Category Archives: Press releases

The Dead Stations on TRADtv

Category : Blog , News , Press releases

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Dead Stations are out of use platforms on a remote train line winding through the forested mountains. An unscheduled stop leads a passenger to leave the train and continue on foot, straying from the path.

At 5pm Monday 27th June internet TV channel TRADtv will be streaming a live programme about our latest show, The Dead Stations.

The Dead Stations is an inventive cross-arts project by writer/producer Charlotte Hathaway and composer/performer Mike Vass, described by Alan Morrison in The National as “…one of the most ambitious projects to emerge in Scotland this year so far”.

The piece aims to tell a story by interweaving audio drama and music album, with animated visuals to focus the eye.

It began life as a recording project, which came about as a result of the 2013 Remembered/Imagined project which commissioned pairs of composers and writers to create a collaboration of words and music inspired by the School of Scottish Studies Sound Archives. The pieces were then performed by Mr McFall’s Chamber, an actor and a singer. It was the first time Charlotte and Mike had worked together creatively and they wanted to develop this concept to create a longer, more ambitious and more immersive piece.

“…a satisfyingly unsettling tale, perhaps made more so by the serenely beautiful music” **** TVBomb

Since its initial conception the project has grown arms and legs, involving animators (Nica Harrison and Atikah Zailani) and sound designers (Lewis Jones and Yoann Mylonakis) from Edinburgh College of Art. It attracted brilliant contributing talent from the likes of Ishbel McFarlane and Tommy Herbert (voice actors), Mairi Campbell and Yoann Mylonakis (musicians) and guestsKathleen MacInnes, Ian Watt, Euan Burton and Scott Mackay. A live tour developed, climaxing at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh, and the full animated film was showcased at Edinburgh’s Hidden Door Festival at the start of June 2016. The two songs for the project will be released as singles, along with a specially commissioned animated music video by Gavin Robinson for ‘Eyes Fixed’.

“Charlotte Hathaway has conceived a performance that compels on a number of different fronts, each one of them mesmerising”Folk Radio UK

The show on TRADtv will feature a segment of the main animated piece, an interview with Charlotte and Mike, and performance by Mike Vass and Mairi Campbell. The live audience will be invited to send in any questions they might have for the team. You can watch the show and get in contact with the station here. The recording is available as a CD (featuring the artwork by the project’s animators) released by Unroofed Records.

It’s a story designed to be listened to: a mystery about loneliness and the mind, inspired by a train ride through Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest and the tale of Little Red Riding Hood.

For more information contact charlotte@unroofed.com

The whole thing was made possible with the generous support of Creative Scotland, Arts Trust Scotland and Edinburgh College of Art.


Press Release: Mike Vass/Mairi Campbell The Dead Stations

Category : Blog , Press releases

Press release

11th January 2016

DS flyer crop

Mike Vass and Mairi Campbell collaborate on exciting new project and tour

PRESS SHOTS OF MIKE AND MAIRI AVAILABLE HERE

 

Scottish musicians Mike Vass and Mairi Campbell have joined forces for the exciting new creative project The Dead Stations, which is touring Scotland in early 2016.

The Dead Stations combines live music, recorded audio drama and animation to tell the thrilling tale of what happens after a passenger alights at a deserted train station in a forest. The show is inspired by a train journey on a remote rail track, and by abstract ideas about Little Red Riding Hood.

Award-winning composer and multi-instrumentalist Vass has composed the music for the project. And in his first serious foray into songwriting, Vass has written the two stunning songs, Sleepless and Eyes Fixed, especially for the project. Vass’s last album In The Wake Of Neil Gunn was nominated for the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award 2015.

Campbell, who has just won Instrumentalist of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards, gives voice to Vass’s epic songs, which combine classical, electronic and pop influences.

Campbell and Vass will perform the score to The Dead Stations in the project’s launch tour, which culminates in a performance at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh. In the live piece, Campbell sings and plays viola and Vass plays tenor guitar and violin.

“I’m really proud of how the songs have turned out,” said Vass. “Mairi was the obvious choice for the songs and for this project. I love the tone, character and emotion that she conveys with her voice and with the fiddle.”

Campbell said: “I’m excited to be part of Mike and Charlotte’s vision to bring music and story together. Mike has such a unique and interesting songwriting voice. The songs he has written for this project are just gorgeous.”

