Jessica Danz

Performer | Composer


A short studio video from the last week - some last minute practice before recording the piano interlude from Last Waltz.  Today I've begun the daunting task of recording all the vocal tracks... definitely the most challenging part of the process so far!


I'll be performing a live music score that I've written specially for Margaret Tait's silent film 'These Walls' as part of the Story Makars on the 9th of March at An Lanntair.  Writer and performer Gerda Stevenson will read from a new collection of poetry, alongside showings of three short films by Orkney-born filmmaker Margaret Tait.

Tait's haunting work 'These Walls', is an impression of the interior of her studio premises in Rose Street, Edinburgh. It has been suggested that the film was made as she was preparing to move out of the studio - it is a colour, silent film composed mainly of close-ups and panning shots of the walls, and gives a sense of time inexorably passing in the small, simply furnished space.



After several months of travelling it's fantastic to have a space to work in again.  During August and September I'm based on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, where I'm revising and preparing material for several creative projects.  Having spent the last six months collecting information, writing new music and doing a lot of research, it's finally time to sit down and attempt to make sense of it all... juggling the demands of an interdisciplinary practice is never dull.

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I've extended my European explorations, and will be spending the whole month of June in the Faroe Islands, researching traditional Faroese music, attending concerts at the Summartónar festival, and meeting artists, musicians and composers. I'll also be writing and arranging new repertoire and recording live performances in the landscape.  An Artflight Grant from the W.A. Department of Culture and the Arts is helping to support this project.



Following concerts on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides earlier this year, I spent several weeks exploring the neighbouring islands of Uist, Eriskay and Skye. I climbed the mountain Eabhal on North Uist through sun, rain and snow, with a lyre in my backpack, hoping to play to the elements. Unfortunately it was just a little too cold to perform at the top of the mountain... 



In April I visited St. Clement's, a late fifteenth-century church in Rodel on the Isle of Harris. Also known as Eaglais Roghadail, the church was was built for the Chiefs of the MacLeods of Harris.  The beautiful arch with the carvings seen in the video is part of the 1528 wall tomb of Alasdair Crotach MacLeod, the 8th Chief.  The notable 17th-century poet Mairi Nighean Alasdair Ruaidh is said to be buried in the churchyard.

The beautiful acoustic and serene atmosphere of the church proved irresistible, and I performed several songs including 'Across the Sea', which is based on a traditional sea shanty.  I've adapted the music and rewritten some of the lyrics in this new arrangement.


I am delighted to be returning to the Isle of Lewis to play at An Lanntair Auditorium in Stornoway.  I'll be presenting a full length concert of original works for voice, violin, piano, guitar & lyre.  I'll also be playing an intimate show at Bragar Old School on April 23rd to help raise funds for a local community initiative.

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I have been awarded an Artflight Grant by the Western Australian Department of Culture and the Arts.  This grant will help fund my three month project in the UK developing new music and artwork. During February I'm an artist in residence at Allenheads Contemporary Arts in Northumberland; in March I'll be in residency at The Steeple Arts in Fife, Scotland. During April I'm returning to the Outer Hebrides, to continue the artistic research I began in 2015.


© Jessica Danz