2007 – The Island Tapes


Tartan Day on Ellis Island Sixth Annual Celebration Set for April 7, 2007

Tartan Day returns to Ellis Island for a sixth year on Saturday, April 7, 2007. The Clan Currie Society again plays host to a day of celebration of all things Scottish.  Headlining the 2007 program will be a thoroughly unique and moving theatrical presentation entitled, The Island Tapes in the Ellis Island Theater. In addition, Ellis Island will play host to a broad range of outstanding performers who will present Scotland’s “portable culture” – the music, dance, and folk tales that were brought to this country by Scottish immigrants.

Live in the Ellis Island Theater – The Island Tapes
An unforgettable multimedia experience might best describe The Island Tapes. Several years ago, Scottish guitarist David Allison was asked to write music for a series of DVDs of silent black and white documentaries held by the Scottish Screen Archive. One of them, the soundtrack for “St. Kilda – Britain’s Loneliest Isle”, ended up being reviewed as “a great musical score” by Empire Magazine. The rest as they say is history.
Allison and TD on Ellis Island chairman, Robert Currie have been discussing the prospect of an Ellis Island performance for some time.  Say Allison, “Bringing The Island Tapes to Ellis Island is the realization of a long held ambition. If your subject is emigration from Scotland to the United States, this place must feature. Alongside the specially created live music we use audio clips of Scots who passed through Ellis Island on their way to forging new lives in America.  It is an honour and a privilege to bring The Island Tapes to the island of hope and the island of tears.”

The show was premiered to great acclaim in Glasgow at Celtic Connections 2006 and played to full houses at the recent Edinburgh Festival. Most recently, the program completed a nationwide tour of Germany.
In addition to the St. Kilda film, Allison and his company will also perform to a screening of “A New Way to the New World.” The film captures a transatlantic sailing via steamship from Glasgow to New York, and then continues up the Hudson River to Niagara Falls.

Ellis Island is a fitting place to observe Tartan Day. The island and its historic buildings represent America’s “Golden Door.”  From 1892 to 1954, more than 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island. Although many Scots arrived during the colonial period of our history – helping to build the new nation – an additional half-million Scots came through Ellis Island.  It has been estimated that 40% of Americans today can trace at least one ancestor’s entry into the United States through Ellis Island.