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On Saturday 23rd January at 21:30 Radio 3 are to re-broadcast Jessica Isaac’s programme made in Fair Isle in May 2009 inspired by the song "Empty Ocean" by Fair Isle singer Lise Sinclair which she recorded with composer Damian Montagu from London. The song is based on a poem by Shetland’s Paulo Dante, "The Halibut Fisher’s Saturday Night". The song has been described as a “sonic journey” exploring fishing traditions past and present and the island’s continued worry about the changes in fish stocks and seabird populations:

It doesn’t surprise me, no-one has hauled Anything so majestic from these waters in the 30 years since It’s an empty ocean out there And there are precious few men left, like this Who might remember where to start looking’

The track can be found at -

Declining fish stocks is a subject close to Fair Isle’s heart, in the middle of what used to be fertile fishing grounds. In the meantime, the cliffs empty of seabirds who can’t find fish for their young and in a wider context, the commercial fisherman try to adapt by managing bigger boats and sailing further and further, dredging new depths and negotiating high seas and quotas in search of their living.

Radio 3 senior producer, Jessica Isaacs brought Damian back to Fair Isle in May 2009 to make a programme in music, sound, poetry and conversation. The song Empty Ocean was recorded again in Fair Isle with just Lise’s voice and her uncle, Stewart Thomson playing accordion. Information on the programme can be found here -

Artist info

Lise Sinclair writes poetry and music, steeped in her home landscape and traditions, and has performed dialect singing at events including Celtic Connections and international festivals in Europe. She wrote and performed "Ivver Entrancin Wis", a suite of Shetland poetry set to music performed by musicians including Chris Stout, also from Fair Isle, and Catriona McKay. The work was released on CD in 2008 and is available to buy online.

Damian Montagu is a composer and producer, who has worked with leading directors such as Paul Arden, Daniel Barber, Roman Coppola and Gore Verbinsky. His company Radial ( specialises in the composition of bespoke music for commercials, games, films and television

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