Mermaid opera effects to be broadcast from speakers on Scottish beach this summer

A vast sound installation featuring the operatic voices of “modern-day mermaids” is to be introduced to a Scottish beach this summer.

Two Dutch sound artists are joining forces with a Glasgow-based arts organisation for the UK premiere of a show to be staged on a stretch of Irvine’s beach, which overlooks the Isle of Arran.

The soundscape effects, recorded by an all-female Dutch cast, will be broadcast till sunset for a week and a half via 24 “long throw” speakers spread out across around 800 metres.

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The Signal-on-Sea project, which is aimed at urging visitors to reflect on their carbon footprint and the climate crisis, is being billed as “a unique and moving opportunity to rediscover and explore this remarkable landscape with music and texts evoking imagery that enhance and transform the environment.”

The show, which will run from 12 noon till 10.30pm from 16-25 July, will be free of charge to experience and access is being fully maintained to the stretch of the Ayrshire beach where the speakers are being installed.

However visitors will be encouraged to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing while they are there.

The artists said: “After two years of planning, we’re excited and very pleased to be able to bring Signal to Scotland.

"It’s an amazing opportunity for people to immerse themselves in the remarkable Irvine beach landscape in an unforgettable way.

Signal-on-Sea will get its UK premiee in Irvine in July. Picture: Nichon Glerum

"For many, it will be a familiar place, but through music, we hope they will see it in a different light. This installation inspires many different interpretations, but we particularly welcome people to reflect on their relationship with the natural environment, and also the consequences and questions that are arising given the impact of the current climate crisis, especially along our coast lines.”

Cathie Boyd, artistic director of Cryptic, said: “We’re is thrilled to present this UK premiere of Signal-on-Sea at Irvine Beach.

"This will be a welcome opportunity for the public to experience one of Scotland's most beautiful beaches as never before.

"From early afternoon through to sunset, dog walkers, joggers, families and picnicers can take a moment to bask in an epic soundscape of beautiful operatic voices through 24 speakers.

Dutch sound artists Jeroen Strijbos and Rob van Rijswijk have been working together for more than 10 years.

“We thank EventScotland and North Ayrshire Council for their continued support of what is set to be one of Scotland's cultural highlights this summer.”

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The Signal-on-Sea event will be held on Irvine Beach between 16 and 25 July. Picture: Elizabeth Lamont

Neil McIntosh

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