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 work has been performed in development in a large number of contexts (

Following its exhibition at RSA Edinburgh (Between the Late and Early), a graphic score for the piece was exhibited as part of the Sea Change exhibition at RBGE in 2013-14. The complete piece will be performed in August as a site specific work on the Isle of Canna as part of Culture 2014 XX Commonwealth Games, Glasgow.

9 voice version of Air falbh leis na h-eòin (Guth na h-eoòin/Voice of the Bird) ‘highlight’ of Glasgow Tectonics Festival 2013!

Hanna and the birds in the Scotsman:

Hanna on the Culture Show with Janice Forsyth



‘A complete and immersive evocation of place and sense, an attempted re-imagining of wilderness landscapes both without any human involvement and filled with the echoing resonances of history and tradition.’  (Review of work in progress performance at Tramway, David Pollock, Northings.)

Hanna Tuulikki’s Air falbh leis na h-eòin | Away with the birds is a body of work interrogating the mimesis of birds in Gaelic song.

At its core is a vocal composition, Guth na eòin | Voice of the Bird, created for a choir of female singers for performance outdoors on Canna in the Inner Hebrides. The piece reinterprets archive, fragmenting and re-building extracts of Gaelic songs into an extended soundscape that grows out of and responds to the landscape. It explores the relationship between the Scottish Gaelic tradition and bird communities, evoking the sounds, movements and interactions of several species of birds within a Hebridean landscape.

To create this piece, Hanna will explore the delicate nature of island-life, the co-existence of history and innovation, the relationships between bird, man and the land.

Air falbh leis na h-eòin is currently in development, growing into a site-specific performance for a small Hebridean island. As well as live vocal performance, it will also incorporate dance as well as immersive audio and light installation. It will be an expansive experience, a personal journey across time and place, fostering interaction and a deep connection with our natural and cultural origins.

The project is conceived by artist Hanna Tuulikki and is produced by Trigger in association with Cape Farewell. It is being made by an inter-disciplinary team, consisting of visual artists, musicians, dancers, writers, story-tellers, sound recordists, ornithologists, conservationists and anthropologists.

Nerea Bello: vocalist
Lucy Duncombe: vocalist
Suzy Glass: producer
Rosalind Masson: choreographer
Deirdre Nelson: textile artist
Eleanor Ratcliffe: environmental psychologist
Geoff Sample: field recordist
Mary Smith: vocalist
Daniel Warren: film-maker
Andrew Whitehouse: anthropologist

+ Follow Hanna Tuulikki’s artist diary
+ Follow Geoff Sample’s artist diary
+ More about the project

Hanna Tuulikki is a musician, visual artist and illustrator whose primary focus is the human voice. As a vocalist she performs, composes and records solo and group works, as well as fronting Glasgow-based bands Nalle and Two Wings. Hanna’s art practice is largely place-specific and uses various forms of performance and installation to respond to both rural and urban settings. She often uses voice as a material to experiment with ways of dissolving language and distinctions between separate phenomena. One aspect of her work stems from an interest in the role of song and sound mimesis as way to engage with environment and the sounds that emanate from landscape. Another aspect grows from an interest in ideas of community and the meaning of song in human relationships. Exploration of folk traditions also runs through her work. Hanna makes drawings that parallel her work with sound, illustrating subject, process and narrative.
+ Read more on Hanna Tuulikki in ‘The Wire’

Performance & Installation

By Hanna Tuulikki

August 2014

Isle of Canna

11 May 2013

An expanded version of the vocal composition for Away with the Birds, commissioned for Ilan Volkov’s Tectonics Festival, Glasgow. Performed with 9 female voices at Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket:

9 March 2013

As part of Rip it Up at the Tramway – a work-in-progress sharing of new work by Hanna Tuulikki, choreographer Rosalind Masson and film-maker Daniel Warren.

3 March 2013

with Lucy Duncombe and Nerea Bello on The Echo Chamber, Radio 4


23 February 2013 

Film’s Craic at the Glasgow Film Festival, CCA – including films by Daniel Warren.

17 November 2012

Nature Matters Conference
Stamford Arts Centre & Theatre, Stamford

6 September 2012

Work-in-progress performance
and visual installation at Dovecot Studios
10 Infirmary Street,
EH1 1LT, Edinburgh
Tel: 0131 550 3660

2 September 2012

Music Language Festival
Kinning Park Complex, Glasgow

Trigger logoPRS for Music Foundation logo


  1. Candy Verney says:

    Hi Hannah,
    Very interested in this project. Can we be in touch? Candy

  2. mo callaghan says:

    heard a small clip on radio 4 today. would love to buy this…….. where please x

    • Ruth Little says:

      Hi Mo

      Away with the Birds is still in development, so no recording is currently available, but we’ll certainly let you know when it is! Thanks for the comment. Ruth

  3. Sue says:

    Heard this challenging and moving recording in Sunday’s The Echo Chamber whilst on the move and have now followed it up.
    It fits with my sabbatical theme of endings and beginnings and community.
    Is there a recording available of Away with the Birds available?
    Many thanks

    • Ruth Little says:

      Hi Sue

      Away with the Birds is still in development, so no recording is currently available, but we’ll certainly let you know when it is! Thanks for the comment. Ruth

  4. Mike Levens says:

    Big fan from listening on Radio 4 to you. When will the work be published on disc to buy please?

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 ›