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11. Caismeachd Bho Bhlàr Chàirinis – March from the Battle of Carinish
2. Baleshare Rowing Song
3. Se Saoghal Beag A Th’ann – it’s a Small World
4. Ruidhle Do Steàrnan Beag
5. A’ Fàgail Na Dachaigh – Leaving Home
6. Udal Waulking song
7. Fàilte

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Suite Uist

3Twenty five minutes of new traditional music written and arranged for 3 violins, viola, flute, accordion, guitar, piano, Scottish small pipes, vocals. Written in traditional Gaelic music forms including: March, Slow air, Waulking song, poetry, rowing song, two sets of reels this music is inspired by the landscape, culture, history, community of Uist in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, which has been the base for my practice as a musician, composer and pedagogue for the past 17 years. My aim in this music was to be able to write music as a non-native, which could be as close to the traditional forms as possible and to see if it was possible through my art form to demonstrate a strong sense of identity and understanding of this particular space and traditions. Traditionally many Gaelic musical forms would be unaccompanied, or sung in unison, played on the pipes – and in this respect my music as ‘arranged’ and orchestrated departs from this. However I have adopted the approach to accompanying traditional music as identified by Bartok, Grainger and Stevenson which endeavours to use notes generally found within the melody itself – essentially using the same musical DNA in the accompaniment as a form of preservation, retaining the integrity of melody and indeed highlighting it. I subscribe in my practice to the term folk song collector Hamish Henderson’s referred to as the ‘carrying stream’, of traditional music in which repertoire is passed on, re-interpreted; and a healthy living tradition is one that is contributed to. Suite Uist provided a wonderful teaching and collaborative tool, modelling to my student collaborators, contemporary creative practice in traditional music; composition, arrangement, performance and recording and to discuss the cultural sensitivities. I am as passionate about teaching, passing on tradition as I am about the creative practice itself; indeed I see all these elements as interrelated and interdependent and so this project represents to me somewhat of a liminal zone where I have brought these elements together in praise of the place where I have dedicated most of my professional life in the development of tertiary music education and arts engagement. Suite Uist has been performed in Scotland and Canada and was recorded as part of a collaboration between myself, UHI staff and students and with musicians from Dorset’s Soundstorm Music Education Agency, with whom I have formed the Far Flung Collective. Tunes from Suite Uist have now made their way into the carrying stream of traditional music – appearing as parts of other musician’s performance sets and recordings.

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References

Electronic reference

Anna-Wendy Stevenson, “Suite Uist”Angles [Online], 17 | 2024, Online since 01 June 2024, connection on 17 July 2024. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/angles/7825; DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/11qjc

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About the author

Anna-Wendy Stevenson

Anna-Wendy Stevenson is third generation in the Stevenson family line of composers/performers and has performed and delivered workshops in traditional Scottish music world-wide and curated and directed events for a wide range of organisations, communities, media groups and festivals in the UK, Canada, USA, Australia and Europe. Her fiddling, reputed for its swing, drive and beautiful phrasing, has been honed through years of playing with an array of Scotland’s musicians including the legendary Jock Tamson’s Bairns and the classic Bella McNabs Dance Band. Her own compositions include, 'My Edinburgh’, a homage to her home city and for which she was nominated for the BBC MG Alba Composer of the Year; and 'Suite Uist' which was recorded with the Far Flung Collective, and has been performed in Canada, England and Scotland. She has produced several albums and recorded on many, collaborating with artists including with her late Grandfather Ronald Stevenson on Gowd and Silver, the Simon Bradley Trio, the Far Flung Collective, James Ross, Fine Friday, Gillebride MacMillan, Patsy Reid and Jim Sutherland’s Commonwealth Games Commission ‘Children of the Smoke’.  She is a member of An Tinne, the Gaelic music production which explores the story of one family’s experience of the Highland Clearances in 1852 through the use of Gaelic, Scots, modern Australian and First Nation artists. Anna-Wendy has led the traditional music programmes for the University in the Outer Hebrides designing and delivering dynamic courses which have produced many of today’s award-winning traditional musicians. In her role as Programme Leader for the networked BA Applied Music with the University of the Highlands and Islands, she has developed many community and professional industry partnerships and manages a large cohort of distributed students and teaching staff across the UK. Education projects include: ‘Far Flung Corners’ -a collaboration and cultural exchange with partners Soundstorm Music Education Agency from Dorset, ‘Fuaran nan Eilean’ – a heritage research project in partnership with Feisean nan Gaidheal and ‘Òrain na Cloinne Bige’ – music for a new Gaelic language Early Years online app.  Awards include the Collaborative Award in Teaching Excellence 2022,  MG Alba Scots Trad Music Tutor of the Year 2018, University of the Highlands and Islands Most Engaging Video Conference Lecturer of the Year 2016, and her work with the community education project, Far Flung Corners was recognised in the finals of the Herald Higher Education Awards 2017.  

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Copyright

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The text only may be used under licence CC BY 4.0. All other elements (illustrations, imported files) are “All rights reserved”, unless otherwise stated.

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