An Lanntair Secures HLF Funding for India/Hebrides Exploration

  • Published on: 28th August 2015
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Dal & Photo of Dal & Aziz from the Asian Blues Collective

Purvai – Learning Through Mackenzie; A Shared Heritage Between Scotland’s Hebrides and India.

An Lanntair is delighted to announce that it has secured £9,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Sharing Heritage Programme to fund its Purvai project.


Purvai will be a transformational action research project, engaging researchers, volunteers and local people with the rich historical connections between Scotland’s Hebrides and India.

The axis and inspiration for the project is Colonel Colin Mackenzie, who was the first Surveyor General of India and collector extraordinaire.  Mackenzie was born in Stornoway in 1754, a stone’s throw away from where An Lanntair stands today.  Arriving in India at the age of 29 as an officer in the Madras Engineers, Mackenzie was captivated by the cultures of India, he spent the rest of his life  travelling exploring, surveying and documenting the ancient Cultures, arts, architecture, mythology and natural history of India.

The ‘Purvai’ project – meaning warm wind from the East – aims to connect the people of the Hebrides with the fascinating Mackenzie Collection; unlocking its potential as ‘the largest and oldest extant archive to be gathered by a single European… recognised as one of the most important archival sources in existence about the late pre-colonial periods of Indian History’.


The project will involve working collaboratively with the research community, volunteers and the local people of Stornoway and the Hebrides to undertake in depth research into the Colin Mackenzie Collection.


Purvai also aims to give artistic opportunities, providing the platform for ambitious creative projects that articulate and are heir to Mackenzie’s intrepid curiosity; splicing cultures, innovative, active, relevant, alive and present.

On Saturday 19th September 2015, An Lanntair will welcome Aziz Ibrahim, formerly of the Stone Roses, and Dalbir Singh Rattan, Leeds born Tabla player together they form AZIZ the Asian Blues Collective. This exclusive performance will celebrate the launch of An Lanntair’s ‘Purvai; Warm Wind from the East’ Project.

Aziz and Dalbir will also host a Q&A and jam session on Saturday 19th September at 2pm, allowing local musicians and music fans to informally interact with them, ask questions and learn from the musicians’ own extensive creative and professional journeys in the music industry; from Rock n Roll tours with Ian Brown, to the discipline and dedication of mastering a classical musical instrument.

For the full evening performance The Lewis pipe band will also make a special guest appearance alongside AZIZ, setting the scene for an extraordinary and powerful musical combination.

Project Curator Catherine Maclean said:  We are delighted to have been awarded this funding from HLF, it will now allow us to truly begin to explore, celebrate and utilise Mackenzie’s enigmatic collection. Placing it at the centre of creative learning and a source of inspiration within our community.  We are keen to begin this work and are extremely excited to welcome the talented and accomplished musicians Aziz Ibrihim and Dalbir Singh Rattan to perform here to launch the celebrations and project activities. The musicians’ own creative journey corresponds with the Purvai Project ethos; informed by tradition and heritage while simultaneously the artists have pushed at the boundaries of their art form and practice.”