Eadarainn: A Sophabulous Steps and RoughCoastAudio collaboration, featuring Naomi Harvey (vocals), Lauren MacColl (violin/viola), Ewan MacPherson (tenor banjo/mandolin/guitar/ programming) and Sophie Stephenson (step dance). Nominated for Best Music Video, Filmg Alba Awards (2014).
Today, puirt-à-beul (Gaelic mouth music) is most often sung for listening to rather than dancing to, despite its deep routed connection with dance traditions. Eadarainn re-instates mouth music within the context of dance by setting an old port-à-beul to modern dance beats along with traditional step-dancing. The music, produced by RoughCoastAudio and strongly influenced by the music of Martyn Bennett, uses technology to push the boundaries of traditional sound.
The fusion of old and new is further expressed in the video which tells the story of a girl who reconnects with her Gaelic heritage; reconciling the differences between the past and the present; through dance and imagination. The music incorporates samples, including a recording of my great-grand-uncle, Angus MacLellan from Mallaig Bheag, made by The School of Scottish Studies in 1972. This accompanies shots of the girl as she find herself gazing out across a graveyard in a Highland glen and suggests how the language and heritage of the Gael is quite literally embodied in the land where the generations who have come before are laid to rest. The video resolves on the dance floor, where the Gaelic traditions of music and dance are very much alive. On a wider scale the film reflects the relevance of the past, and of our vibrant and thriving culture, to our sense of identity in Scotland today. As Martyn Bennett said in preface to the album 'Hardland':
"Try and find those things that make us Scottish. They are not necessarily Tartan, but are no less colourful. They are in the sound of the kick drum, the bass line, the distortion, the punk guitar, the break-beat. Try and see the old ways in new surroundings. The folk tune of long ago can be heard above the constant traffic of urban life: hear it in the roughness of the fiddle, hear it in the sweetness of the chanter. They are just as valid now as any of our technology, nae, they are more valid than any of it”.
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