In 2013, Orkney fiddler and photographer Louise Bichan embarked on a unique musical and sentimental journey, between her native northern isles and coast-to-coast Canada, in the footsteps of her late paternal grandmother Margaret, née Tait (1925-2008). The result – originally premièred at Orkney Folk Festival in 2015, and now captured as an album – is Out of My Own Light, a suite of beautifully wrought, brilliantly captivating chamber-folk compositions, inspired by Bichan’s travels and wider family recollections, together with Margaret’s own diaries and correspondence.
Taught by top Orkney fiddler Douglas Montgomery, Bichan has been playing since she was seven. While studying Visual Communications at Glasgow School of Art, she honed her musicianship amid that city’s world-famous session scene, performing with rising stars Rachel Sermanni and Fara, before winning a scholarship to Berklee College’s pioneering music programme in Boston.
A 2006 trip to Canada with her own family, during which Bichan met numerous transatlantic cousins, originally planted the seed for Out of My Own Light, while the rediscovery of Margaret’s diaries, after her death, gave the project its final shape. “Before she died, I had no idea about Granny’s trip – it just wasn’t talked about,” Bichan says. “The diary for the time she was away has been lost, so I decided I’d go where she’d gone, talk to the cousins she’d met who were still alive, and try to fill in the gaps, with the aim of writing music about the whole story.”
Artist website: http://www.outofmyownlight.com
Single title: Out of My Own Light
Album title: Out of My Own Light
Release Date: 02/12/2016
Single artist: Louise Bichan
Single duration: 4.11
Record Label: Swanbister Records
Catalogue No: SWAN001CD
Writers: Louise Bichan
Publishers: Louise Bichan