a multi-media experience and musical suite from Scottish musician Mike Vass. Based on the four major tune types of the Scottish fiddle tradition – the slow air, the march, the strathspey and the reel –  Mike Vass
 
Fiddle Lauren MacColl, Mike Vass, Patsy Reid & Jenna Reid
Piano Tom Gibbs
Vibraphone & Percussion Iain Sandilands
String Quartet Violin Feargus Hetherington
Violin Colin McKee
Viola Asher Zaccardelli
Cello Laura Sergeant

Bhaltos



Artists film with aerial footage of the Bhaltos peninsula on the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Sounds of weaving Harris Tweed by local weaver Calum Buchanan and singing by Mairi Hearach. Filmed by Claire MacLeod as part of her artists residency run by the Bhaltos Community Trust and An Lanntair in 2017. - Dave MacLeod

The Wound in Time


 
On 11th November 2018, Shetland took part in Danny Boyle's national commemorative event, Pages of the Sea.

The National Theatre of Scotland led on the event which saw hundreds of people visit
St Ninian's Isle beach [as well as five other Scottish beaches] to create hundreds of silhouettes of soldiers in the sand, to represent those whose lives were lost. As the tide came in, the images were washed away, creating a poignant act of commemoration.
 
 
It is the wound in Time. The century’s tides,
chanting their bitter psalms, cannot heal it.
Not the war to end all wars; death’s birthing place;
the earth nursing its ticking metal eggs, hatching
new carnage. But how could you know, brave
as belief as you boarded the boats, singing?
The end of God in the poisonous, shrapneled air.
Poetry gargling its own blood. We sense it was love
you gave your world for; the town squares silent,
awaiting their cenotaphs. What happened next?
War. And after that? War. And now? War. War.
History might as well be water, chastising this shore;
for we learn nothing from your endless sacrifice.
Your faces drowning in the pages of the sea.


An Leòn an Tìm

’S e ’n leòn an Tìm a th’ ann. Fad linne, cha shlànaich
an làn le shalmadaireachd sheirbh e. Chan e an cogadh
gus crìoch a chur air cogadh ach àite-breith a’ bhàis; uighean
meatailt a’ diogadh, gan altram aig an talamh, a’ chasgairt
ga gur às ùr. Ach ciamar a bhiodh fios agaibhse, gu calma
a’ seinn mar chreideamh, a’ dol air bòrd nam bàtaichean?
Crìoch air Dia san àile phuinnseanach làn sgolban.
Bàrdachd ga tachdadh na fuil fhèin. Fairichidh sinn gum b’ e
an gaol dhan tug sibh ur beatha; ceàrnagan nam bailtean nan tost,
a’ feitheamh rin carraighean-cuimhne. Dè thachair an uair sin?
Cogadh. Is an dèidh sin? Cogadh. Is dè a-nis? Cogadh. Cogadh.
Dh’fhaodadh eachdraidh a bhith na sàl a’ bualadh a’ chladaich
oir chan ionnsaich sinn càil às ur n-ìobairt gun sgur,
is ur n-aodannan a’ dol fodha eadar duilleagan na mara.

Carol Ann Duffy, 2018

Boats, bikes, and soggy bums



This is a little video about bikerafting in the scottish highlands, and rediscovering the joy of doing something new for the first time.

Feum thu a ràdh a-rithist? / Do you have to say it again?



Bha Seòras Nìll, bràthair mo sheanar, a’ sabaid anns a’ Chiad Chogadh agus nuair a bha mi òg bhiomaid a’ dol a chèilidh air ann an Dalabrog. Bhiodh e uaireannan ag innse mu na h-uabhasan a chunnaic agus a dh’fhuiling e fhèin agus na mìltean eile an sin. Ach, tha cogadh fhathast againn agus nam biodhte ag èisteachd riuthasan a chunnaic agus a dh’fhuiling, ’s dòcha nach biodh dùthchannan agus ceannardan cho deònach a dhol gu cogadh buileach cho luath.

