An innovative and unique chorus of words, song and sound will welcome in the dawn over the Sound of Sleat this month.
Presented by Portree-based visual arts organisation ATLAS Arts, internationally renowned artist, writer and performer, Caroline Bergvall, will deliver her critically-acclaimed Ragadawn (An t-Eilean Sgitheanach, 57.5º T) on the rooftop of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Sleat, on the morning of Saturday 25 August.
Ragadawn is a free multi-sensory, polyphonic composition taking place outdoors from the last hours of night until the break of dawn, ending with a communal breakfast featuring locally-sourced produce. The Skye event is one of just a handful of performances taking place this year in venues in France and England, including the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
Atlas Arts director Emma Nicolson says the organisation's projects tend to evolve over long periods and they have been working with Caroline for two years on the idea.
She said: "I first saw Caroline's work in Tasmania. She is of French-Norwegian origin and works with minority languages such as Sami, Faroese, Catalan and Punjabi. She performed an adaptation of Ragadawn to full houses at Geneva's Festival de la Batie and Southend's Estuary Festival in 2016 and last year I invited her to Skye to host one of her language stations.
"The premise of this work is based around the troubadour love poem to the dawn called an Alba in Provence. Caroline wanted to create this love poem as a trajectory towards a journey through Europe, through language and through dawn from the last moment of light to morning."
For the Skye event, Caroline has been working with Gaelic speakers on the island and colleagues at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, connecting music, texts and voices from the likes of piper Decker Forrest, singer Rhona Coogan and poets Rody Gorman and Morag Henriksen.
After recording all the artists from the language station, the work was broken down into a soprano, words and a soundscape.
Emma added: "Imagine arriving at night and being handed a warming cup of tea and a blanket before being led up to the rooftop in silence.
"People will be taken on a gentle transition from night to day. These moments are extremely contemplative as we look over the sea towards the sunlight. As the light emerges, the journey through language and song begins. It is incredibly immersive. I was fortunate enough to experience the rehearsal piece at the South Bank and it was just extraordinary: so all-encompassing and evocative."
The performance begins at 5.14am and is 55 minutes long. Following the performance, there will be a communal breakfast for the audience to enjoy using locally sourced ingredients.
Atlas Arts producer Shona Cameron said: "The communal breakfast is an integral part of the performance.
"The wider concept of the work is dawn can be a difficult and lonely time for some and a happy time for others. It is all about sharing the experience. The breakfast brings the audience together to meet with friends and strangers and reconnect to time, place and each other.
"As an organisation, Atlas Arts is very interested in our local food production. We have sourced fruit and vegetables from the Viewfield Garden Collective; Cuillin Coffee are making a special blend for the event; kippers from Mallaig will be the main ingredient of a breakfast kedgeree; and the tea is from Er Ya Tea in Kyle of Lochalsh. There is also porridge and fresh fruit compôte on the menu as well as seaweed bread, made by a local baker with seaweed donated by Mara Seaweed of Edinburgh."
The event is free but booking is essential. For more information and to reserve your seat visit https://atlasarts.org.uk/projects/ragadawn-caroline-bergvall.
There is also a free bus going to and from the event leaving Portree's Bayfield car park at 3.30am and returning at 8am. There is also an opportunity to pick people up en route. Anyone wishing to use the bus service is asked to contact Atlas Arts on 01478 611143.