• Orla Stevens

Faroese Folk Tales

Last week I had the delight of meeting with Eli Tausen á Lava, a Faroese composer I am collaborating with, as part of the development of Sagas & Seascapes.


If you prefer video format to reading, you can check out this video.



Quickly for some context; What is Sagas & Seascapes? For those of you who are new to my work and to this project, Sagas & Seascapes is a project - led by Katherine Wren - which explores cross cultural connections between nordic countries across the North Atlantic.

The project brings together contemporary classical composers, film and visual art in a performance setting. We hope to enrich the traditional concert setting with supporting video and artwork, which deepens the story telling nature of pieces performed, transporting the audience to the locations and narratives that first inspired the music.


If you’d love to come see our project live, or know more about this collaboration you can find all the info here: https://www.sagasandseascapes.com





In Conversation with Eli


I have been commissioned to create a new artwork in response to Eli’s composition ‘Søgnin um Kópakonuna í 10 Myndum’ - The Legend of the Seal Woman in 10 Pictures. This commission has been funded through our crowdfunder (at time of writing, ongoing - more on that below).


https://elitausenalava.com


Through my conversation with Eli, I had the delight of discovering that this composition was originally inspired by artist Edward Fuglø’s series of 10 drawings.


“Edward Fuglø’s drawings illustrate the Faroese legend of a female selkie, a mythological creature capable of transforming from seal to human by shedding its skin, who is forced to live as a human when a young man from the village of Mikladalur steals her sealskin” - Eli

It is now my job to translate Eli’s composition - once inspired by artwork - from music back into image. Who knows, maybe this chain will continue in the future, from my artwork, back to musical format! Let’s put that out to the world and see what happens…


My approach to create this artwork is to continue responding intuitively to sound, as I have done through the series of artwork created for this program of music. Pulling colours, line and mark from my minds eye as I listen and draw simultaneously. It turns out this process of making is one that Eli also shares. Through our conversation I discovered that this piece was composed in a similar way: looking at the imagery and letting the music come free flow on piano, through play and instinctive response to the artworks by Edward Fuglø.



Flute & Clarinet


Responding to Eli's composition through mark making, line & colour research


Combining this open minded attitude with no judgement is an approach to making that I am passionate about, as I believe it makes space for creativity and honest work, in a very natural way. I think you can hear these qualities in Eli’s composition - a total epic, if you haven’t heard it already you can here - which captures so much emotion, range of atmosphere and energy!


I am currently amidst the challenge of representing this piece through my own style and voice. These abstracted marks, colours & textures are being made into a 10-piece series of collages, responding to each of the 10 movements of Eli’s composition & capturing each scene of the story in sequence. Here is a sneak peek into the direction the work is headed:

Responding to Eli Tausen à Lava's piece through mark making & collage

As I mentioned earlier, this project has been made possible through very generous crowdfunding. We have launched this crowdfunder to take the series of artworks and program of music to the Edinburgh Fringe, where the project will perform live at the Edinburgh Storytelling Centre. If you can help support our performance costs, there are a whole range of brilliant rewards available. Please check out our project & if you can, consider donating here.

I will continue to post the progress of this project over on my instagram, so stay tuned to watch this story series develop!