Linda Buckley – composer

Mother’s Blood, Sister Songs is a transmedia documentary project by Athena Media exploring how the genetic roots of Iceland reveal its gaelic heritage. The documentary is presented by the Irish composer Linda Buckley and made by Helen Shaw and John Howard.


In this opening feature Linda Buckley takes us back to her own family home; a farm at the Old Head of Kinsale and shares how it has shapes her sonic and visual aesthetic and how this dramatic and isolated landscape connects to Iceland where she has written and composed work. for more about Linda and her work.

In this final look back on her exploration from Ireland to Iceland, composer Linda Buckley gives an insight into what she discovered and what she feels it tells us about creativity and music making in Iceland.


The story of Melkorka, the Irish princess slave of the Icelandic Sagas, has haunted the journey. But her life and story has been given more substance by the genetic research showing the majority of women in the settlement period of Iceland were indeed gaelic and presumed, like her, to be slaves. The genetics has given reality to the theory that Irish and Scottish teenage girls and women were the first mothers of Iceland.

Our project has been obsessed with not just giving voice to those often silenced lives but to a sense of what their impact and legacy has been, through the stories, the songs and the language they gave their children. How has that influenced and inspired the literary, musical traditions and creativity of Iceland from then to today?