Air falbh leis na h-eòin – Away with the Birds

Hanna Tuulikki's Complete Audio Diary

28 June 2013

Tighard House Photo by Hanna Tuulikki

Listen here to an extract from Hanna’s diary: Voices at Dusk

Compass Hill, Canna. Photo by Hanna Tuulikki


29 May 2013

Listen here to an extract from Hanna’s diary: Tracing Lines

19 April 2013

The creation of Air falbh leis na h-eòin: Hanna on tumblr

14 January 2013

Listen here to an extract from Hanna’s diary: Meeting Mary

Mary Smith and Hanna Tuulikki. Photo by Suzy Glass


New research suggests birds, like humans, are ‘moved’ by song: read here

23 September 2012 – Air falbh leis na h-eòin/Away with the Birds performed in St Edward’s Chapel, Sanday

Photo by Johnny Lynch (@pictishtrail)

It was quite an amazing piece of music, full of unexpected twists and turns: wild bird calling, mixed with beautiful harmonies, wee touches of humour and a sense of the history of the land and its people. The remoteness of the location, with a bumpy boat ride and winding walk round the bay to such an intriguing building all added to the charm and gave it almost a feeling of a pilgrimage It was a lovely day out, and very exciting glimpse into what looks like being an exceptional project.
(Eva Schonveld, Isle of Eigg)

Thanks for lovely day out. Great boat trip; wonderful to see Canna. Music unusual, interesting and very, very good. Wonderful choice of venue with incredible acoustics.
(Sue Hollands, Neil and Struan Robertson, Isle of Eigg)

It was a great experience to be able to hop onto another island in the Small Isles (and one that is hard to visit for us since the ferry timetable does not allow for day trips to Canna from Eigg) to hear such an amazing piece of vocal music after enjoying the Canna landscape in that superb autumn light. It was truly moving to hear how the nature and wildlife as well as the Gaelic culture of our Hebridean islands could have inspired such a beautiful and original work. It was also great to have succeeded in getting St Edward’s Chapel opened to the public for the performance, as it is such great shame to have had it mothballed since its inauguration, which now seems light years ago. The performance showed the potential of that space as a concert venue and I do hope that NTS on Canna will realise how much they could use this space for the enjoyment of the visiting public. Keep up the good work, and let us know how the show develops! We need more art pieces inspired by our island environment.
(Camille Dressler, Isle of Eigg)

Despite following the project quite carefully, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I wasn’t really sure whether the music would be enjoyed or resonate with my fellow travellers. So with nervous anticipation I made my way to Canna. It could not have been a more inspiring day. The might of the sea and landscape. The hold of the island on the eye, the ear, the heart. And beautiful music, more than music; swooping and swirling sounds in and round my head and imagination, just like the seabirds outside as we walked back to the boat. Karen closed her eyes and was back with her daughter on the cliffs of Shetland. I heard Gaelic words and refrains I’d forgotten existed. As I looked around the beautiful haunted St Edwards I saw smiles, calm contemplation, excitement and wonder. My worries that a contemporary composition comprised of bird song and Gaelic would be somehow distant and alien to me and my fellow islanders ears, vanished. I wanted to hear it again as soon as it had finished. Thank you
(Lucy Conway, Isle of Eigg)

Geoff Sample, Mary Smith on Canna



20 Sept 2012

Listen to an extract from Hanna’s diary: Singing in Spring

19 Sept 2012

Listen here to an extract from Hanna’s diary: Learning to speak ‘Bird’

17 Sept 2012

Listen to an extract from Hanna’s diary: Collecting Lore

13 Sept 2012

Listen to an extract from Hanna’s diary: “Glì-ug, glì-ug”, says the Eagle “my son is lord over all”

Listen to White-Tailed eagles, Canna. Recorded by Geoff Sample:

Photo (above) by Olivia Uney / Canna Mouse Photography. See Olivia Uney’s Canna photographs:

1 Aug 2012

Photo by Suzy Glass

Listen to an extract from Hanna’s diary: Evening Light

11 July 2012

Listen to an extract from Hanna’s diary: We walk west, we walk east

5 July 2012



  1. Esther Juon says:

    Dear Hanna,

    I just had the great pleasure of listening to your first day on Canna and I loved it. You speak so very nicely and I loved all the sound effects too. Can you send me more extracts like this? Just loved it! Esther

  2. Philip Andrews says:

    A beautiful.observant and lyrical spoken diary Hanna. Lets have more!

  3. Amanda from Canna says:

    “Life on an island isn’t easy. It’s full of tensions, both manmade and natural. The people who live on Canna have the elements to contend with and bask in, their relative isolation to battle with and glory in, relationships with one another to cherish and stumble over. There’s at once nowhere to hide, and a whole unpopulated island in which to lose yourself.”
    These words are perfectly poignant to us here on Canna, to those who have remained, those who have tried and left, to those yet to come. Look forward to seeing this project come to fruition and ‘canna’ wait for more…. ahem (it never gets boring!)

