In May 2017 Anne Martin travelled from her home on the Isle of Skye, to Melbourne, where she attended the YIRRAMBOI First Nations Arts Festival.

The Gaelic singer from Trotternish was one of only 20 artists from across the world invited to take part in the festival’s First Nations Creation Lab.

The Lab asked First Nations artists to challenge the influence of Western approaches to performance.

Anne and the rest of the group were taken on an intimate journey of Aboriginal culture: visiting important landmarks, connecting with First Nations artists, and exploring opportunities for collaboration.  

Not only did the trip deepen Anne’s understanding of First Nations practice, but it gave her the opportunity to share her own indigenous language through song. On one occasion, she sang a traditional Gaelic song suitable for a wake and the other 19 artists from across the world joined in. 

‘I’ve never been one to perceive that by singing in Gaelic that’s in anyway restricting. I think indigenous languages have a place in global conversations about breaking down barriers.’ – Anne Martin

The exchange was part of our work to build on our involvement with Showcase Scotland, a programme run in partnership with Creative Scotland each year at Celtic Connections, which introduces international musical professionals to Scottish music. 

Anne’s experience is a fantastic example of the power of international partnership working in arts and culture. We can’t wait to see what comes from these new friendships and we’re looking forward to collaborations between Gaelic and First Nations artists in the future.

Watch the video above to learn more about Anne’s visit to the Melbourne festival, and to hear her singing a song she shared while there. 

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