The Magnetic North


Orkney: Symphony of the Magnetic North is a project conceived by Stromness born musician Erland Cooper and is inspired by the folklore and landscape of his homeland and in particular the story of Betty Corrigall, whose visitation in a dream was the initial spark for the project. In the dream Betty gave Erland a list of track titles that relate to local places and landmarks: Bay of Skaill, The Old Man of Hoy, Orphir, Rackwick etc. and insisted he write and record an album about the islands where he grew up. “I had absolutely no choice in the matter” says Cooper.

Together with acclaimed musicians Hannah Peel (solo artist 'The Broken Wave') and Simon Tong (The Verve, The Good the Bad and the Queen, Gorillaz) they formed The Magnetic North, taking their name from the title of the 1930's Orkney travelogue book of the same name. An album was written and recorded over nine months in London and the Orkney Islands and released to critical acclaim in May 2012.  

‘elegiac melodies that drift like the winds buffeting the islands’ ****Mojo

‘unobtrusively lovely melodies’ **** The Times 

‘songs as gloriously haunting as the land that spawned them’ **** Q Magazine

‘something close to mesmerising’ **** Clash

During the writing and recording of the project the group set up their portable studio at Erland’s parents house in Alfred St, Stromness to the sounds of the Atlantic Ocean buffeting the harbour front. They also took their recording equipment over to Hoy to capture vocals in the Dwarfie Stane and to the Hoy Kirk where they recorded local singers 'The Stromabank Pub Choir' who will also be joining the group for this unique performance along with drummer James Field and a selection of local brass and string players.

As a backdrop to the performance The Magnetic North have also commissioned a specially made film installation by Scandinavian visual artist Peter Normann which they plan to tour the UK with in the Autumn.

Listen to "Bay Of Skaill":


For Booking enquiries please email clairecourtney[at]