  4. Jean related to Duncan Chisholm from Canna says:

    My forebears left Canna during the Clearances, but I have yet to visit -and canna wait! I followed your description of your first day with great interest, so thankyou for painting a picture for me Hanna with your description of the land around you as you walked – perfectly poignant even for someone who realised that I was “seeing” my origins through the eyes of another!! Yes, I must visit and witness for myself the land that my forebears saw and worked – but for these people (amongst others!)I wouldn’t exist!….so very hopefully I will see some record of who stayed where and when! Thankyou once again!

Deirdre Nelson, Inge Thomson. Sleeping Starfish @ The Glad Cafe as part of Luminate, with Fraser Fifield, Kerri Whiteside

Glad Cafe, Glasgow. 15 October, 7.30 pm. £5

Surrounded by a relentless sea, Fair Isle is an island of strong traditions and fierce beauty. Celebrating this, and running in support of the island’s bid for marine protected status, two artists are knitting together waves of sound and yarn, stories and starfish. Sleeping Starfish is both a work of environmental advocacy and a portrait... Read More ›

Working the Map: Islanders and a Changing Environment

A portrait of the Northern Isles with art work by John Cumming

Beautiful artists’ book by John Cumming: Working the Map – islanders and a changing environment Available from just £9.99 Shetland/Orkney artist and Sea Change commissioned artist John Cumming has created and edited an artists’ book documenting social and ecological change across the Northern Isles. Produced in partnership with Orkney Nature Festival, the book includes... Read More ›

Andy Crabb’s film portrait of Inge Thomson’s Da Fishing Hands

May 2014

In 2014, Sea Change artists Andy Crabb, Deirdre Nelson and Jennifer Wilcox, with filmmaker Peter Cutts, returned to Fair Isle with Inge Thomson and her band to record the premiere of Inge’s song cycle, Da Fishing Hands. The first performance took place in Fair Isle’s community hall in May 2014, and Da Fishing Hands has... Read More ›

James Brady. though everything was gone, we would stay

‘The essence of Orkney’s magic is silence, loneliness and the deep marvellous rhythms of sea and land, darkness and light’ George Mackay Brown See the film here: though everything was gone, we would stay Artist and curator James Brady joined the 2013 Northern Isles expedition, sailing from Orkney to Shetland via Fair Isle on Shetland community-owned... Read More ›

Deirdre Nelson’s The Kildas project returns to the Glad Cafe Glasgow, with Jason Singh, Inge Thomson, Hanna Tuulikki, Mischa Macpherson and Borderline Theatre

Thursday 26 January 2015, 7pm

DStitch presents: The Kildas + Seachange Thursday 26 February @ The Glad Cafe, Glasgow In partnership with Cape Farewell, the Kildas project will present an evening at Glad Café,  26th February 2015 7pm. Cost £5 The evening will partner the remote islands of St Kilda and Fair Isle in an evening of islands, songs and loops... Read More ›

Inge Thomson’s Da Fishing Hands in Celtic Connections

23 January 2015

‘Some of the finest music and poetry ever to have emerged from these fair isles’. Fair Isle musician/singer/composer (Fair Isle is full of multi-taskers) Inge Thomson brings her haunting and mesmerising Da Fishing Hands to the Tron Theatre, Gladgow, during Celtic Connections in January 2015. Written with Fair Isle poet and singer Lise Sinclair, Da... Read More ›

Julie Fowlis Band win Scots Trad Music Award

13 December 2014

Congratulations to Julie Fowlis and her band, who have won best group of the year at the Scots Trad Music Awards 2014. Julie was recently the first Gaelic singer to be honoured with a ‘Tartan Clef’ Scottish Music Award. Julie sailed on the 2011 Sea Change Western Isles expedition. See the full list of awards... Read More ›

Away with the Birds returns to Canna: Review

Hanna Tuulikki

Click here to read the Away With The Birds Review from The Scotsman  › Costumes by Deirdre Nelson Read More ›

Mathematics, making and birding

Deirdre Nelson

  Fair Isle bird made by Tommy H Hyndman At Da Fishin’ Hands premiere at the community hall I noticed a beautiful Fair Isle jumper in shades of mossy green and later discovered that the wearer was Inges grandfather Stewart, a retired Light House Keeper, fiddle player, spinner and spinning wheel maker.  His wife Annie... Read More ›

Fair Isle treasures

deirdre nelson

  On Saturday morning we made our way to  the rock pool at at Muckle Uri Geo. Ready and waiting were a group of young islanders armed with small fishing nets alongside Nick Riddiford, a passionate Fair Isle ecologist.  As they dispersed on their mission, Nick told us about the area and the many species... Read More ›

‘An eye to the Windward’: Sea Change on Fair Isle

Ruth Little

Anne Sinclair points at a narrow yellow pine door leaning against a wall in the Fair Isle Museum: ‘When I was growing up, nearly all the internal doors in people’s houses were from shipwrecks.’ Fair Isle may be largely treeless, but there’s wood to be had. Over some 5000 years of settlement here, the sea... Read More ›