The Dead Stations is written and directed by Charlotte Hathaway, an exciting new Glasgow-based writer, and is supported by Creative Scotland, Arts Trust Scotland and Edinburgh College of Art.

Vass and Hathaway first worked together creatively on the Remembered/Imagined project in 2013, which saw composers and writers pair up to create a new work that was performed by Mr McFall’s Chamber.

Hathaway said: “Mike and I wanted to build on our first creative project to make a more ambitious and immersive piece, and it’s been really exciting to tie all the different elements of that together. The actors, recording engineer, animators and sound designers have all been fantastic to work with, and Mike and Mairi are the most incredible musicians so this has been a creative dream team for me.

“In terms of the narrative of the story, I don’t want to give too much away at this stage. It’s quite dark, but I’m intrigued to see how the audience will feel about the characters in the end.”

**

HEAR SLEEPLESS ON SOUNDCLOUD:

soundcloud.com/mikevass/sleepless-feat-mairi-campbell

HEAR EYES FIXED ON SOUNDCLOUD:

soundcloud.com/mikevass/eyes-fixed-feat-mairi-campbell

**

Scotland tour dates

26 February – Skye @ SEALL Sabhal Mor Ostaig

27 February – Inverie @ Knoydart

28 February – Ardfern @ Craignish Village Hall

5 March – Banchory @ Woodend Barn

6 March – Drumnadrochit @ Glenurqhart Public Hall

11 March – Edinburgh @ Queens Hall – also featuring Yoann Mylonakis

ends

**

Editors’ notes

Twitter:

@saystheking (Mike Vass)

@mairimusic

@CRRHathaway

@UnroofedRecords

#deadstations

All show information www.charlottehathaway.com

Mike Vass, Mairi Campbell and Charlotte Hathaway are available for interview or comment

www.charlottehathaway.com

mikevass.com

www.mairicampbell.scot

 

About Mike Vass

Winner of the prestigious ‘Composer of the Year’ title at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards in 2012 and nominated ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ in 2014, Mike has been described as ‘one of the most original composers working in the field of acoustic music’ (Richard Lindsay, Ullapool Guitar Festival).

He is in great demand as a performer, composer, producer and teacher; regularly touring with Scots singer Fiona Hunter whose critically acclaimed debut solo album he produced and arranged. He has performed extensively in the past few years with a number of acts including leading Scots Song band Malinky, the Paul McKenna Band, The Battlefield Band, Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes, Siobhan Miller, Robyn Stapleton, in a duo with twin sister Ali, and with International super group Fiddle Rendezvous, featuring Bruce Molsky, Maryann Kennedy and Gerry O’Connor.

Mike’s New Voices Commission ‘String Theory’ debuted in 2010 at Celtic Connections, and was described as ‘the most direct and honest since the idea was first conceived … precision, subtlety and attention to detail’. One of the highlights, the avant-garde piece ‘Man’s Search’ inspired by Viktor Frankl’s best-selling book, was described as ‘utterly compelling’ and was subsequently featured by the Victor Frankl Institute in Austria to commemorate Frankl’s birthday.

In 2012 Mike went on to release his critically acclaimed solo project ‘DecemberWell’, a highly original, kaleidoscopic work inspired by the Scottish Winter month of December. In the summer of 2014  Mike undertook his most ambitious project yet: ‘In the Wake of Neil Gunn’, a Creative Scotland Traditional Arts Commissioning project featuring a mirror voyage of writer Neil Gunn’s 1937 odyssey and a new album of original music inspired by the trip. The resulting album was longlisted for the SAY Award 2015 and shortlisted for Album of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards 2015.

 

About Mairi Campbell

Mairi Campbell is an influential and pioneering figure in Scottish music. Her music has a rooted and powerful quality and her musical interests are wide ranging: from playing Scottish dance music to pushing the boundaries of the traditional music scene with her soundings and improvisations.

Mairi recently won Instrumentalist of the Year 2015 at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards; and has previously won Scots singer of the year and tutor of the year. She has also won the Live Ireland Music Award for best female musician of the year, as well as the award for best composition of the year.

