15th October 2018
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Fair Isle songwriter will perform for Radio 3

Radio 3’s Between the Ears heads to Fair Isle tomorrow to make a prog­ramme with resident Lise Sinclair about a song written two years ago.

A poet, composer and musician steeped in her home landscape and traditions, Lise wrote the song with composer and producer Damian Montagu from London on the first leg of his “Ocean Tracks” project.

They had written and recorded a song, Empty Ocean, with lyrics Lise had based on the The Halibut Fisher’s Saturday Night: a poem by Paulo Dante from Unst about his grandfather the halibut fisherman, and times when the mighty halibut could be found in the seas around Shetland.

In the lifetime of the old fisher­man, the landscape of fishing has completely changed: It doesn’t surprise me, no-one has hauled Anything so majestic from these waters in the 30 years since It’s an empty ocean out there And there are precious few men left, like this Who might remember where to start looking. Fish are hard to find, and this affects both people and place. The fisherman tries to adapt by managing bigger boats and sailing further and further, negotiating high seas and quotas in search of their living. The cliffs are emptying of seabirds who can’t feed their young as their food chain changes — there is not enough cohesive study or sensible protection of the sea for Shetland to begin to understand or manage this economic and environmental resource.

Radio 3 senior producer Jessica Isaacs is bringing Damian Montagu back to Fair Isle to make a prog­ramme in music, sound, poetry and conversation, about this song of Shetland’s waters. The track was recorded again with just voice and Lise’s uncle Stewart Thomson playing accordion.

Shetland Arts music development officer Bryan Peterson said: “Lise has a well-deserved international reputation for creating high quality and innovative music and poetry, with a particular flair for setting prose to music. Empty Ocean is another fine example of her exceptional work.”

The original track can be found at: http://www.myspace.com/lisesinclair