Data and culture rich

Deirdre Nelson

Due to a rather atmospheric blanket of fog I arrived into Fair Isle two days and 1 hour late.  From my first glimpses of the island from the ferry, it was well worth the wait, and Inge Thompson, on a break during rehearsals and preparations for her performance Da Fishing Hands, was there to greet... Read More ›

Lost Birds and Fishing Hands: Getting our Bearings on Fair Isle

Ruth Little

  It’s a Caspian Stonechat, and it’s lost. Its feathers are spiked with rain, and it seems to have a hacking cough. It’s been on Fair Isle for a month, and the word around the island is that it’s unlikely to see the Caspian Sea again. ‘Blown off course, all of them’, says one of... Read More ›

Skye Loneragan and Q-Poetics: Culture 2014

XX Commonwealth Games

Poet/performer Skye Loneragan took part with Cape Farewell in Glasgow’s Merchant City Festival at the Ramshorn Theatre, hosted by GalGael in 2013. Skye is Q-Poet at the Commonwealth Games Glasgow 2014. Q-Poetics is a Culture 2014 project placing poets and poetry in places and spaces of of waiting. See Skye’s video-poems at Skye Loneragan is... Read More ›

Grounded (Freumhaichte/Wadlu-Gnana). Judith Parrott

An Lanntair, Stornoway: 13 September - 11 October

Grounded is an exhibition of photographic prints, audiovisual, sound and prose, resulting from residencies with Gaelic speaking communities of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland and with Wangkangurru, Arrarnta and Arrernte people of the Central Australian Desert. The exhibition was launched at XX Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014. Follow Judith’s Grounded blog at Arriving in Steòrnabhagh (Stornoway) The... Read More ›

Andy Crabb’s short film Sea Changes

Part 1 documents the Orkney Expedition

Sea Changes, part 1 featuring Karine Polwart from Andy Crabb on Vimeo. Filmmaker and SAMS artist-in-residence Andy Crabb joined Cape Farewell’s Northern Isles expedition in August/September and reflects here on the first days of sailing in Orkney waters. Sea Changes is the first part of a film about Cape Farewell’s Northern Isles expedition, on board... Read More ›

Karine Polwart sings Freedom Come All Ye in Orkney’s Italian Chapel   Read More ›

The Swan Northern Isles Expedition

See the 2013 Expedition site

In August 2013, Sea Change set sail with two crews of artists and scientists from Orkney to Shetland via Fair Isle. Sailing on 113-year-old community owned Shetland Fyfie The Swan, the journey took us around Scotland’s most northerly coasts and islands. Click here for Expedition site >   Read More ›

Sexy Peat / Tìr mo Rùin. Highland Print Studio/Cape Farewell: Year of Natural Scotland 2013

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery 8 March - 5 April 2014

Following the success of Sexy Peat/Tìr mo Rùin as part of Sea Change at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, the exhibition transfers to Inverness Museum and Art Gallery in March-April 2014, before returning to its island of origin at An Lanntair, Lewis. Sexy Peat/Tìr mo Rùin artists: Anne Campbell: Jon Macleod: Kacper Kowalski:... Read More ›

Things Unspoken / Things Unseen. Andrea Roe, Anne Bevan

Book launch 20 August 2013 at Pier Arts Centre, Orkney

Things Unspoken Things Unseen by Anne Bevan and Andrea Roe 2 volume artist book Things Unspoken Things Unseen, by Anne Bevan and Andrea Roe, was launched with Cape Farewell’s 2013 Swan expedition at the Pier Arts Centre in August 2013.  Including contributions by Janice Galloway, Jen Hadfield, Kathleen Jamie, Robert Alan Jamieson and Alan Spence,... Read More ›

Air falbh leis na h-eòin – Away with the Birds: Culture 2014

Isle of Canna, August 2014

Hanna Tuulikki’s body of work exploring the mimesis of bird sounds in Gaelic song was described as ‘heartbreakingly gorgeous’ on BBC Radio Scotland’s The Culture Show in January 2014. Performed in collaboration with vocal artists, field recorder Geoff Sample, filmmaker Daniel Warren, Gaelic singer Mary Smith, textile artist Deirdre Nelson and choreographer Rosalind Masson, the... Read More ›

Air falbh leis na h-eòin – Away with the Birds

Hanna Tuulikki's Complete Audio Diary

28 June 2013 Listen here to an extract from Hanna’s diary: Voices at Dusk   29 May 2013 Listen here to an extract from Hanna’s diary: Tracing Lines 19 April 2013 The creation of Air falbh leis na h-eòin: Hanna on tumblr 14 January 2013 Listen here to an extract from Hanna’s diary:... Read More ›

Mapping the Sea: Barra. Stephen Hurrel

Timespan, Helmsdale. 5 - 29 July 2014

Stephen Hurrel’s Sea Change commission, Mapping the Sea: Barra, will feature in an installation at Timespan Museum and Art Gallery, Helmsdale. Stephen is one of the artists for Generation – Scotland’s largest ever art show –  involving 100 artists in 60 venues, coinciding with the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Generation is produced by Glasgow Life and... Read More ›