Maim-Slè is a Gaelic phrase which means ‘torrent’. The book raises questions about culture, language and land, specifically on Mull and in the Highlands and Islands, but wth resonances for many marginalised places and communities throughout the world.
After a sell-out run at the Tron Theatre in March 2020 with the theatre production strand of MAIM, covid-19 restrictions cut short planned three week nationwide tour. With theatres closed, Theatre Gu Leòr focused instead on how they could extend the life and reach of the project, while also supporting freelance artists who were facing a very challenging time.
First, they commissioned a new album by Ross Whyte and Alasdair C. Whyte, who perform and record together as Gaelic electronica duo WH?TE. The album is also entitled MAIM and further develops the sonic landscape of the theatre production and features Gaelic song, instrumental pieces and spoken word. It was released in March 2021 to very positive reviews and is available now.
With support from Comhairle nan Leabhraichean (the Gaelic Books Council), Theatre Gu Leòr went on to commission Alasdair C. Whyte and Gaelic-speaking visual artist Alice NicBhatair to create a new book which includes extracts from scenes from the theatre production, as well as new poetry and prose in Gaelic and English. Whyte has described the collection as “challenging the morality and validity of 'rewilding', of depeopled estates and of large-scale timber production, which further obscure our already critically endangered rich linguistic and cultural heritage and, with it, our identity.” His writing is woven together with beautiful hand-drawn paintings and illustrations by Alice NicBhatair, who also acted as assistant designer on the theatre production of MAIM.
Printed using recycled paper and vegetable inks, in keeping with the ecological themes raised throughout the MAIM project, the book also features forewords by broadcaster Cathy MacDonald, who recently fronted BBC Alba’s documentary Trusadh Bàrdachd Ghàidhlig/Gaelic Poetry, and acclaimed writer Aonghas Phàdruig Caimbeul. Caimbeul writes of Maim-slè, “It brings a sudden flash of significant cultural history to light for these benighted times.”