The Magnetic North – Erland Cooper, Hannah Peel and Simon Tong – release an album, Orkney: Symphony Of The Magnetic North, on May 7, via Full Time Hobby Records.

The band was formed in January 2011 by Orcadian singer-along with bandmate Simon Tong and singer and orchestral arranger Hannah Peel, following the appearance in a dream about Betty Corrigall, an Orcadian girl who killed herself in the 1770s after her village cast her out for becoming pregnant by a visiting sailor.

The track listing covers places in Orkney – Rackwick and Warbeth beaches, sea port Stromness, the rock formation Old Man of Hoy – all on a list ‘handed’ to Erland, along with some snippets from the finished album, by Betty in the dream. Really.

The album was recorded on a portable studio in the living room of Erland’s parents’ old house on the Stromness harbour front, as well as at Hoy Kirk with the Stromabank Pub Choir, and in the Dwarfie Stane, a neolithic rock on Hoy with a person-sized chamber hollowed out inside.
Another Orcadian, Kevin McKormack (aka Half Cousin) is featured on closing track ‘Yesnaby’.

Here’s the single ‘Rackwick’:

You can also get ‘Bay Of Skaill’ as a free download in return for a ‘like’ of the band’s Facebook page

The band play Orkney’s St. Magnus International Festival on June 28th.