My grand-uncle fought in World War 1 and when I was young we’d go to visit him. He’d sometimes tell of the suffering of war. A century on, we still have wars raging throughout the world - if leaders knew first hand of the suffering caused by war, maybe they wouldn’t be so gung-ho about commencing battle. - Gillebride MacMillan


Feum thu ràdh a-rithist?

Thuirt thu rinn an-dè mar a bha,
’s an-diugh mar a tha;
Is canaidh tu a-màireach tha mi cinnteach
mar a bhios
Ach an èistear riut ag aithris do sgeòil,
No am feum thu a ràdh a-rithist, a-rithist ,a-rithist
Am feum thu, feum thu ràdh a-rithist?

Bha na daoine chunnaic is iad thall
Ag innse mun chall
Nuair a thill iad às an spàirn;
Air tighinn a-nall
Ma thug iad comhairle dhaibh
Diù dhiubh cha do ghabh
Rinn iad an sùilean dall an dèidh gach àm
Sùilean, rinn iad an sùilean dall.

Cha bhi sinne ag iarraidh ach sìth
Gun duine le dìth,
Is nach b’ fheàrr leinn bhith leinn fhìn
Mura bi
Ach tha sinn a’ seo a-rithist
Gan sìneadh sa chill
Fealla-dhà air dhol gu feala-trì
Fealla-dhà air dhol gu feala-trì



Do you have to say it again?

You said to us yesterday, how it was
And today how it is
And you’ll say tomorrow, I’m certain,
how it will be
But who will listen to your account?
Or will you need to say it again
and again and again
Do you need to say it again?

The people who saw it,
came back from the violent conflict,
having survived,
they told of the pointless losses;
but if they gave them advice,
it wasn’t heeded,
Imperial powers blinded, time after time,
their eyes clouded and blinkered

Is it too simple to want peace in the world
without forcing people into dire need
wouldn’t it be better to stop acting
in our name,
if they can’t
But we’re here again,
Laying them in their graves
The joke’s turned sour
The joke’s turned sour

A Boy's Own World



Performed by Nick Turner and Jim Hunter with Mary Ann Kennedy. Music & lyrics from the original song by Nick Turner and Findlay Napier.
 
In part inspired by interviews contained within Richard Van Emden’s beautifully written Britain’s Last Tommies” and particularly Alfred Anderson (Scottish Infantryman-Western Front), the last of the Old Contemptibles
 
“I told my parents and my father took the news very, very badly. The first thing he said was, "You’re only a laddie apprentice, you can’t go to war.” I said, "I’m not going to war. I’m just going to Dundee drill hall.” Mum didn’t say much; she was too upset.
 
'Your King and Country need you: a call to arms' was published on 11 August 1914 explaining the new terms of service and calling for the first 100,000 men to enlist. This figure was achieved within two weeks.  - Watercolour Music

Roinn An Fhearainn / Dividing Of The Land



This song is dedicated to those who fought in World War 1.

O 's ann tha na diùlnaich thall
Air an taobh ud dhen a' bheinn,
Fhuair iad fearann ann gun taing
Dhan luchd aingidh rinn am mealladh.
O 's ann tha na diùlnaich thall.

'S nuair a thuig na gillean còir
Gun robh 'n government fo sgleò,
'S nach robh gealltanas Lloyd George
Ach mar cheò a' falbh à sealladh.
O 's ann tha na diùlnaich thall.

Chruinnich iad is fhuair iad pìob
Am port a chluich iad Morair Sìm;
'S cha robh gille bha san sgìr'
Nach robh cruinn aig roinn an fhearainn.
O 's ann tha na diùlnaich thall.

O 's ann tha na diùlnaich thall
Air an taobh ud dhen a' bheinn,
Fhuair iad fearann ann gun taing
Dhan luchd aingidh rinn am mealladh.
O 's ann tha na diùlnaich thall.

O mo bheannachd aig na seòid
Choisinn cliù am blàr na h-Eòrp';
Fearann aca nis le còir
Fhuair iad e a dheòin neo dh'aindeoin.
O 's ann tha na diùlnaich thall.

O 's ann tha na diùlnaich thall
Air an taobh ud dhen a' bheinn,
Fhuair iad fearann ann gun taing
Dhan luchd aingidh rinn am mealladh.
O 's ann tha na diùlnaich thall.

