Musicians to create soundtracks for Scotland's most precious landscapes in climate change contest

Scotland’s musicians and songwriters are being urged to tackle the climate crisis by creating new soundtracks for some of the nation’s most important natural landscapes.

The Beinn Eighe nature reserve in Wester Ross is one of 10 locations which will get an official soundtrack. Picture: Lorne Gill
The Beinn Eighe nature reserve in Wester Ross is one of 10 locations which will get an official soundtrack. Picture: Lorne Gill

Rock, pop, folk, jazz, hip-hop and classical musicians are being challenged to write new music inspired by 10 protected sites in the care of Scottish Natural Heritage.

Organisers wants them to come up with a “creative response” to climate change, which SNH has described as “the single greatest threat to Scotland’s habitats.”

They are also being encouraged to draw inspiration from the local culture, traditions and languages of the nature reserves, which include Loch Leven, in Perthshire, the Isle of May, the Isle of Rum, and Tentsmuir in Fife.

The contest, which offers each winner a £500 cash prize, is being staged to coincide with a 12-month celebration of Scotland’s coasts and waters. Singers Julie Fowlis and Karine Polwart will be among the judges of the competition.

The 10 winners of the competition, which is open to musicians and songwriters aged 16 and over, will get the chance to make a film at each location, as well as take part in a series of special live performances.

New Gaelic songs are particularly encouraged for Beinn Eighe, which is home to the Torridon mountains, in Wester Ross, and Creag Meagaidh, in Lochaber.


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SNH and traditional music body Fèis Rois, who are jointly running the contest, also want to encourage entries in Scots and songs sung in regional dialects. The other SNH sites selected are Noss, one of the Shetland Isles, Caerlaverock, in Dumfries and Galloway, Forvie, in Aberdeenshire, and Taynish, in Argyll.

Other judges will include broadcaster Vic Galloway and Gill Maxwell, executive director of the Scottish Music Centre.

Fèis Rois chief executive Fiona Dalgetty said: “We’re thrilled to be collaborating on this new project with SNH to encourage musicians to create new work inspired by our beautiful landscapes in Scotland.

“We also believe that musicians have an invitation here to make a creative response to the climate challenge affecting our natural heritage in Scotland today. We look forward to receiving entries from all genres of musician.”

Stuart MacQuarrie, head of nature reserves at SNH, said: “We have such an amazing variety of marine wildlife and seabirds in Scotland, as well as stunning beaches, lochs and rivers. Music and nature have so much in common – they’re both moving and give us so much pleasure.

“We can’t wait to hear what people come up with to make us see these special places in a new light.”


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