hirta-songs

Hirta Songs

(with Alasdair Roberts)

Stone Tape Recordings, 2013


‘Inspired by a trip to the long-abandoned Scottish archipelago of St Kilda in 2007, Hirta Songs is a present-day odyssey into the islands’ bleak past, Robertson’s sharp words allowing Roberts to craft a deeply moving tale of hardship, privation and the awesome power of nature.’ 
Andrew Male, Mojo

‘The Scots singer Alasdair Roberts continues his singular path with an eighth outing that’s a collaboration with the poet Robin Robertson… Masterful.’
Neil Spencer, Observer

‘An outstanding collaboration…At the heart of the record is a kind of mystic invocation of a forgotten life filled with simple needs and desires…Balancing these human concerns is the dramatic long poem, read by Robin, his “Leaving St Kilda”. This too has a mystical quality, almost like a litany in supplication to dramatic volcanic rocks thrust by incredible forces through the broiling ocean. It’s a dramatic piece made strangely beautiful by the improvised harp from Corrina Hewat, which somehow seems to invoke the jagged rock, churning sea and freewheeling birds in the magnificent remoteness that Robin describes…It all adds up to a wonderful record that does the job of building up the unique setting for its story, an album that very specifically has its place. The skill is the way that the songs and Robin’s poems and lyrics create a mental landscape that is all but tangible. This may be one of Alasdair’s boldest collaborations and may well also be one of his best.’ 
Simon Holland, Folk Radio UK

‘The music of Alasdair Roberts has always been mysterious, evocative and beautiful, perhaps never more so than on this release where he is joined by poet Robin Robertson, his words adding another level of enchantment to the disc… Quite possibly the centrepiece of the album, “Leaving St Kilda” features the words of Robin Robertson for the first time, a ten-minute epic that is simply magnificent, the music and poetry allowing the listener to see, feel and experience the landscape and its memories, centuries of tradition and wilderness encapsulated beautifully. I reckon folk music has had a good year with many quality releases, this however goes straight to the top of the pile, essential is too small a word for its majesty and power.’
Simon Lewis, Terrascope   

‘Absorbingly explorative… Hirta Songs is a collaboration with the Scottish poet Robin Robertson, in which they construct a mournful and darkly mystical suite of songs… It’s an album that vividly evokes nature at its most unforgiving and it has such strongly visual presence that the end feels like you’ve actually just sat through an unusually moving movie.’ 
Colin Irwin,  fROOTS