Na Siaraich

Sìne Bhàn / Fair Jean


 
'Sìne Bhàn' (pronounced Sheena Van), which translated from the Gaelic means ‘Fair Jean’, was written [by Duncan Johnson, a composer and collector of songs] for his wife and expresses his concern about the first World War and how it would lead to his inevitable participation. He would have to leave Jean and his [Islay] home to go and fight for his country.  Will he return to his love, his Fair Jean? In this hauntingly beautiful song he writes that he hopes to come home safely to her and to the village of Baile Mhonaidh where they live. This song is particularly pertinent just now as we remember all those who fought and died for us in WW1. - Fiona Kennedy

Blàth nan cailean, Sìne bhàn
Flower of the girls, fair Jean
Reul nan nighean dìleas, òg;
Star of maidens, faithful and young;
Cuspair dìomhar i do m’ dhan,
Secret subject of my song,
Gràdh mo chrìdh’ an ribhinn òg.
Love of my heart, the young lass. 

Aros sona bh’ againn thall
A happy house had we over yonder
Airigh mhonaidh, innis bhò,
A moorland sheiling, cattle pasture,
Sgaoil ar sonas uainn air ball
Scattered was our happiness suddenly
Mar roinneas gaoth nam fuar-bheann ceò.
As the wind drives the mist from the cold mountains.

Bruaillean cogaidh anns an tìr,
The tumult of war was in the land,
Faic an long a’ togail sheòl,
See the ship raising sail,
Cluinn an druma ’s fuaim nam pìob,
Hear the drum and the sound of the pipes,
Faic na suinn, a’ dol air bòrd.
See the heroes going on board. 

Ma tha e ’n dàn mi bhith slàn,
If it my fate to keep my health,
Stadaidh ràn nan gunnan mòr,
When the sound of the big guns will cease,
Am Baile Mhonaidh nì mi tàmh
In Baile Mhonaidh I will stay.
Le Sìne bhàn, mo rìbhinn òg.
With fair Jean, my young lass.

from Tom Colquhoun's translations

Na Mairbh san Raoin

(Geàrr-Luinneag)

Bu shunntach iad a’ dol thar raoin na strì
      Tha ’n sin ’nan laighe sìnt’ an sàmhchair bhuain,
Bu bhlath caoin-aiteal gràidh o mhaoin an cridh’
      Mus d’thaom dubh-dhìle ’bhàis gu shlugadh suas.
Le umhlachd dhaibh a thuit an teas a’ bhlàir,
      Gu socair, sàmhach, cladhaich uiagh rin taobh,
’S ’nan èideadh-cogaidh adhlaic iad san àit
      An d’thuit ri làr le bàs don nàmh ’nan glaodh.
Tog tosdach iad, dom b’euchdan òirdhearc cliù,
      ’S le mùirn is dàimh leig sìos an ceann san tàmh
Nach crìochnaich tìm troimh shìorraidheachd an iùil;
      Dùin suas an dachaigh ’s fàg an neòinean àillt
A’ seinn am beus san deothaig mhilis chiùin;
      ’S mar chuimhneachan tog crois air laoich a bha.

1917


Murchadh Moireach, from the anthology In Flanders Fields: Scottish Poetry and Prose of the First World War  (ed. Trevor Royle)



The Dead in the Field

Eagerly they went across the fields of strife
    Who lie there stretched in everlasting quiet;
Warm was the tender breath of love from their heart’s wealth
    Before death’s black deluge flooded and engulfed it.
In obeisance to those who fell in the battle’s heat,
    Beside them quietly, silently dig a grave
And in their battle attire there bury them
    Where they fell down, death to the enemy in their cry.
Silently lift them, who won fame for glorious deeds,
    And with fond regard lay down their heads in the rest
Time will not end through the eternity of their course;
    Close up the dwelling, and leave the lovely daisy
To sing their virtue in the sweet breath of wind;
    And raise a cross as a memorial over warriors gone.


Murdo Murray (trans. by Ian MacDonald), from the anthology In Flanders Fields: Scottish Poetry and Prose of the First World War  (ed. Trevor Royle)