The award-winning musical collaboration between Skye’s celebrated Gaelic singer Anne Martin and Manchester electro artist Jason Singh has taken another step forward.
From its beginnings over a kitchen table in Skye, Anne and Jason, alongside three other internationally-acclaimed musicians have become Lahira (meaning “moving forward”) and will make an appearance at Celtic Connections this month.
Entitled Ceumannan at its inception, the project began as an inter-cultural song venture in which the artists drew from parallels in the landscapes, storytelling of the Isle of Skye and Northern India and the complementary harmonic traditions of Gaelic and Indian Raga. Out of their research, Anne and Jason co-created new musical compositions and performed them with acclaimed international artists Sharat Chandra Srivastava and Gyan Singh, and Manchester-based musician Joe Harrison-Greaves.
The project began with a conversation with Jason in Anne’s kitchen when he was visiting Skye in 2014. Atlas Arts found the funds to develop ideas and the pair travelled to India where they met Sharat and Gyan.
Last year, Ceumannan was selected as a winning commission for the New Music Biennial by the PRS Foundation and was given a 15-minute showcase at the Hull PRS Festival that year. The next step forward was to develop the project and ‘Routes’ was formed out of this journey, making its debut at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, during the Skye Festival in July and ending with a concert at London’s South Bank the following week.
Anne is a well-respected cultural ambassador for the Gaelic language and west Highland culture and has travelled across the globe, most recently to Australia, creating conversations on first world cultures. She has made it part of her life’s work to put Gaelic culture on the international map and make Gaelic song accessible to all.
She said: “Through Lahira, we are trying to unravel what cultural identity is all about and how music provides a conduit through which to cross cultural borders through a common cause. Songs tell great stories and instigate conversations. Through our work, we look for our similarities, recognise our differences and bring our cultures together.” Lahira will perform at Glagow City Halls on 21 January, alongside Keenan Gavin Byrne.