Additional Information

"Tìrean cèin (Distant Shores)" is a multi-media crossover composition commissioned by East-West ensemble, 6ixwire (Xiang Gao, violin and Cathy Yang, erhu), from Scottish composer, Jennifer Margaret Barker and English cameraman/editor, John Anthony Palmer. The work features Scottish Gaelic singer Eilidh Mackenzie, flautist Jenna Knaster, and Celtic drummer Catherine Doersch. 

The Gaelic song text, "My beloved sailed across the furthest sea", was commissioned by the composer from Eilidh Mackenzie, and is written in a traditional Scottish waulking song structure.

In creating the visuals Barker and Palmer decided to create two realms: realism and symbolism represented by historical Scottish scenes, and the meeting of the fiddle/violin and the erhu within their respective traditional musics. 


Unable to make a living after the village’s fishing boats are wrecked, a father has to leave his wife and two sons in order to sign on to a merchant ship. As he walks away along Cromarty beach on the Black Isle in Inverness-shire, Scotland, the father is carrying a violin, as he is a great fiddler.

As months pass, the father’s wife and sons daily watch the ocean's horizon, waiting and hoping…

The father's ship is bound for the East, where it docks at the Chinese port of Guang Dong. Upon being granted a furlough in this port, he hears an erhu for the first time. In searching for the source of the sound, he comes upon court musicians in the grounds of the Yuan Ming Yuan palace. This sparks a 'ceilidh’ whereby the father spends his entire furlough playing violin with the palace court musicians and learning the erhu. When he returns to the ship, the court musicians present him with an erhu as a gift. 

As months and years pass, the father’s wife and sons continue to watch the ocean's horizon, waiting and hoping…

Six years pass…then one day…


All musical, poetic and visual elements contained within this film are copyrighted. All rights are reserved. 

The outdoor footage with 6ixwire was filmed at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, DE, USA. For more information on this museum, please visit:





Distant Shores


Date published
Date recorded
6ixwire, Eilidh Mckenzie, Catherine Doersch
Record company
Visual Images Media Inc.
Live Multimedia Premiere
Mitchell Hall, University of Delaware