Carrying the Songs

A story is told and recorded on Inis Mór, a small island off the West coast of Ireland. That story is retold, from person to person, travelling across Ireland and Europe, through Scandinavia to Istanbul. Along the way, it is translated, processed by peoples’ own memories, experiences and cultures. Layers are added and other layers are forgotten and let go. In parallel with the metamorphosis of this story, a drawing undergoes the same process. It starts on the Western edge of Europe and is passed from from artist to artist, participant to participant, all the way to the Eastern edge of Europe. Each participant makes changes to the drawing, so it also undergoes a gradual metamorphosis.

Eachtraítear scéal in Inis Mór, Árainn.
Déantar é a thaifead.
Téann an scéal ó dhuine go duine ar ZOOM.
Trasnóidh an scéal bánta na hÉireann
Gluaisfidh ó thuaidh go Críoch Lochlann
Soir trí bholg na hEorpa chomh fada le hIstanbul.
Bogfaidh an scéal roimhe trí theangacha éagsúla
Trí chultúir áirithe
Trí chuimhní daoine
Ar an gcuma chéanna
Cuirfear píosa ealaíne
Ar mhacasamhail d’aistear
Ó imeall thiar na hEorpa
Go h-imeall thoir na Mór-Roinne

Thosnaigh an tionscnamh seo le tionscnamh píolótach beag sa tSualainn. Le chéile leis an ceoltóir Ewert Ekros, chuamar i mbannaí cluiche Chinese Whispers le groupa beag. Thosaíomar le trí scéal sa traidisiún béil, a raibh baint laidir le Norn, pobal beag in áit iargúlta i nDarlarna. Mar a bhí na scéalta iarrtha agus athiarrtha taifeadaitear na scéalta agus thugadh faoi ndeara na hathraithe. Insealbhú fuaim agus scannán, ag macnamh ar na hathraitha ab ea an toradh.

The game is called Chinese Whispers in English, Stille Post in German, Gluchy Telefon in Polish, Rikkinäinen Puhelin in Finnish, Kitkine Telefon in Lithuanian. On this scale, it is a powerful project which explores notions of memory, sense of place, language, communication and rumor, landscape and migration. It is a project which engages people from twenty different European countries in an exploration of both our commonalities and our differences while creating a collective artwork.

How does this happen?

This giant game of Chinese whispers started in the Galway Gaeltacht in March 2020. Originating on Inis Mór with a story and a drawing (as Gaeilge), it is winding its way through the different Gaeltacht and English- speaking regions of County Galway and Mayo, before heading North to Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal then traversing to Europe, being passed by email and Zoom, through many hands along the way.

The Story

The story started with a young story teller Liam O Flaithearta on the island. The story has been told person to person using ZOOM, and recorded each time.  As it traverses regions, it is changing dramatically and after one week was already unrecognisable from the original story.  It has already been translated from Irish to English – and back again – three times. As language is characterised by landscape and culture, it is anticipated that changes will only increase.

