My name is Zoe Macinnes, I am a young filmmaker currently studying in Edinburgh, but have come home for the summer to take part in an Internship at An Lanntair. The Internship enables me to film, photograph and write about the events An Lanntair hosts throughout the summer. On Wednesday the 19th of July, I attended the second Between Islands musical production organised by An Lanntair. Between Islands features musicians from the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland. Wednesday evening featured fiddle players Jane Hepburn (Western Isles) Louise Bichan (Orkney) and Maggie Adamson (Shetland) with their accompanying musicians, and could not have been a more fitting start to Stornoway’s very own Hebridean Celtic Festival.
The Hebridean Celtic Festival features music from all around the globe. To connect the The Western Isles with music from Islands that share our heritage is a rather special and appropriate beginning to a festival that celebrates traditions and differences with equal acknowledgement.
The night opened with the famous “Crossing the Minch’, again a fitting and relatable beginning. Each visiting musician had just made their journey across the Minch to perform in An Lanntair, and it felt like each member of the audience could not hold back a smile as they tapped their feet to the music. With the audience immediately captivated, the musicians played different sets from Lewis, Orkney and Shetland, with an interesting story behind where the tunes came from and why they chose to play them.
Personally I enjoy the sound of the fiddle, but I know next to nothing about the instrument or the music played on it. However, I could really tell the difference between each set. I loved the contrast of the Western Isles sets to the Orkney and Shetland sets, and I enjoyed learning a bit about their backgrounds. Each musician was interesting to watch individually, and each had an immense amount of talent and passion for the songs they played, whether it was on the piano, cello or guitar, but what struck me the most was watching the individual playing styles of Jane, Louise and Maggie, while simultaneously watching them move together as if they were one performer.
Earlier in the day I was lucky enough to film part of their rehearsals, at the time I believed I had been filming the final rehearsal out of many days, possibly even a week of rehearsals, only to find at the event that the majority of musicians had only met a couple of days beforehand. This highlights the quality of each musician as an individual and as a performer, and how well the event was organised. A perfect start to many of the events held at An Lanntair over the summer, and a special way to enter a festival that pays homage to music between all the Islands around the globe.
Zoe Paterson Macinnes