May 17th 2017 [Press Release]
Scotland’s Wild Heart
World Premiere – Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 – The Queen’s Hall
August 22nd 8pm / August 23rd 7.30pm & 9.30pm
Folk traditions meet orchestral grandeur in this audio-visual spectacular. A world-class ensemble led by award-winning composer Donald Shaw (Capercaillie) features the cream of Scotland’s musicians, including Patsy Reid (Fiddle), Michael McGoldrick(Flute & Pipes), Catriona MacKay (Clarsach), Sorren MacLean (Guitars), James MacKintosh (Percussion) and the SWH String Section led by ‘Grit’ orchestrator Greg Lawson.
They will perform Shaw’s stunning soundtrack live to specially edited HD clips of the sublime Maramedia/BBC nature film ‘Scotland’s Wild Heart’, immersing you in the landscape and seasons of Scotland.
“One of the most beautiful films I have ever seen”— EWAN McGREGOR
https://vimeo.com/213987434 – 2 minute Promo Video
The BBC Series Highlands: Scotland’s Wild Heart was three years in the making and involved more than 500 days of filming. The films explore the changing seasons through locations that range from the splendour of the Cairngorms and dramatic northern seascapes, to the ancient Caledonian pine forests and the depths of iconic Loch Ness. Summed up by narrator Ewan MacGregor; “It’s incredibly beautiful and made me incredibly homesick. On the face of it, the Highlands look bleak and lifeless,but wildlife is thriving in this unforgiving place if you know where to look.”
The first episode, Spring – The Season Of Extremes explored the annual muir-burn, in late March, which takes place in the Cairngorms. This inferno marks the end of winter and helps heather regenerate and sprout new shoots in readiness for the grouse season. As the flames rise, the cameras are able to capture a stunning bird of
prey – an osprey – returning from its wintering grounds in West Africa. Filming it for the first time in super slow-motion, every detail of the bird’s incredible fishing behaviour is revealed in never-seen-before footage.
“It’s a land scoured by ice and weathered by storm; rugged coast, bare mountains and water. The seasons may be harsh and the opportunities fleeting, but animals and people have found ways of succeeding here. That’s why ospreys return here every year. It’s their home – in Scotland’s wild heart.”
Much of the compelling soundtrack was written by Scottish composer Donald Shaw, with additional composition and sound-design by Simon Ashdown.
Shaw is an acclaimed Scottish musician, producer and award-winning composer. He has recorded and collaborated on over 100 albums with musicians in all styles of music, created many film and television scores, and directed large-scale live commissions. He has toured worldwide with Capercaillie – the folk band he co-founded whilst at school in Argyll – who have gone on to sell over a million albums for their unique sound of Gaelic songs merged with contemporary soundscapes.
In the last 20 years he has recorded and performed on piano in many unique scenarios, with artists such as James Taylor, Alison Krauss, Mark Knopfler, the Halle Orchestra, Vicente Amigo, Rosanne Cash, Philip Selway (Radiohead) and legendary jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman. He has composed extensively for film and TV, including feature films ‘American Cousins’ and ‘One last chance’ and soundtracks for flagship BBC Alba drama ‘Bannan’ and the Bafta winning children’s TV series ‘Katie Morag’. His score for the BBC Nature series ‘Hebrides – Islands on the Edge’ was nominated for the coveted Jackson Hole award.
He has produced live music projects for National theatre of Scotland, Edinburgh International Festival, The British Council, Womad UK, BBC Proms and the 2012 Olympics. He owns the independent label ‘Vertical Records’, which has released over 40 acclaimed albums.
Presented as part of www.madeinscotlandshowcase.com
Additional info /interview Requests available from
May 6th 2013
Vertical records releases the original score from the current BBC series Hebrides – Islands on the edge.
This landmark series, three years in the making, was created by some of the key talent behind award-winning series like Big Cat Diary and Frozen Planet. It has been made by Glasgow-based Maramedia, in association with Otter Films, and produced and filmed by acclaimed wildlife filmmakers Nigel Pope, John Aitchison and Doug Anderson and is narrated by Ewan McGregor.
Much of the dramatic accompanying music was composed by Scottish musician/composer Donald Shaw and features orchestral arrangements along with the crème of musicians currently working in the field of traditional music, including Donald Shaw , Aidan O’Rourke – Fiddle, Patsy Reid – Fiddle, Michael McGoldrick – Flute, Uilleann Pipes, James MacKintosh – Percussion, Sorren MacLean – Guitar, Catriona MacKay – Clarsach, Ian Carr – Guitar & Manus Lunny – Bouzouki
Three of the programmes chart the course of a wild year in the Hebrides. High winds, drought and the most dramatic storm in living memory are all thrown at the animal cast of the Islands on the Edge. Using the most recent technology and a unique range of cameras never used in this part of the world before, Hebrides – Islands on the Edge gives a privileged view into their lives. The fourth programme introduces some of the people from the Islands on the Edge and finds out why animals and people in the Hebrides need each other so very much.