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Having grown up in the Orkney Islands, Graham had always heard about the links Orkney has with the rest of the world. The fact that people from such a small group of islands set out on treacherous journeys, at a time when many would never have left Orkney before, and make such an impact on their arrival was something he found very inspiring.

During his time at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Graham began looking at the links between Orkney and Canada in more detail, particularly those involving the Hudson’s Bay Company.

From around 1670 the ships sailing from London with new recruits for HBC would make their final supply stop in Stromness. With the arrival of these ships, Orcadians saw an opportunity to escape poverty and hard times for a new opportunity in Northern Canada. A recruitment officer was stationed in Stromness and Orcadians began head off across the Atlantic to the frozen north. By 1799, 414 of the company’s 530 employees were Orcadian.

 

Following extensive research into this topic Graham set about writing a new suite of music that would feature a selection of stories about those that travelled and highlight their achievements.

With 2020 being the 350th Anniversary of the Hudson’s Bay Company the show was premiered at Celtic Connections with a sold-out headline show in Glasgow's Mitchell Theatre.

James Lindsay
The Band
Padruig Morrison & Graham Rorie
Graham Rorie & Olivier Demers
Padruig Morrison & Graham Rorie
Le Vent du Nord
Padruig Morrison
Signy Jakobsdottir
Signy Jakobsdottir
Graham Rorie
James Lindsay
Nicolas Boulerice

Full Gallery of The Orcadians of Hudson Bay Show - Celtic Connections 2020

Graham assembled a band for this show featuring some of the standout names in Glasgow's folk scene including Rory Matheson (Piano), Padruig Morrison (Accordion), Kristan Harvey (Fiddle), James Lindsay (Double Bass) and Signy Jakobsdottir (Drums & Percussion). This stellar line-up was enhanced by the addition of roof-raising Québécois quintet Le Vent du Nord.

A studio album of the material is underway and due fro release in 2021. Further touring in also in the pipeline to share this unique show with audiences across Scotland and further afield.

© 2020 by Rebecca Hill

Graham Rorie & Olivier Demers