Her voice was heard worldwide when her version of Auld Lang Syne (with David Francis as The Cast) was used in a pivotal scene in the film Sex and The City (2008). She has performed the song at the Kennedy Center Awards before President Clinton and at the Scottish Parliament.

Mairi is a skilled and experienced free improviser who has continuously developed her practice and found collaborators and mentors in this field. Most recently she has worked with Kath Burlinson (Authentic Artist Collective) and Paul Oertel and Nancy Spanier. She is also trained in InterPlay, a cross-form arts and community building practice. In 2007 Mairi founded her own music retreats on the Isle of Lismore.

 

**

For all press enquiries please contact Charlotte Hathaway on charlotte@unroofed.com or 07986121370


In the Wake of Neil Gunn @ Edinburgh Fringe

www.acousticmusiccentre.co.uk
www.madeinscotlandshowcase.com

The 10-track recording, recently nominated for the Scottish Album of the Year Award, featured samples of “found sound” recorded on the trip (from flapping flags to Tobermory clock chime) and live instruments captured later in the studio. Highly original and genre-hopping across folk, classical and electronic styles, it is a suite of music that ebbs and flows, variously subtle and symphonic.

At the Fringe shows Mike will be joined by some of Scotland’s foremost traditional musicians who also featured on the album. While Mike plays tenor guitar and masterminds the sampling, Jennifer Port plays oboe and clarsach (Celtic harp), Hamish Napier is on piano and flute, Euan Burton plays double bass and Innes Watson plays guitar. Adding to the filmic sound is The Cairn String Quartet of Katie Rush and Catherine Robertson on violin, Annemarie McGahon on viola and Susan Applebe on cello.

The performance will integrate traditional, classical and electronic elements alongside film, photography and spoken extracts from Gunn’s work – vividly evoking the moods of the sea, weather and landscape in one memorable musical-maritime experience.


PRESS RELEASE: New commission from Mike Vass

Category : Blog , Press releases

PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NOVEMBER 2014

COLLABORATIVE ARTIST JAN BEE BROWN LAUNCHES CROSS-ARTS PROJECT FEATURING PHOTOGRAPHY AND A NEW MUSIC COMMISSION BY MIKE VASS

10403076_352524491561619_4542633375739687403_nCollaborative artist Jan Bee Brown has commissioned Scottish fiddler and composer Mike Vass to write a suite of new music to accompany a pop-up exhibition, ‘Away Being’. It is part of a new cross-arts project called ‘Coming Home’, which was inspired by a series of photographs by Ian Paterson and John Maher, ‘Leaving Home’.

‘Leaving Home – A’ Fàgail na Dachaigh’ is a collection of photographs of abandoned croft houses by Ian Paterson and John Maher that was shown at An Lanntair in Stornoway in 2013. Jan Bee was inspired by the photographs and their stories, which told of the people who had abandoned these crofts. She envisioned a projected sequence of images accompanied by haunting music performed by groups of musicians appearing gradually as the sequence developed. She wanted to work with artists from different practices as well as community projects.

‘A collaborative art project is like skimming a stone across a pond,’ she explains, ‘an unusual pebble catches your eye, you weigh it in your hand, then you give it your best throw and hold your breath as you count the bounces. The pebble’s final ‘plop’ creates ripples of its own.’

This has materialised as ‘Coming Home – A’ Tighinn Dhachaigh’, a project funded by Enterprise Music Scotland which has engaged Scots Trad Award past winner and current nominee Mike Vass to work with Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin’s Big Band (25 young musicians meeting monthly at Summerhall in Edinburgh). During this process he has composed a new suite of music inspired by the photographs and the young peoples’ responses to a series of questions: What does coming home mean to you? How does leaving home make you feel? What makes Scotland feel like home?

‘We’re delighted to be involved in this project,’ says Charlotte Hathaway who directs the Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin Big Band. ‘Our goal is to really challenge our young musicians and take part in artistically exciting ventures. Coming Home has enabled us to be part of the creation of some gorgeous music and provided some fantastic performance opportunities.’

Informal pop-up exhibition ‘Away Being’ will premier the commission, ushering in 2015 by linking music, stories and visual art. The Big Band will be accompanied by live visuals from Video Lab’s VJ Mettje Hunneman and the exhibition will also feature photographs by Ian Paterson and John Maher with artwork by Liz Skulina, Catriona Taylor, Ulrike Oeter and Isabel Ferrand.