Dúirt bean liom go ndúirt bean lei

D’inis Liam an scéal do Ghearoid a d’inis d’Aisling a d’inis do Cyril a d’inis do Phlunkett a d’inis do Nora Marie a d’inis do Nora a d’inis do Eabha a d’inis do Bhairbre a d’inis d’Aoife who told Lelia who told Julia who told Johanna a d’inis do Naoise a d’inis do Lorcán a d’inis do Ríona a d’inis do Mharianne a d’inis do Mharian a d’inis do Dhiarmuid a d’inis do Bhridget a d’inis d’Aodh a d’inis do Lillis a d’inis do Mhiriam who told Órla who told Niceol who told Róise who told Eugene who told Trish who told Anita who told Bríd a d’inis do Riocárd a d’inis do Neansaí a d’inis do Mhary a d’inis do Fiona a d’inis do Bhrenda a d’inis do Khathleen who told Sofia who told Ailbhe who told Ann who told Eily who told Carole Anne who told Caroline who told Simon who told Emer who told John who told Sarah a d’inis do Mhichael who told Rosaleen who told Stephen who told Thady who told Stephen who told Daniel who told Christine who told Fiachra who told Madeline who told Nikitta who told Eileen who told Sandy who told Maebh who told Jeananne who told Sinead who told Ann who told Alice who told Debbie who told who told Martha who told Nuala who told Joan. D’inis Joan an scéal do Mhary Jo a d’inis d’Aodán a d’inis do Bharra a d’inis do Sheán a d’inis do Phap a d’inis do Threasa a d’inis do Darren who told Jacqui who told Mike who told Sam. Sam told the story to Fionnuala who told Seamus who told Elaine who told Tara who told  David who told Anna who told it to Liam a d’inis do Caoímhín a d’inis do Philip a d’inis do Sheán a d’inis do Rossa who told Mabel who told Dee who told John who told Gifti who told Karen. Karen told the story to Keith who told Breege who told Florence who told Sean who told Grace who told Victoria who told Eithne a d’inis do hEoghan a d’inis do Mhary a d’inis do Phrionsias a d’inis do Suzanne a d’inis do Mháirín a d’inis do Dhónall a d’inis do Rhoisín a d’inis do Chathal a d’inis do hAodán a d’inis do Chonor a d’inis do Sheanán a d”inis d’Oisin. D’inis Oisín an scéal do Deaglán a d’inis do daire a d’inis do Dhónall a d’inis do Sara who told JP who told Madeleine who told Liz who told Aimee who told Paul who told Nicky who told Katie who told Jaff a d’inis do Sheán a d’inis do Frances who told Jayne who told Alexander who told Patricia. Patricia told the story to Christina who told Laura who told Heather who told Tom who told Bea who told Iain. Dh’innis Iain an sgeulachd do Mhaggie a dh’innis do Liam i a dh’innis do Theàrlach who told Mags who told Ruth who told Claire who told Kay who told Tony who told Christine who told Rosie who told Mary who told Alison who told Teresa who told Nigel who told Elen. Adroddodd Elen y stori i Tamar ac adroddodd hi i Christine  who told Paul who told Shane who told Marion who told Sef who told Johanna who told Kate who told Fleur who told Maxime. Kontet en deus Maxime an istor da vMaël qui a raconté à Magali qui a raconté à Guillaume qui a raconté à Franck qui a raconté à David qui a raconté à Natasha qui a raconté à Caroline. Caroline contet a l’Isabela que contet al Sergi que contet a la Monica qui a raconté à Begoña. Begoñak Itziarri kontatu zion istorioa eta Itziarrek Koldori. Koldo a raconté l’histoire à Lore qui a raconté à Marine qui a raconté à Irma. L’Irma va contar la història a la Susana qui la va contar a la Marine qui a raconté à Virginie who told Jorus qui a raconté à  Olivier qui a raconté à Nikola. Nikola erzählte die Geschichte Kathinka, und die erzählte sie Isabella, und die erzählte sie Helga und die erzählte sie Carola und die erzählte sie Martin, und die erzählte sie Linda und die erzählte sie Ronja  und die erzählte sie Arjen. Arjen vertelde het verhaal aan Saskia, die het aan Celeste vertelde, die het aan Marin vertelde, die het aan Reinou vertelde, die het aan Tjitze vertelde, die het aan Neel vertelde, die het aan Carolien vertelde, die het aan Heidi vertelde, die het aan Maria vertelde. Maria erzählte die Geschichte Regina und die erzählte sie Selma und die erzählte sie Karen und die erzählte sie Michel und die erzählte sie Vite und die erzählte sie Susana und die erzählte sie Yacouba und die erzählte sie Anna und die erzählte sie Edith und die erzählte sie Kathleen.


The Drawing

The drawing was started by artist Sean O Flaithearta and is being passed via email, from one artist to another. Every time an artist makes a small change to the drawing, that change is photographed and the image uploaded on to the timeline of a gradually evolving stop-motion animated film.

Contributing Artists to date: Fionnuala Hernon, Cyril O Flaithearta, Aoife Casby, Andrea Rossi, Lelia Ní Chathmhaoil, Maeve Curtis, Noelle Gallagher, Frank Monahan, Dolores Lyne, Louise Manifold, Leah Beggs, Selma Makela, Jennifer Cunningham

Both the original drawing and story will disappear, being replaced by transformed versions of themselves.

in or around 400 participants

throughout 21 countries

in 21 languages

the adventure begins!


Inis Mór, Connemara, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal, Derry, Belaghy, Antrim, Belfast, Ayr, Glasgow, Kinlochleven, Orkney,  Inverness, South Uist, Edinburgh, Kendal, Lancaster, Rotherham, Liverpool, Cardiff, Norwich, Chelmsford, Cambridge, London, Brighton, Brest, Concarneau, Lorient, Perigeaux, Marseilles…. Leeuwarden, Berlin, Aarhus, Malmö, Gothenburg, Örebro, Stockholm, Uppsala, Gävle, Umeå, Haparanda, Jakobstad, Vaasa, Helsinki, Aizpute, Vilnius, Minsk, Warsaw, Poznan, Sokolowsko, Prague, Graz, Ljubljana, Rijeka, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Sofia, Istanbul.


Support this story and drawing in reaching their destination, by buying an A3 limited edition print of the drawing at various stages of the journey. These can be found on the shop page of the Interface website, through this link here.

This project is generously supported by Creative Ireland, Galway County Council Arts Office, The Arts Council, Ealaín na Gaeltachta and the federation of European Story tellers, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Aithníonn Alannah Robins an chabhair mhór a thug tacaíocht airgeadais Údarás na Gaeltachta agus An Chomhairle Ealaín trí Ealaín na Gaeltachta, chun an togra seo a chur ar bun.