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Iorram (Boat Song)

1h 36m Documentary 2021

The first cinema documentary entirely in Scottish Gaelic, ​Iorram (Boat Song)​ is a lyrical portrait of life in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, past and present..

Director Alastair Cole takes the audience on an immersive journey into the heart of a thousand-year-old community, blending archive sound recordings with contemporary visuals shot over the past three years, set to an original score by acclaimed folk musicianAidan O’Rourke.

At the core of the film is an extraordinary trove of sound archive, recorded by pioneeringScottish ethnographers in the mid-20​th​ century, who visited the Outer Hebrides to capture the hardship and romance of life lived in precarious balance with the sea. These newly restored recordings preserve an oral history of lore and legends, tall tales and tragedies, passed down through generations of Gaelic speakers reaching back hundreds of years.

This soundtrack from the past is accompanied by images of the working rhythm of the islands today, on land and on water. The tough realities of fishing and gutting in all weathers and seasons co-exist alongside superstitions and visions of mermaids, faerie folk and mysterious vanishing islands.


Alastair Cole


Aidan O'Rourke


Scottish Gaelic





Bonus Content

Making Of - Director's Comment


Director Alastair Cole’s comment on the making of Iorram (Boat Song)

Q&A with composer Aidan O'Rourke


Discussion between the Film’s composer Aidan O’Rourke and director Alastair Cole about Iorram’s score

Q&A with Dr Magnus Course


Discussion with Dr Magnus Course and director Alastair Cole about the research underpinning Iorram on the relationship between Scottish Gaelic and the fishing communities of the Outer Hebrides.

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