‘I’ve travelled all over the world this year,’ says Mike, ‘from touring in the USA to sailing the West Coast of Scotland in search of musical inspiration. Leaving home and coming home have become big themes in my life. It’s been really fascinating to develop these ideas with the young musicians from Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin.’

‘Away Being’ will be in residence in Gallery 1 at St. Margaret’s House from 15th December with a launch event 2pm-4pm on 4th January.

———————————————————–

Ends

Notes to editors

 

Away Being pop-up details

January 4th 2015 c/o Edinburgh Palette in Gallery 1 at St Margaret’s House, 151 London Rd, Edinburgh, EH7 6AE from 2pm – 4pm.

Parking at St Margaret’s House can be accessed via Restalrig Road South.

RSVP Jan Bee Brown: jbeebrown@mac.com

 

Mike Vass

Winner of the prestigious ‘Composer of the Year’ title at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards in 2012 and 2014 nominee for ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’, Mike Vass has been described as ‘one of the most original composers working in the field of acoustic music’ (Richard Lindsay, Ullapool Guitar Festival). He is in great demand as a performer, composer, producer and teacher; regularly touring with Scots singer Fiona Hunter whose critically acclaimed debut solo album he produced and arranged. He has performed extensively in the past few years with a number of acts including leading Scots Song band Malinky, the Paul McKenna Band, Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes, in a duo with twin sister Ali, and with International super group Fiddle Rendezvous, featuring Bruce Molsky, Maryann Kennedy and Gerry O’Connor. Mike’s New Voices Commission ‘String Theory’ debuted in 2010 at Celtic Connections, and was described as ‘the most direct and honest since the idea was first conceived … precision, subtlety and attention to detail’. In 2012 Mike went on to release his critically acclaimed solo project ‘DecemberWell’. A highly original, kaleidoscopic work inspired by the Scottish Winter month of December. 2014 has seen Mike undertake his most ambitious project yet: ‘In the Wake of Neil Gunn’, a Creative Scotland Traditional Arts Commissioning project featuring a mirror voyage of writer Neil Gunn’s 1937 odyssey and a new album of original music inspired by the trip.

www.mikevass.com

 

Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin

Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin is a volunteer-run organisation set up in 1995 by a group of parents who wanted to provide an opportunity for young people from across the city to come together and learn skills in traditional Scottish music. Over the past 19 years they have grown from strength to strength and, in addition to the hugely popular annual Easter event, EYG has a year-round programme of workshops and performance opportunities for young people aged 9 – 25. EYG has also developed several cross-cultural collaborations and runs the Big Band, which aims to bring 20+ high school-aged musicians together approximately once a month during term time to learn challenging new music, make group arrangements, and perform gigs.

Big Band performing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGDQjzs6Glo

www.eyg.org.uk

 

Leaving Home – ‘A’ Fàgail na Dachaigh’

Is a collection of stunning photographs of abandoned croft houses by Ian Paterson and John Maher that was shown at An Lanntair in Stornoway in 2013. www.leavinghome.co.uk

Ian Paterson www.camairish.com

John Maher www.theflyingmonk.co.uk

 

Jan Bee Brown & The Thrive Archive

The Thrive Archive was set up to research, celebrate and archive the stories of diverse community groups throughout Scotland using cross-art projects. From inner cities to remote islands Jan Bee has 25 years of experience working on collaborative projects as an artist, curator and theatre designer. This pioneering creative consultancy, driven by cake and bolstered by bunting, offers a new template for community groups and local artists to help create their own collaborative and sustainable arts projects that tell their story and help their community to thrive. www.facebook.com/thethrivearchive

Coming Home is a pilot project for The Thrive Archive.

