- North East Scotland, Denmark & Norway -
Eyvind Gulbrandsen, a Danish based composer and installation artist has been selected by SICC Productions to visit Buckie, in the North East of Scotland to start his initial research. He will be working alongside Buckie and District Fishing Heritage Society (in collaboration with Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen), to unveil the story behind many of the Danish and Norwegian people who sought refuge in this small fishing town.
In 1940, following the German invasion, hundreds of Danish and Norwegian refugees – men, women and children – sailed across the North Sea in small fishing boats to seek refuge in Scotland. Many of these settled in Buckie, a community of some eight thousand people on the Moray Firth coast. The town was often described as ‘Little Norway’, with a Norwegian Consulate, reading room and Sjømannskirken (Norwegian Church Abroad) being established in the town during 1942. The Danish refugee population, although smaller, was no less a significant part of the town’s wartime experience and collective memory.
Both the Danish and Norwegian communities were, therefore, important parts of the life of the town during the war years, bound together by their common heritage of North Sea fishing and a determination to achieve victory in the War. Many of these ties have endured ever since. There were many marriages between Norwegians, Danes and Scots. Some settled in Scotland permanently, many others returned to Norway and Denmark with Scottish spouses. Notable figures, such as the businessmen Trond Mohn and Otto Thoresen, were born in Buckie as part of this exiled community.
This project is a partnership between Buckie and District Fishing Heritage Society and Professor Peter Reid of the School of Creative and Cultural Business Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen who has been researching this largely neglected story. Professor Reid has been leading research into the Norwegian and Danish refugees in Buckie during the Second World War using archival sources, oral history testimony, personal narratives and storytelling (now largely second generation), photographic collections (both publicly accessible such as the extensive holdings of the heritage society and those personally retained), newspaper reports and other sources. The local public libraries and its local heritage service are also involved in the work.
Eyvind Gulbrandsen is educated at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus, Denmark and the Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo, Norway under guidance by a.o. Karl Aage Rasmussen, Bent Sørensen, Rolf Wallin and Olav Anton Thommessen. For the last 15 years Gulbrandsen has lived and worked in Denmark as a freelance composer and a teacher in composition. His works include solo/chamber music, music for orchestra and theatre, electronic/electro-acoustic music and installations. His works often include performance, installations and scenery. He always work in close collaboration with his musicians to develop his compositions and in recent years has been focusing on the possibilities in co-creation with either the musicians, the audience, or both.
His main inspiration is the people he works with, the raw material for each piece being stories, objects or melodies regarding a certain topic or theme. Whichever route he explores his inspiration is most often the collected narratives of musicians’ lives seeing his pieces often being presented as a combination of a concert, intervention and installation; more an event, or happening, than a conventional performance. His works have been performed by acclaimed ensembles and musicians across the Nordic countries, Germany, England, USA and Canada and at festivals such as UNM, Nordic music Days, SPOR festival and Klang: Copenhagen Avantgarde Music Festival.
Macduff - Stu Smith