MacLeod Road

Pierrot + vib., c. 12’ (2015)

In June of 2015, I took my first ever journey to the Highlands and spent several days in Lochcarron and on the islands of Skye and Raasay. After a very frustrating and writers’-blocked few weeks, it was a welcome relief to be somewhere so ‘wild.’ While there, I learned of the story of Calum MacLeod, a man who lived on the remote and beautifully desolate island of Rasaay from about 1914 to the late 1980s. He and his wife lived on the north end of the island, where the population was rapidly declining as there was no road access to the north end of the island. When the Highland Council refused to build a road to the north end, he decided he would do it himself. It took him a full decade to complete the road using just a shovel, pick and wheelbarrow. I was not only inspired by the fact that one man could work for so long on a project that must have seemed so useless on a day-to-day basis, but by the unintentionally artistic qualities of the winding, spiralling ‘hand-made’ road as we can drive it now. Of course, after the road was already there, the Highland Council paved it anyway. Regardless, I wanted to communicate this wonderfully Scottish story, the beautiful Highland landscapes of Skye and Raasay, and the twisting and turning of the road itself in this work.

Commissioned by Spectrum New Music Ensemble as winner of the Carlaw | Ogston Composition Award. Contact me to purchase.