In the wake of Neil Gunn

Mike Vass ‘In the wake of Neil Gunn’


Traditional Arts Commission


In 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 project sees Mike Vass use the month of May 2014 to undertake a mirror voyage, finding inspiration for his own composing and re-visiting the communities Neil Gunn wrote about, performing celebratory concerts there.

With the voyage part of the project over (see the blog to find out what happened), Mike is now in the studio recording a new suite of music inspired by the journey. The music celebrates Scotland’s coastal communities, the inspirational joy of sailing, and Neil Gunn’s outstanding contribution to Scottish literature. Mike will be joined by some of Scotland’s most renowned musicians, including the Cairn String Quartet, Innes Watson, Hamish Napier, Jennifer Port and Euan Burton, to launch his ground-breaking new album.

The route was planned around the locations visited by Neil Gunn as described in his book, Off in a Boat: Duntulm, Skye; Portnalong, Skye; Eigg; Arisaig; Tobermory; Bunessan; Iona; Oban; Kentallen; Fort William; and finally travel up the Caledonian Canal to reach Nairn for a homecoming celebration.

Unroofed has also been working with film-makers Salmon Films to create a documentary about the project and some music videos to follow.

This project has been made possible by the support of Creative Scotland’s Quality Arts Production and Traditional Arts Commissioning funds, Enterprise Music Scotland, CalMac Ferries and House of Lochar.

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