“Under Minaun” (5:17 mins) © Helen Davey
(for x5 voices, garklein recorder, lap harp, frame drum and accordion)
This painting is one my own personal favourites. It is based on an old farmhouse in Keel, Achill, which looks out over the Minaun Cliffs. The light in Achill changes every minute of the day and you could paint the Minaun Cliffs every day and make a new, fresh painting of it. They are dramatic cliffs that meet the end of Keel beach and close in the bay.
What I tried to get across in the painting is not the scene or the picture, but that feeling of going for a walk at 6am on a summer morning, when the haze and the light can make the colours look so unreal, when there is hardly a sound and hardly a breeze.
I was so drawn to Padraig’s colours and the details that he doesn’t include in his artworks. During our discussion, he said he feels that old houses have earned a right to be a part of the landscape. I tend to agree.
Describing Padraig’s windowless houses, Jan Erik Rekdal wrote “… For us they are embedded with layers of time and lives past…”
Researching some of the history of this rugged, majestic island, I was struck by the hardship the communities of Achill Island must have faced as I read about their migration, political issues and famine.
I was thinking about all that this old house must have witnessed, including a tragic seafaring incident – the Clew Bay Drowning in 1894 . The names of those 32 young people and some Gaelic have found their way into my sound-painting.
Amidst my naive associations of Ireland, is the hauntingly beautiful folk music that seems to mirror the enchanting landscape. Looking at Padraig’s painting, I hear those landscapes with their lilting harmonies singing stories in a captivating language that I don’t understand.
My little Celtic collection of instruments is the closest I can get to the timbres I hear in my mind: fife and drum, reed and harp. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear the Atlantic ocean “breathing” through my accordion.
I’d love to hear what YOU hear/see in the artwork via the comments section below; Please feel free to share this around to anyone interested in art & music via the little icons below.
Thanks for wandering by.