Jan Bee Brown www.janbeebrown.co.uk

Liz Skulina http://lizskulina.co.uk

Catriona Taylor www.catrionataylor.co.uk

Mettje Hunneman of Video Lab www.videolabstudio.co.uk

 

Contact Jan Bee Brown jbeebrown@mac.com 07799852162


PRESS RELEASE: In the Wake of Neil Gunn Tour Dates

Category : Blog , Press releases

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PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SEPTEMBER 2014

MIKE VASS RELEASES TOUR DATES FOR HIS TRADITIONAL ARTS COMMISSION, ‘IN THE WAKE OF NEIL GUNN’

In 1937, Neil Gunn quit his job at the Customs Office in Inverness to pursue his writing career full time. The first thing he did was to sell his house and buy a boat in the North of Skye. He spent a summer sailing Scotland’s beautiful West Coast, seeking inspiration for his writing. The following year his account of the trip, Off in a Boat, was published. In May 2014, after a time recovering in hospital from a life-threatening illness, composer and multi-instrumentalist Mike Vass set off on his own voyage inspired by Neil Gunn’s adventures as part of a new traditional arts commission sponsored by Creative Scotland. This October will see the touring of this commission and release of a new album.

Named Composer of the Year in the 2012 Scots Trad Music Awards, Vass’s music has become known for its originality and inventive approach to the Scottish tradition. A long-term member of renowned Scottish band Malinky, Mike has also performed in the Paul McKenna Band, in a duo with sister Ali, with Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes, Scots singer Fiona Hunter and in the feted super group Fiddle Rendezvous.

In 2013, he experienced a set-back when he was diagnosed with Lyme’s disease and was obliged to spend a prolonged period of time in hospital. His father brought him Gunn’s book Off in a Boat to read, and the idea for the project was sparked.

Says Mike: “I’d suffered a life threatening illness called Neuroborreliosis – late stage Lyme’s disease that affects the central nervous system. I found Gunn’s book utterly inspirational and immediately started planning my own version of the trip.”

A lifelong passion for sailing fuelled the development of the project which enabled Vass to find his own creative inspiration in Gunn’s coastal route. In May this year, having won the support of Enterprise Music Scotland, Creative Scotland, Calmac Ferries and Gunn’s publishers House of Lochar, Mike and a small crew set off in his father’s 35’ sailing boat from Portree on the Isle of Skye voyaging to the Eigg, Arisaig, Mull, Iona, Oban, Kentallen, Fort William and back up the Caledonian Canal to his hometown Nairn. He revisited the same coastal communities as Gunn and performed a series of concerts with guest musicians, including one at Iona Abbey.

He says: “Making music on board and watching the stunning coastline of Scotland slip by from one of the most privileged viewpoints on Earth is something I will never forget.” Though intimately inspired by Gunn’s voyage and writing Mike said: “It is inescapably the story of my own reflections. It is a journey of recovery and discovery”.

artworks-000086755784-rbz2uv-t200x200Since the voyage Mike has worked hard in the studio to compose and record a new suite of music inspired by the journey and featuring recorded samples collected on the way (from flapping flags to a diesel inboard). Says Mike: “I used some quirky sounding objects from around the house – if you listen carefully you might hear a toilet seat lid, an office stapler and a paracetamol tub being used as a shaker!” Mike will now tour the album, joined by some incredible musicians (The Cairn String Quartet, Euan Burton, Innes Watson, JenniferPort, and Hamish Napier) and featuring live sample triggers and film footage from the voyage recorded by Salmon Films.

The tour will revisit some of the areas most important to Gunn: Inverness, where he had lived; Caithness, where he was born; and Skye and Oban which were landmarks on the original voyage. Mike himself spent a week moored in Oban where he worked with the local Fèis and performed in nearby Kentallen. Mike is also looking forward to revisiting The Byre Theatre in St Andrews at the start of the tour. This is one of the first events to take place in the Byre since the reopening of the theatre under the management of the University of St Andrews, and demonstrates the University’s commitment to using the Byre to promote music of all genres as well as professional, community and student drama.

  • 7th October, 7.30pm, The Byre Theatre, St Andrews
  • 8th October, 8pm, Eden Court, Inverness
  • 9th October, 7.30pm, St. John’s Cathedral, Oban
  • 10th October, 7.30pm, SEALL at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Isle of Skye
  • 11th October, 8pm, Lyth Arts Centre, Wick

‘Mike Vass – In the Wake of Neil Gunn’ will be released on the 20th October 2014 on Unroofed Records, and a preview track has been released as well as downloads of sheet music transcribed by Mike during a research period at the School of Scottish Studies before the May voyage.

