Metagama: An Atlantic Odyssey - The Album

by Metagama: An Atlantic Odyssey - The Album in Inverness, Highland Council, United Kingdom

Total raised £805

£20,000 target 39 days left
4% 19 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 2nd August 2024 at 6:00pm

We would love your help to raise funds to enable us to record an album of the music and song from our Metagama show in CD & digital formats.

by Metagama: An Atlantic Odyssey - The Album in Inverness, Highland Council, United Kingdom

Metagama: An Atlantic Odyssey

Since the initial 2023 Creative Scotland-supported Highlands & Islands tour of our show 'In the Wake of Metagama: An Atlantic Odyssey in Story and Song', we have been inundated with requests for recordings of the music featured in the concert.

The show marked the centenary of mass emigration from the Hebrides to Canada in 1923 /24, celebrating the lives of those young emigrants and sharing some of their stories and experiences in Canada, the USA and  beyond.


The ships SS Metagama, Marloch and Canada carried off nearly 1500 islanders from  the ports of Stornoway and Lochboisdale, bound for Canada mainly on Assisted Passage Schemes, with passengers from throughout the Western Isles from Lewis down to Barra and Vatersay.

Life was quite hard on the farms where many young men were sent, or in 'service' with wealthy families for the young women, as well as out west in Red Deer, Alberta, where winters and working conditions were harsh.

While some of the emigrants stayed in Canada, many went down to the USA in search of better jobs and better pay. Island societies - offering support and opportunities to socialise within a Gaelic community - sprang up in cities like Toronto, Detroit, New York, Cleveland, Chicago, Buffalo and beyond, where motor and construction industries presented attractive opportunites. Membership often ran into hundreds, such was the scale of immigration into Canada and the US from this Hebridean emigration. The Lewis Society of Detroit had over 300 members in the 1920s, with grandparents and other family members of our show ensemble being among those numbers. 


Although many forged new and successful lives for themselves, most suffered enormously from homesickness and a deeply intense longing for home that is described in Gaelic as 'cianalas'. 

For many it proved too hard to bear, and along with the economic fall-out and hardship during the Great Depression, caused many to return home to Scotland.

The loss of so many young people, coming on the back of WWI and the Iolaire disaster, contributed to the depopulation of the Hebrides and would have a profound impact on those who left, those who stayed behind, and on island communities right up to the present day.

Celtic Connections Festival 2024

Since taking the show to a sell-out Celtic Connections Festival audience in Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall in January 2024,  requests for an album have multiplied exponentially.

In addition, we have received numerous pleas to take our show to many new locations and venues, at home and abroad.

Project Aims

While a new tour is being organised, we would like to fulfil those audience requests for an album. We want to record the show's music and song in a professional recording studio, have physical cds manufactured as well as digital versions of the album for download. The album will also feature artwork and some narration. It will be of top professional quality, performed by the musicians, singers and artistes from the show.

It will be costly, as the show included over twenty pieces of music and song, of which we would like to record as many as possible. In addition, we would like to include some narration and of course the beautiful artwork of Doug Robertson. It will involve many weeks of planning and rehearsal, recording studio time and engineering fees, mixing, mastering and manufacture of cds, travel & other costs for artistes, all of which will total in the region of £20,000.

We would like to offer the opportunity of pre-ordering a physical CD or digital album, and other rewards from our ensemble, by way of pledges or donations to our Crowdfunder appeal. The appeal will remain open until August and we would aim to record the album in October/November with delivery to donors as soon as possible after mixing, mastering, and completion of digital versions and manufacture of physical cds.We estimate this to be approximately February / March 2025.

The musical and song compositions, writing, artwork and creative collaboration in the resulting show, have been a labour of love for all those involved. The subject of mass Hebridean emigration, including some of our own families, is very close to our hearts, and it has been a project to which we have all felt deeply and emotionally attached.  It is now our greatest wish that we enable that body of work to find a new permanent legacy, or home, in the form of a quality recording.

We thank you humbly and gratefully for any assistance you feel able to give and hope that you will enjoy the album and other rewards when they arrive!

Original Compositions, Poetry, Art & Traditional Gaelic Song

Along with traditional Gaelic song, the show's music was largely original, composed by the ensemble artistes, with the story celebrating the lives of those young Hebridean emigrants written and told in poetry and narration by Donald S Murray and Dolina MacLennan. 

Original accompanying artworks were created by visual artist Doug Robertson and were featured onstage along with archive photographs.


Ensemble Musicians

Ensemble musicians comprise acclaimed performing artistes, including Charlie McKerron, Calum Alex Macmillan, Willie Campbell, Christine Hanson and Liza Mulholland. In addition, saxophonist Bev Fraser joined the group at the concert in Inverness's Eden Court Theatre in April 2023 and in the Royal Concert Hall at Celtic Connections 2024.

None of it would have been possible of course without the skills and talents of sound engineer Steve Bull at the mixing desk, ensuring sound was great for both the audience out front and performers onstage.

All in the Metagama team thank you for taking time to read this Crowdfunding appeal and are hugely grateful for any help you may wish to offer. Taing a rithist.





*****Simply superb...Highland News & Media 

'Best thing I've ever seen on Barra'...local musician attending the show in Castlebay School, Isle of Barra.

'The only thing wrong with it was I didn't want it to end!'...audience member in Eden Court's Empire Theatre.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£20 or more

6 of 1000 claimed

Album Physical CD + Digital Download

Physical CD with additional digital download.

£10 or more

Album Digital Download

Digital download of album.

£25 or more

2 of 100 claimed

Poetry Book + Set of Art Cards

Set of 4 Art Cards by Metagama artist Doug Robertson + Signed Poetry Book by Isobel Dixon and illustrated by Doug.

£30 or more

3 of 1000 claimed

Album + Book Bundle

Physical CD + Digital Download + Donald S Murray's novel The Salt And The Flame

£50 or more

1 of 100 claimed

Album + Book + Art Bundle

Signed Physical CD + Digi Download + DS Murray's Novel 'Salt and the Flame' + Pack of Art Print Cards by Metagama artist Doug Robertson.

£100 or more

3 of 100 claimed

Thanks on the album + Physical CD Copy

Have your name included as a special donor on the album + Physical Copy of the Album.

£300 or more

0 of 10 claimed

Personal Tune Commission

Have a personal tune composed as a special gift for a loved one or celebratory occasion! Yours to name as you wish and receive a quality recorded copy in digital or cd format.

£800 or more

0 of 5 claimed

Personal House Concert

Host the ultimate house cèilidh / concert with two or more members of our ensemble playing, talking and singing for you and your family / guests in the comfort of your home. This is only available in Scotland and while some locations might prove challenging, we will endeavour to fulfil this where possible.

Show your support

Payment and personal details are protected