strange rainbow | harp & electronics

strange rainbow  strange rainbow

strange rainbow - Scottish harp & laptop bridging Scotland’s past and present.

Catriona's passion for tradition is fused with new ways of playing the harp and Alistair's electroacoustic explorations reveal new hybrid worlds of human and environmental sound.

Take the sound, language and tradition of the Scottish harp by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shake with a laptop.

strange rainbow's music traces the thrill of shared sonic adventure.



A live electroacoustic improvising duo combining Scotland's dynamic and innovative harper Catriona McKay and electronic music guru Alistair MacDonald. They create a strange rainbow of live instrumental improvisation, surreal soundscapes and psychedelic textures from pre-recorded sounds and live audio transformation.


Catriona McKay, and Alistair MacDonald have been working with harp and live electronics since 2001. In 2002 Alistair wrote a piece for Catriona called ‘The Salutation’for Scottish harp and electroacoustics. Since then they have been exploring live improvisation and have been building a programme of new works. Alistair MacDoanld, a leading electroacoustic composer uses custom software for laptop programming and performance with Catriona using new playing techniques on her ‘Starfish McKay’harp. which has a unique tuning pattern.


Alistair MacDonald is a composer and performer of electroacoustic music. His work draws on a wide range of influences reflecting a keen interest in improvisation, transformation of sound, and space. Many of his works are made in collaboration with other artists from a range of media, and explore a range of contexts beyond the concert hall, often using interactive technology.


Shaping, stretching, twisting and sculpting the instrument using new playing techniques and custom software they are pushing the clarsach far beyond tradition.


strange rainbow enjoy making music in strange places, including Battlehill woods in Huntly, Scotland where they recorded their CD Skimmerin’. With the interaction of the woods themselves they captured a special moment of sound between two musicians, a wooden harp, a high spec laptop and the natural environment at mid-summer in Scotland.

www.alistairmacdonald.co.uk




Catriona McKay 2015