Written for solo piano, Islands of the North is a work that began life as a silent film score. In 2017 I was commissioned by An Lanntair, the arts centre on the Isle of Lewis, to create a live piano score for a showing of Loftur Guðmundsson's 1925 Icelandic documentary Ísland í lifandi myndum'. Depicting scenes of farming, fishing and city life, through to the spectacular waterfalls and dramatic oceans of Iceland, the film shows the strong relationship between Scandinavia and the Outer Hebrides.

I revised the score in 2018 to create a full length solo piano suite for the album. As well as being inspired by Guðmundsson's fascinating film, the music is strongly influenced by my travels to the northern islands of Scotland and the Faroe Islands, and my experience of living in the Outer Hebrides; places where the sea and the weather are ever-present, powerful forces.

Last year I spent a week in the Outer Hebrides recording the album at Black Bay Studio on the Isle of Bernera. It’s the third album I’ve made in this beautiful studio with the wonderful Pete Fletcher, who worked his magic to create a very particular sound for this album.  We’ve gone for an ambience that I hope captures something of the silent film era, as well as celebrating the rich character of the circa 1930s Bechstein piano.

The album will be available exclusively on Bandcamp, and I’ll be performing it live on the 29th September at The Glad Cafe!

Jessica Danz