Mary Ann took the opportunity to create some fabulous new sounds with fellow urban Gael and BBC Radio 2 instrumentalist 2017 Rachel Newton. Alongside Watercolour Music's Nick Turner and his beautifully evocative bio-soundscapes, the trio revisit a tantalising, fleeting encounter for one of Mary Ann's previous site-specific installations to evoke the roots of the engineering backbone of the Scottish Highlands and the connected landscape of the festival's surroundings. Telford and Brunel the inspiration: IRONBRIGHT the result.
The first half of the night will be an exchange of songs between Mary Ann and Rachel from their current repertoire – women’s experiences all. They include music written by Mary Ann for Toria Banks’s play ‘Deeds Not Words’ on the story of suffrage in the Western Isles, and from Rachel’s award-winning album, ‘Here’s My Heart Come Take It’.
The second half draws on Mary Ann’s passion for the engineering creativity of the early Industrial Age, and the two giants of the time – Isambard Kingdom Brunel, (Isambard’s own name means Bright Iron) and Thomas Telford, who built the Caledonian Canal down the Great Glen of the Highlands of Scotland, where Mary Ann lives today. But as you would expect of these two, the span across Ironbright is inventive, weaving Fingalian legend, magic swords and smithies with tune-writing challenges executed across the mouth of the canal, the realworld sounds of above and below the waterline, and an evocation of a heart-breaking moment in time in the Telford churchyard in Mary Ann’s own village.