Film screening: Iorram (Boat Song)

9 October 2021, 19:30  — 22:00

Skye Gathering Hall, basement, Portree, IV51 9BZ

Free but ticketed

An image showing a still from IORRAM, screened at the ATLAS office, photo credit Jordan Young

Join us on Saturday 9th 7.30pm for a film screening of Iorram (Boat Song), the first cinema documentary entirely in Scots Gaelic.

Iorram (Boat Song) is a lyrical portrait of the fishing community in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, past and present.

Director Alastair Cole takes the audience on an immersive journey into the heart of a thousand-year-old community, blending observational footage shot over the past three years with archive sound recordings of stories and songs from the mid-20thcentury, set to an original score by acclaimed folk musician Aidan O’Rourke.

At the core of the film is an extraordinary trove of sound archive, recorded by pioneering Scottish ethnographers, who visited the Outer Hebrides to capture the hardship and romance of life lived in precarious balance with the sea. These newly restored recordings preserve an oral history of lore and legends, tall tales and tragedies, passed down through generations of Gaelic speakers reaching back hundreds of years.

This soundtrack from the past is accompanied by images of the working rhythm of the islands today, on land and on water. The tough realities of fishing and gutting in all weathers and seasons co-exist alongside superstitions and visions of mermaids, faerie folk and mysterious vanishing islands.

The first film score by Aidan O’Rourke (of multi-award-winning folk group Lau) weaves together sound and vision in an emotional and cinematic narrative of toil, laughter and loss.

The sea has always sustained this community, while also holding the power to ravage the lives of the families who rely upon it. The film offers whispers and shadows of people and tragic events long since gone, yet whose memory continues to shape life on the islands today. As Scotland and the UK enter a new future, this provides a reminder that the threads of history and identity at this furthest edge of the British Isles are woven, unmistakably, in the lyrical power of the Gaelic language.

The film has been produced by Bofa Productions and Tongue Tied Films, in association with MG ALBA and the support of the National Lottery through Creative Scotland. The film’s development also benefited from the support of Newcastle University, The University of Edinburgh, Film at Culture Lab, and the UK Economic and Social Research Council.

This film is in Gaelic with English subtitles.

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