A/am/ams (come ashore; turn over)
“When a met e, tha sgith was blue…”
Rufus Isabel Elliot's new commission for OVER / AT is the story of two characters, A/am/ams and E/e/e, walking forever down an eternal beach, spiralling down and down and down. There’s a Beckettian mystery – who are these characters, and what happened between them?
The music features Scots traditional singer Josie Vallely, a.k.a. Quinie. There's a small supporting cast of instruments with their own characters, who each also "speak" in their own way, played by three other musicians whose work spans traditional, experimental, and classical modes – Stevie Jones (Sound of Yell), Harry Gorski-Brown, and Andrew Herrington (Awkward Family Portraits).
The work also features a new text by Rufus, which imagines a new mouthful-of-sand future-language of the North West, spanning Older Scots and Middle English, which is presented alongside a new Gaelic interpretation of the text, by Cass Ezeji.
The 2021 OVER / AT season has been developed as part of Sound and Music’s Composer-Curator project, in partnership with Supersonic Festival, which is funded by Arts Council England and PRSF. ATLAS Arts have acted as a partner organisation in developing the context of A/am/ams in Skye, and our workshops and performances in Elgol.
A/am/ams was initially developed with singer Lea Shaw and with support from Magnetic North during the 2020 Lockdown.
We are building a conversation around this project. Discover something about it here:
1. Listen to Achilles on the Beach, a new audio work which introduces some of the stories and characters behind this work.
Rufus Isabel Elliot
Cass Ezeji is a singer, writer and linguist from Glasgow. As a Gaelic speaker, she seeks to fill the historical voids that omit the experiences of Gaels of African heritage. She has written for Scottish Affairs journal, Map magazine and Mother Tongue.
Quinie, aka Josie Vallely, is based in Glasgow. She sings primarily in Scots, with a style inspired by the traditions of Scottish Traveller singers Lizzie Higgins (1929-1993) and her mother Jeannie Robertson (1908 –1975). Quinie’s experiments with composition and vocal techniques create a dialogue between pipe music and voice. Her work engages with themes of seasonal rhythm and gendered narratives. It has a strong sense of place rooted in an imagined Scotland. Recent work includes ‘Thyme Piobaireachd’, which was released on Cafe Oto’s Takuroku Label in April. The piece builds on her work exploring the vocalisation of piping traditions. Working in collaboration with percussionist Laurie Pitt on snare drum, the work is an exploration of the solo voice in dialogue with the compositional structure of the Piobaireachd. She has two albums released by GLARC.
Rufus Isabel Elliot is a composer and musician based near Gairloch in the North West Highlands. Its work is concerned with honesty, giving testimony, and the conditions in which one speaks out. Since coming ashore, Rufus has worked with the likes of the Nevis Ensemble, Red Note ensemble, sound festival scotland, and Magnetic North. It founded and curates the trans, non-binary, and otherwise gender-diverse music-making world of OVER / AT.