Away with the Birds will be performed by a female vocal ensemble in the beautiful harbour of the Isle of Canna, where the music reverberates with the bird-calls and the ebb of the tide.
Hanna Tuulikki is a Glasgow-based artist and composer. Away with the Birds is her most ambitious work to date. Selecting Gaelic song from historical archives, she has sought out extracts and fragments which imitate birdsong and rewoven them into an extraordinary soundscape. Each of the five movements represents a different habitat and bird community – wader, sea-bird, wildfowl, corvid, and cuckoo.
Away with the Birds was conceived for and inspired by the Isle of Canna. Hanna’s longstanding relationship with its ecology, birdlife, and history has seen her form a strong bond with the community. The archive of songs and tales assembled by the folklorists John Lorne Campbell and Margaret Fay Shaw, and kept in Canna House, has been one of the main sources for her composition.
Experiencing Away with the Birds on Canna
Hanna explains: ‘The setting itself 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 experience of voyaging and crossing over is the heart of the project.’
On the ferry out to Canna, people might be lucky enough to see dolphins, whales, or basking sharks, as well as a myriad bird species.
The Isle of Canna is steeped in Gaelic tradition and the audience will be welcomed with Hebridean hospitality on the lawn of Canna House before taking their seats down by the shore.
Then, as the tide comes in, the blending together of haunting music, the natural surroundings, the culture of Canna and the islands of the Hebrides beyond will begin.
Why YOU are important
Without your support, the vital parts of Away with the Birds on Canna that we've listed below simply won't happen and the experience for those who make the journey to this special island, whether audience or performer, will be diminished.
To create a brilliant experience we're trying to raise £5,950 for:
Beds for cast and crew – bringing 25 people onto a tiny island is a huge challenge. We need ten inflatable beds for the house the Canna community are kindly providing. They will remain on Canna, to be used by the community for other visiting theatre and music groups and for Feis Cannaidh. Each bed costs £90 - total £900 - and bedding (duvet, pillow, sheet, cover & pillowslip) a further £500.
Waterproof, warm costumes – the vocalists will be performing in the sea, so they need new waterproof, warm costumes made especially for the performances on Canna. Made of neoprene, these cost £200 each. For 9 singers plus an understudy, that's £2,000.
To keep the technical team warm and dry during rehearsals and performances we need breathable waterproofs - total £300. We also need to weatherproof the sound equipment - total £500.
Seating - we will be providing the audience with a waterproof cushion or a fold up chair. 30 Waterproof Cushions costing £15 each comes to £450, while 30 collapsible chairs costing £25, another £750. Both the cushions and chairs will stay on Canna for the community's future use.
Lastly, it's not glamorous, but it's vital! For those who want to stay over and camp we need to provide an extra loo at a cost of £550.
Get your own Red-shanks
Please support us if you can. Our range of rewards from the modest to the sublime all aim to reflect different elements of what makes this project so special. From red socks to rehearsals, from prints to guided walks and performance plus pampering at Tighard, Canna's luxury guesthouse. We hope there's something for everyone to love.
This is a 30-day all or nothing campaign. So if we don't raise our target we don't get any funds that have been pledged. So if you can, support us early, share and shout about Away with the Birds on Canna.
The Canna Community & their tradition of welcome
The Isle of Canna has always provided a welcome for artists and musicians from around the world, most famously when John Lorne Campbell and Margaret Fay Shaw lived in Canna House from 1938 to 2004.
Everyone on this small gem of an island is involved with Hanna’s project in some way, helping with the research, contributing knowledge, or sharing the Gaelic names and traditions of the island. This summer, members of the community will take their place in the production team, and provide hospitality and accommodation.
We invite YOU to become a part of Away with the Birds, by supporting Hanna and the community on the magical Isle of Canna in this crowd-funding campaign.
We look forward to welcoming you to Canna this summer.
Hanna Tuulikki & Creative Team
Away with the Birds is a collaborative project created by an inter-disciplinary team:
Composer, vocalist, artistic director - Hanna Tuulikki
Producer - Suzy Glass
Vocalists - Anna Sheard, Judith Williams, Kirsty Law, Lucy Duncombe, Megan Henderson, Kim Carnie, Mischa Macpherson, Nerea Bello, Nichola Scrutton
Field recordings – Geoff Sample
Costumes – Deirdre Nelson
Dramaturg – Nic Green
Gaelic mentor – Mary Smith
Film-maker – Daniel Warren
Photographer – Alex Boyd
Song/Poem/Score Translations – David Wheatley and Alec Finlay
Sound engineer – Iain Thompson
Assistant producer – Emmie McKay
Project Manager – Nick Millar
Site Manager – Lucy Conway
A ticket for a performance on the 29th and 30th August is included in some of our rewards. You can also buy them through our website.
Gallery, videos, music and more ...
Video - Away with the Birds, a taster
Audio - Extract from Away With the Birds performance at Tectonics in Glasgow in 2013:
Risks and challenges
We feel we have most of the risks and challenges facing this project under control. Of course, the one thing we can't take charge of is the weather. So we're making sure we provide lots of cover and warmth for audience members: proper highland hospitality. If the worst does happen and it rains or blows, there will be places for people to shelter, plus tea and cake available on tap.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)