Away With The Birds

Hanna Tuulikki’s ‘Air falbh leis na h-eòin’ is a body of work exploring the mimesis of birds in Gaelic song. On the 29th and 30th of August it becomes a sited performance on the Isle of Canna.

Hanna’s vocal composition, ‘Guth an Eòin | Voice of the Bird’ is the heart of the project. Written for a female vocal ensemble, it reinterprets archival material, fragmenting and re-weaving extracts of Gaelic songs into an extended soundscape. The music emerges from, and responds to, island landscapes and lives. It explores the delicate equilibrium of Hebridean life, the co-existence of tradition and innovation, and suggests the ever-present inter-relationship between bird, human, and ecology.

“The piece is made from weaving together fragments of traditional songs and poems that imitate or emulate birdsong” Tuulikki explains. “Each of the five movements represents a different habitat and bird community – wader, sea-bird, wildfowl, corvid, and cuckoo. In August we will perform the concert in the historic harbour of the beautiful Isle of Canna, where the music reverberates with the bird-calls and the ebb of the tide. The setting is so important to the piece. The Small Isles are a magical place and, to me, the performance begins as soon as people climb on-board the ferry-boat to make the crossing: the richness of the experience is people sharing a journey.”

Frames of reference



Hanna Tuulikki’s beautiful gestural images from her Dawyck visit speak of the correspondence between humans and trees, long celebrated in folklore and myth.

I found these wonderfully eloquent photographs at Walking With Poets via Hanna Tuulikki’s Diary.
I hope she won’t mind if I share them here. Continue reading “Venation”

Frames of reference

Voice Of The Bird

Hanna Tuulikki performing her composition, Voice of the Bird for female vocal ensemble, at Glasgow Tectonics Festival earlier this year. Note how they’re all dressed in black with red, oystercatcher legs. This short excerpt is courtesy of BBC Radio 3’s Hear and Now. This piece is at the centre of a larger project, Away with the Birds, exploring old Gaelic tunes that mimic birds, which will be performed next year on the Isle of Canna in the Hebrides. More details – Hanna Tuulikki: Away with the Birds.

Frames of reference