Films and Music at the Festival Online

There’s a treasure chest of films and music that has developed for the online festivals in 2020 and 2021 – with all continuing to be available on our YouTube channel. Filmed presentations give insights in a lively way, with Orkney’s geology introduced in The Shape of the Coast on Orkney’s geology, and its archaeology in Stories in Stones.

There are outings like Foraging the Old Road and Foraging by the Flow, and workshops like Riches of the Shore and Make a Selkie’s Ghost Net Bracelet. There are stories and archive images in Seeing the Valley of Light and A Hoy and Rackwick Evening.

There are performances on the theme of the sea and transformation is The Selkie’s New Clothes and Wondering, and there are scenes of shore life in The Shore and the Sea: The Life Within and in Otters and Orcas, Puffins and Skuas. And there is music in Sagas and Seascapes and in Histories and Herstories; and there are stories with it in Five Stars in Auriga and Music for the Winter Queen. And there are songs from Mr Boom!

Films 2021


September 2, 2021 → 5:00 pm5:20 pm

The world’s most powerful, most technologically advanced tidal turbine is currently generating energy in Orkney waters. Several of those who developed it join us on film to tell the story. And how does it to feel to be working on the forefront of technology in an island setting?

Words and Music 2021

Films 2020


September 12, 2020 → 3:30 pm4:15 pm

We go over to Orphir and a walk across the sands of Waulkmill Bay and up through the RSPB’s Hobbister reserve on a section of the St Magnus Way. It’s a journey from sandflats and saltmarsh to moorland and sea cliffs for ethnobotanical researcher Anna Canning and Orkney wildlife guide Megan Taylor, as they look out for wild plants and discuss their traditional uses for sustenance and health with foragers from Scotland and Poland.


September 7, 2020 → 7:30 pm8:15 pm

Award-winning wildlife cameraman and photographer Raymond Besant takes us on a tour of Orkney's coast, from cliffs and geos to sandy beaches, and the varied birds and mammals who live and feed there in a world of wild weather, orcas, otters, seabirds and seaweed.


September 7, 2020 → 2:00 pm2:15 pm

Join Selena S Kuzman and Anthony Harley on their day adventure to the Moray coast, hunting for beach treasures, with images of the sea. Learn how to make a selkie’s ghost net bracelet from washed-ashore pieces of fishing nets, amongst other examples of finding creative uses for reclaimed coastal waste.


September 6, 2020 → 3:30 pm4:15 pm

It starts with a handful of stone artefacts from the Ness of Brodgar, in the heart of Neolithic Orkney … and Prof. Mark Edmonds of York University and UHI goes in search of their origins. Some are striking, others seem simple by comparison; all of them have stories to tell about how stone was caught up in people's lives over 5000 years ago.


September 6, 2020 → 2:00 pm2:45 pm

We’re off to the shore, to Warebeth and Birsay, for a creative and informative family-friendly session of shore-inspired fun. It’s hosted by artists and foragers Katherine Diaper, Rebecca Marr and Fiona Sanderson, and marine ecologist Dr Andrew Want, and they say that all ages are welcome. They want you to make plant brushes, and paint with shore-sourced pigments. Forage along the coastline and feast on your finds. Get up close to shore creatures. Photograph the beauty of seaweed. And they’re going to round off with foraged food around a beach fire.


September 5, 2020 → 9:30 pm9:45 pm

The old selkie story found in Orkney and elsewhere around the coast of the British Isles tells of shapeshifting between the human and natural worlds, in the uncertain boundary world of the shore. This performance piece by artist Selena S Kuzman, specially created for the Year of Coasts and Waters, merges in a poetic way the folk stories of the selkie people with the transformation of waste materials and our deep connection with the sea and the land.


September 4, 2020 → 7:00 pm7:30 pm

Take the ferry from Stromness to Moaness pier, and walk up the brae to the Hoy Kirk for seaweed soup for supper, with a recipe here for you to prepare at home in advance. Then sit back and enjoy some music, with the story of Jimmy o’ the Bu’s Polka, with memories from his grand-daughter Jean Thomson and his tune played by six of his great-great-grandchildren, including the fiddle that he played on. Then we hear the story of settlement in Rackwick from archaeologist Dan Lee.


