Vocalists and musicians from across the UK and Ireland collaborated during a residency in Barscobe house in Galloway in September 2018.
During the residency the artists produced an original arrangement of Oran Bagraidh. The song was published along with the music ‘When the Kye Comes Hame’ by lowland poet James Hogg – the ‘Ettrick Shepherd’ (1770 – 1835). Though the song is relatively recent the melody is believed to be much older and it is this melody that the artists used.
Taking informed guesses as to pronunciation, the song is sung in its original format in a Lingua Gadelica*, combining Scottish and Irish Gaelic elements which, from the evidence of local place names, was the case with Gaelic in Galloway. The song is also rendered in part in Welsh phonetics, reflecting mention of Welsh place names in the song and the fact that early Welsh was spoken in South West Scotland until as late as the 12th century.
The artists then took the song as a springboard for further work which explores commonalities and differences between musical styles and languages, within the context of the historical diversity of Galloway. They worked on original compositions and arrangements inspired by Oran Bagraidh, the landscape and each other. Taking the theme of multiple identities they explored commonalities and differences between languages, regional histories and musical sensibilities, dipping into traditional, experimental and electronic.
*a phrase coined by Scottish Gaelic/ Irish poet Rody Gorman during the residency.