This short clip of  ”Vicissitudes. Exile, Ritual and Lament” gives an insight into Ceara’s interpretation of Colm Cille and the “Voice” theme for the Derry commission on June 9th. Combining sean-nós singing (traditional Irish song), along with fragments of her experiences journeying on the Colm Cille trail and the historical, religious, political and cultural figures she met along the way. The audience engaged with her on topics such as exile, the idea of home and spirituality in a unique setting on a curragh along the River Foyle.

The performance was experiential; the curragh and its short journey on the River Foyle created an atmosphere that was intimate and spiritual. Even though we were a mere few metres within sight of the city of Derry, the journey felt secluded and offered a time to reflect, be still and listen. Every person on the boat seemed to have a personal connection with the stories, symbols and topics that Ceara sang and discussed. Each passenger was gifted with keepsakes; a handmade broighter boat, a packet of soil from St. Colmcille’s grave (believed to protect your home from fire when put in your fireplace) and a photograph of Paddy Gillespie from Gleann ColmCille with a healing stone, which is associated with the saint.

The “Vicissitudes” sound installation was installed on the Marina on the River Foyle and passers by could catch fragments on the wind as they walked. It included snippets of interviews and songs. I picked up on elements of conversations about the lost act of creation, how in the past people were impulsed to create as part of human nature and a song of a teacher on an island who lost all his books on a boat journey and the grief it caused him.

I’m interested to see how the other five knots of the spiral approach their commission and if similar themes to “The Voice” interpretation arise.




Filmed by Gavin Turnbull

Copyright 2013