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Issue 15 - The Summers Isles

History & Heritage

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Scotland Magazine Issue 15
July 2004


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The Summers Isles

This issue we look at the favourite place of award-winning solo percussionist Evelyn Glennie, with words and photography by Andy Hall

As a native of the North East of Scotland, I was delighted to enlist the participation of Evelyn, whose roots are firmly set in Buchan.

She has enjoyed fantastic worldwide success as a musician since her debut as the first full-time solo percussionist in the world.

To mark her achievements, many awards have been bestowed on Evelyn, including two Grammy awards, numerous honorary doctorates and an OBE. She has performed in forty different countries and spends up to four months of the year in the USA. Along with Leonard Slatkin, she is co-director of a percussion festival in Washington DC.

Evelyn’s favourite spot in Scotland is not in the North East, however, but the Summer Isles in the North West. I took her picture on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in April. I’ve seen these magnificent cumulus clouds on the west coast of Scotland many times and for this shot, I made the decision to place the archipelago of islands at the base of the picture to give the sky the space it needed to fill the rest of the frame.

The same view from Achiltibuie at the end of the day and in afterglow is equally breathtaking. In A Sense of Belonging to Scotland, Evelyn describes herself as being “completely transformed” when she visits the Summer Isles.

The islands are a community, each of which provides for her a sensory experience that she hasn’t felt in any other place – “a kaleidoscope of colour, moods, texture and richness.”

I have seen Evelyn perform several times and have been captivated by the energy and inventiveness of her performances on each occasion.