Gráinne Brady: BEYOND: The Story of an Irish Immigrant
BEYOND: The Story of an Irish Immigrant is a brand new project which will explore the social themes associated with the mass immigration of the Irish to Scotland, particularly at the start of the 20th century. The first part of the project will culminate in the release of Gráinne’s solo album ‘The Road Across the Hills’ which will act as a soundtrack to the book ‘Children of the Dead End’, the unofficial autobiography of Donegal poet and writer Patrick MacGill, who emigrated to Scotland in the 1900s.
‘The Road Across the Hills’ will be tracked, mixed and produced by award-winning musician and composer Mike Vass, and will feature household names from across Scotland’s traditional and classical music scene: Innes White, Andrew Waite, Steve Forman, Su-a Lee, Megan Henderson and Feargus Hetherington.
With themes of immigration and extreme poverty, each track on ‘The Road Across the Hills’ was written in response to pivotal moments in the novel; a book that has stuck with Gráinne since first reading it as a child. The ten-track album will also feature Donegal native Jack Houston reciting abstracts of MacGill’s evocative poems. Incorporating spoken word – as well as percussive sound effects and field recordings – will augment the tracks, creating a dramatic soundscape throughout the album. Combined with some beautiful album artwork by Somhairle MacDonald, a listen to ‘The Road Across the Hill’ will truly be an immersive experience.
Born in Glenties, Co. Donegal in 1889, MacGill emigrated to Scotland in the 1900s and began to discover his talents as a writer whilst working as a labourer on the railways in Glasgow and as a navvy in Kinlochleven. His writings reflected on his growing preoccupation with the poor, the downtrodden and the workers who, like himself, toiled in the mud to build civilisation but lived on the outside of society.
“It it my hope that this music will take the listener on a journey; from MacGill’s childhood in rural Donegal, to gruelling labour in Scotland, as a potato picker, or ‘tattie howker’, labourer and navvy, with some colourful characters along the way, as well as a bittersweet story of love and loss. Entwining the musical tale with words from the man himself, acting as a reflection upon the story, will add even more depth to the soundtrack.”
Gráinne is self-funding more than half of this, but needs some help to raise the rest. She has set up some exciting perks to choose from, from pre-orders of the CD to tune commissions and house concerts. If you don’t have a CD player, or maybe can’t afford to help, that’s okay. You can still contribute to the cause by spreading the word, sharing her Indiegogo page or talking about the project to anyone you think might be interested in hearing about it – a little goes a long away. If you can help in any way, big or small, you will be making a big difference to an independent artist, so a million thanks!