‘To Scatter’ by Susan Walsh


‘Suddenly Sleep retreats like the undertow of a wave in which a child grasps at a half-glimpsed shell, as I do at this cluster of notes, just heard in a dream.’ Andrei Makine – A Life’s Music

To Scatter is a short film, made by artist Susan Walsh as a memorial to Irish migrants, particularly those to Preston and the North West. It explores the significance of music and song as a vital way for Irish migrants to remember events, people from the past and a way of life left behind. To play music, to sing about important issues, events in the news or to mock or joke about politicians or the wealthy, to sing about traditions, family life, love and tragedy has always been a tool for the poor and disenfranchised to vent their opinions. It is a safe place to keep unwritten views and plot future strategies.

The film features a chandelier made from a set of piano keys. The piano is an instrument, which allows for the integration of Irish music and ballads into an adopted site for meeting and reunion: the church, the public house, the home. This can enable a merging of both Irish and English histories of socialising, worship, contemplation and musical entertainment within a potentially political arena. To Scatter was shown over a two-week period in St. Wilfrid’s Roman Catholic Church, Preston.

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