August 30, 2020 → 2:00 pm2:45 pm

Walk through Binscarth Woods and over the hill to the Loch of Wasdale, on a section of the St Magnus Way. Orkney wildlife guide Megan Taylor looks out for wild plants while ethnobotanical researcher Anna Canning discusses their traditional uses for sustenance and health with foraging experts from Scotland and Poland. After the film there’s an opportunity for live questions to them both on aspects of wildlife and foraging.

Words and Music 2020


September 8, 2020 → 6:30 pm7:15 pm

Why do they sing? How do they learn their songs? Is there a connection to music more generally? Dr Luke Rendell and Dr Ellen Garland of St Andrews University’s Sea Mammal Research Unit describe the latest insights and explore their implications with composers Emily Doolittle and Alex South. This is followed by a performance by the Kapten Trio of Emily Doolittle’s piece Bowheads, based on the songs of the bowhead whale.


September 6, 2020 → 8:30 pm9:15 pm

Music inspired by the sea, presented by its composer, Lochaber musician Ingrid Henderson, in conversation with the head of NatureScot’s marine unit, Katy Gillham. The music was created for a new music and audiovisual show for the Year of Coasts and Waters. Mixing newly crafted music and song with ancient Gaelic melodies and powerful imagery and animation, it explores themes of ocean currents, migration and environmental impact as well as celebrating the rich marine life around us and the deep cultural connection of coastal communities to the sea. Music by Ingrid Henderson (harp/fiddle/vocals), Anna Massie (guitar/fiddle), Megan Henderson (fiddle/vocals/piano) and Conal McDonagh (Irish pipes/whistle).


September 6, 2020 → 7:00 pm7:45 pm

When Bishop George Graham started to build Skaill House 400 years ago, Orkney was settling down after the time of the Stewart Earls. But Europe was caught up in the Thirty Years War. It would affect the lives of Kepler and Galileo – and also many young Orcadians who would join the Swedish army to fight in Germany. There is music by David Griffith and a song by Owen Griffith, and Howie Firth tells the story of a conflict that brought men from Papay and Hoy alongside soldiers like Prince Rupert of the Rhine. There’s a welcome to Skaill House from Major Malcolm Macrae. To add to the experience, you could prepare your own afternoon tea, in a Skaill House style.


September 5, 2020 → 9:00 pm9:30 pm

Orkney storyteller Tom Muir tells a selkie story from North Ronaldsay. Katarina Juvančič sings The Great Selkie of Sule Skerry, accompanied by guitarist Dejan Lapanja, and then a song in similar mood about a Slovenian girl taken away by a water-sprite. Anne Sinclair from Fair Isle describes some of the island’s shipwrecks and introduces a song from the group Fridarey.


September 5, 2020 → 2:00 pm2:20 pm

Direct from the Moon, there’s now a chance, with Mr Boom to sing and dance!


September 4, 2020 → 8:30 pm9:30 pm

Nordic Viola presents reflections on female experience of landscapes and community from the Northern Isles to Greenland in music by women composers for string quartet. Highlights include ‘Machair’ by young Highland composer Lisa Robertson and music influenced by Orcadian history and the Hardanger fiddle style by Gemma McGregor. Greenland’s only classical composer, Arnannguaq Gerstrøm, reflects on winter whilst English composer Lillie Harris depicts the full fury of a Shetland storm. Anna Appleby’s evocative ‘Hrakningar’ includes migrating geese from Iceland, and American Jocelyn Hagen offers a new take on the haunting Icelandic lullaby ‘Sofðu Unga’. There are new tunes reflecting on motherhood and the wild Orcadian weather by traditional fiddlers Margaret Robertson (Shetland) and Fiona Driver (Orkney),


September 3, 2020 → 9:00 pm9:45 pm

Modern science was born amidst the Thirty Years War, a catastrophic conflict that flared up 400 years ago when an invasion of Bohemia ended the King and Queen’s rule after just one winter. The Winter Queen was Elizabeth Stewart, granddaughter of Mary Queen of Scots, and the war affected the lives of many people – among them Kepler, Galileo and the poet John Donne. Howie Firth tells the story, interwoven with the online premiere of a setting of Three Donne Lyrics by the composer Edward McGuire, sung by the Choir of Paisley Abbey with bass flautist Ewan Robertson.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!