Local News

‘This is time travel’ in a ‘Sea of Voices’

Last week we reported on a fantastic new project by Kolekto bringing Orcadian stories to a digital format being recounted in their own voices : Orkney Soundwaves : Revealing a Tapestry of Rich Stories

A trailer has been published and the full episode is available from 3rd of August through your usual podcast provider or on the dedicated website orkneysoundwaves.wordpress.com where you will find photographs, related links, a list of contributors and a transcript produced by Sheila Garson.

The new podcast celebrates Orkney’s analogue heritage in a creative and entertaining way, bringing it to a digital audience. One of ten digital commissions award by The Space in Scotland, Orkney Sound Waves invites listeners to tune in to voices from the past.

Orkney Library & Archive’s sound archive is home to hundreds of voices on reel to reel tapes and cassettes, rich in dialect and broad in content.

Creative partnership Mark Jenkins & Rebecca Marr (Kolekto) wondered what would happen if they dug around the sound archive with a theme in mind.

Mark explained:

‘It’s something we have always wanted to do. We have both worked with the archive on other projects and we knew there was so much stimulating material in there. For this project we knew we had time to explore with an open mind to see how creative we could be with it.’

‘Orkney Sound Waves’ is the name they have given to their archive podcast project and their first theme is ‘home’.

Rebecca explains ‘everyone has spent so long these past couple of years in their homes, so we felt the theme of home would resonate with people. Also, we felt that the archive itself is home to all these voices and we wondered about the homes these voices previously had.’

The half-hour episode is an immersive audio experience described as an audio ballad.

Mark said:

‘It’s a different way of listening. There’s no narration, we’ve tried to let voices speak to each other and layer topics so that there’s a flow to it all. It’s like eavesdropping on not one but many conversations, there’s nearly 30 contributors in there.

A sea of voices!’ Rebecca added ‘This is time travel, in half an hour you will have travelled around Orkney and visited many decades.’

Orcadian composer James Watson created an original score for the podcast having previously composed the music for the popular podcast series Tales o Hoy. Mark said,

‘Once again James has created a fantastic atmospheric soundtrack that breathes new life into the voices’.

Many of the recordings were originally on reel to reel tapes and cassettes and have been digitised at Orkney Library & Archive. Ann Marwick’s recordings made in the northern isles in the 1980s, Ernest Marwick’s recordings from the 1960s and the BBC Radio Orkney archives are the rich resources the podcast draws from.

Vikki Kerr, Team Manager at Orkney Library & Archive, said

‘It is exciting to have our sound archives being used in new and innovative ways, allowing lots of new people to listen to the fantastic stories and sounds of Orkney’s past.’

Rebecca added:

‘we were made so welcome by the archive and Lucy Gibbon was invaluable. That place is a gold mine and we kept finding nuggets like the story of a pig who ate at the table, skeletons under the floorboards and bewitched butter.

The project was supported by The Space through Creative Scotland as part of the Creative Digital Initiative, funded by the Scottish Government.

Mark & Rebecca were given commissioning support from digital agency The Space in developing and producing the podcast, giving guidance on budgeting, copyright, contracts and digital marketing.

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