HMY Iolaire was carrying 283 returning servicemen who had fought and survived the First World War, as they approached Stornoway Harbour on New Years Eve 1918, the boat hit the infamous rocks ‘The Beasts of Holm’. 205 of the men on board drowned. The impact of the disaster on the islands of the Outer Hebrides was devastating, the loss of life represented almost a generation of young men from the Islands. Iain’s Great-Grandfather, John Morrison, was one of those lost.
This collaboration with Iain Morrison work was jointly commissioned by An Lanntair in Stornoway and the 14-18 NOW WW1 Centenary Art Commissions.
Sàl consisted of 115 minutes of new music composed in twelve tracks by Iain Morrison and performed by a five piece band (Iain Morrison - Composition/Vocals/Guitar/Pipes/Low Whistle,
Pete Harvey - Cello/String Arrangement Lori Watson - Fiddle/Vocals, Emma Connell-Smith – Viola, Joe Smillie – Drums, Gordon Maclean - Double Bass). Dalziel + Scullion accompanied the twelve tracks with twelve short films shot in the islands and edited to at first the digital soundtrack. The band performed live in front of the film for the three centenary performances. Later Sàl was recorded for a CD press (with artwork by Dalziel + Scullion), funded by the Highland Society, London. The film was then reedited by D+S to the final version of the music (funded by 14-18 Now) as an archival version of the work that can be tourer to cinema and or gallery venues.
The BBC produced a 2-hour programme related to the creative commissions surrounding the Iolaire, which were broadcast around the time of the Centenary.
Other 14-18 NOW commissions for 2018 included Peter Jackson, Danny Boyle, Gillian Wearing, Ian Rankin, William Kentridge, James McMillan and Rachel Whiteread.