ENDS

NOTES FOR EDITORS

About Mike Vass

Named Composer of the Year in the 2012 Scots Trad Music Awards Vass’s last highly acclaimed album Decemberwell (2012) was another instrumental CD conjuring up both the chill and the warmth of the final month of the year. A long-term member of renowned Scottish band Malinky, Mike has also performed in the Paul McKenna Band, in a duo with sister Ali, with Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes and in the feted super group Fiddle Rendezvous.

Also building a career as a producer (he produced Scottish songstress Fiona Hunter’s debut album last year) the Nairn-born tunesmith is known for his classy compositions – he wrote and performed the soundtrack for Gavin Robinson’s Scottish BAFTA-winning Hart’s Desire animation and his jig Cavers of Kircudbright won the inaugural Neil Gow Composition Award and has been recorded by artists from Scotland, Ireland, France and USA.

Contact

For interviews with Mike Vass, hi res images, gig review tickets and further albums for airplay or review please contact Jane Brace PR on (01243) 789554 or j.brace@virgin.net

For general information about the tour contact Charlotte Hathaway on 07986121370 or charlotte@unroofed.com

Neil Gunn

Neil Miller Gunn (8 November 1891 – 15 January 1973) was a prolific novelist, critic, and dramatist who emerged as one of the leading lights of the Scottish Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. With over twenty novels to his credit, Gunn was arguably the most influential Scottish fiction writer of the first half of the 20th century (with the possible exception of Lewis Grassic Gibbon, the pen name of James Leslie Mitchell). Like his contemporary, Hugh MacDiarmid, Gunn was politically committed to the ideals of both Scottish nationalism and socialism (a difficult balance to maintain for a writer of his time).

Gunn’s fiction deals primarily with the Highland communities and landscapes of his youth, though the author chose (contra MacDiarmid and his followers) to write almost exclusively in English rather than Scots or Gaelic . Despite his lack of Gaelic, he was heavily influenced in his writing style by the language.

Ticket information

http://www.lytharts.org.uk/

http://www.seall.co.uk/

http://www.eden-court.co.uk/

http://www.obanmusicsociety.org/

http://www.byretheatre.com/

Key websites

www.inthewakeofneilgunn.com – a blog about the project including diaries from the trip and videos

www.mikevass.com

www.unroofed.com

Media links

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/mikevass/01-settled-in-clay – official preview track from the new album

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nrj149fkl3g&feature=youtu.be

Twitter

@saystheking

@UnroofedRecords


PRESS RELEASE: In the Wake of Neil Gunn

Category : Blog , Press releases

TRADITIONAL ARTS COMMISSION: MIKE VASS ‘IN THE WAKE OF NEIL GUNN’

May 2014 will see renowned Scottish fiddler and composer Mike Vass undertake a mirror voyage of writer Neil Gunn’s 1937 adventure round the west coast of Scotland, performing community concerts along the way featuring stories, music and local history.

MikeVass-2In 1937 Neil Gunn sold his house, quit his job and went off in an old converted lifeboat for a summer to inspire his writing; voyaging around the west coast of Scotland. He wrote about the various communities on the way, and went on to become one of Scotland’s most prolific and creative fiction writers. This May Mike Vass will sail Gunn’s route, finding inspiration for his own composing and re-visiting the communities Neil Gunn wrote about; performing celebratory concerts there. He wants to inspire communities with Gunn’s stories about them, inviting them to explore the changes that have taken place since the writer’s initial visit. The end result will be a new suite of music to be toured around Scotland.

Mike will be joined by special guest musicians along the journey (including Jennifer Port, Hamish Napier and Innes Watson) who will perform as part of the community concerts; sharing musical ideas as they sail and in on-board sessions at port.

 

They will perform at:

2nd May, Red Roof Cafe Gallery, Isle of Skye, 8.30pm

9th May, Eigg Community Hall, Isle of Eigg, 9pm

10th May, Astley Hall, Arisaig, 8pm

17th May, Iona Abbey, 3.30pm (entry included in admission ticket to Iona Abbey)

17th May, Iona Village Hall, Iona, 8pm

24th May, Kentallen and Duror Community Centre, Duror, 8pm

1st June, Nairn Boat Club, 8pm

 

photo 2The project is already attracting attention, supported by Calmac Ferries, Enterprise Music Scotland, and Neil Gunn’s publishers, Colonsay-based House of Lochar. It has also received the backing of Creative Scotland’s Traditional Arts Commissioning Fund.

‘As soon as we heard of the plans to replicate Gunn’s trip,’ says Kevin Byrne of House of Lochar, ‘we contacted Dairmid Gunn, the author’s grandson and a former naval officer, and received his enthusiastic consent to support the project.  House of Lochar wishes Godspeed to the latter-day “Thistle” and all who sail in her.’

Mike wants to both connect with the Scottish coastal communities he grew to know through Gunn’s words, and find inspiration for his own writing.

‘The idea for the project came from time spent in hospital last summer,’ says Vass. ‘I had suffered a life-threatening brain insult and someone gave me this non-fiction book, ‘Off in a Boat’, to read while I recovered. I found it utterly inspirational. I was so excited by Neil Gunn’s account that I immediately started planning my own version of his trip.’

The project (following the masterminding of Fiona Hunter’s debut solo album and his own critically acclaimed experimental album DecemberWell) is Vass’s most ambitious venture to date. Its progress will be documented by Salmon Films, who will be making a film about the project.

‘We were inspired by the vitality of Mike Vass to reproduce Neil’s Gunn journey,’ says Conxi Fornieles of Salmon Films. ‘A real adventure in a very magical place.’

After a summer of writing and recording, Vass will return in the Autumn to tour the new album, featuring some of Scotland’s top traditional musicians and film footage captured on the voyage.

 

—ENDS—-

 

Notes to editors:

The project is based on Neil Gunn’s non-fiction work ‘Off in a Boat’, published by Colonsay-based House of Lochar (http://www.houseoflochar.com/) and reprinted especially for the project.

 

Unroofed Records is a new record label and live arts production company based in Glasgow working with a small roster of great Scottish artists: Fiona Hunter, Mike Vass, Mairearad Green and Innes Watson. Unroofed was founded in 2013 by Charlotte Hathaway and Mike Vass. With diverse backgrounds in creative writing and musical composition, a joint commission and opportunity for their own creative collaboration sparked a shared vision for Unroofed Records. Although hugely influenced by Scotland’s rich cultural heritage – Charlotte is a graduate in Gaelic and Scottish Ethnology and Mike is considered one of Scotland’s leading traditional musicians – Unroofed Records isn’t genre specific or limited in its interest. Both Charlotte and Mike are hugely inspired by cross-artform works and contemporary music. The company’s focus is on collaboration and past and upcoming projects include two adventurous collaborations for Fiona Hunter: with author Andrew Greig and Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes. ‘In the Wake of Neil Gunn’ will be Unroofed Records’ key launch project.

 

Mike Vass Biography:

Winner of the prestigious ‘Composer of the Year’ title at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards in 2012, Mike Vass has been described as ‘one of the most original composers working in the field of acoustic music’ (Richard Lindsay, Ullapool Guitar Festival). He is in great demand as a performer, composer, producer and teacher; regularly touring with Scots singer Fiona Hunter whose critically acclaimed debut solo album he produced and arranged.

He has performed extensively in the past few years with a number of acts including leading Scots Song band Malinky, the Paul McKenna Band, Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes, in a duo with twin sister Ali, and with International super group Fiddle Rendezvous, featuring Bruce Molsky, Maryann Kennedy and Gerry O’Connor.

Mike’s New Voices Commission ‘String Theory’ debuted in 2010 at Celtic Connections, and was described as ‘the most direct and honest since the idea was first conceived … precision, subtlety and attention to detail’. One of the highlights, the avant-garde piece ‘Man’s Search’ inspired by Viktor Frankl’s best-selling book, was described as ‘utterly compelling’ and was subsequently featured by the Victor Frankl Institute in Austria to commemorate Frankl’s birthday.

In 2012 Mike went on to release his critically acclaimed solo project ‘DecemberWell’. A highly original, kaleidoscopic work inspired by the Scottish Winter month of December.

 

Photo credits:

(Top) Archie MacFarlane

(Bottom) Mike Vass

 

Contact Charlotte Hathaway (Producer)

charlotte@unroofed.com

07986121370

 

Websites and social media:

www.inthewakeofneilgunn.com

www.mikevass.com

www.unroofed.com

www.salmonfilms.co.uk

@saystheking (Mike Vass)

@UnroofedRecords

@CRRMurray (Charlotte Hathaway)

Printimages (1) headerlogo (1)

 


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