pilgrimage movie

Crux in ‘Pilgrimage’

In an astonishing soundtrack by composer Stephen McKeon, Crux swells to sixty male voices with overtone singing by Paul McGough to create a terrifying atmosphere in this new Irish movie.

Directed by Brendan Muldowney, this epic Medieval action/adventure drama is yet another Irish production gathering international acclaim. With a star-studded cast that includes Tom Holland (Spiderman), Jon Bernthal (Daredevil) and Richard Armitage (the Hobbit), Pilgrimage will certainly turn heads at its premiere on April 23rd 2017 (Tribeca Festival, NY)

Plot: Christianity is under threat in 13th-century Europe; Rome must shore up its defences and safeguard its valuables. All relics are recalled to the Vatican city, an order that reaches as far as the west of Ireland where a small gathering of monks embarks on a journey to return a sacred relic.
However, the way is dangerous. Ireland at this time was a island torn apart by warring clans and foreign invaders, all hungry for spoils and loot. As the danger intensifies, it becomes clear the monks bear an item of extraordinary significance and allure.

Much of Pilgrimage was shot in county Mayo on the west coast of Ireland. With wild, rugged coastline, pristine beaches and a weather system as unpredictable as the surrounding ocean, this area of immense natural beauty was a summer holiday spot for me as a child with my family. Placenames were loaded with suggested imagery: Silver strand, White strand, Island’s View; Mweelrea, Cregganacopple, Croagh Patrick. There were legends of war below the glacial dark of Killary harbour and in the silent valleys above Leenaun. Wide open skies over a once-forested island, denuded for shipbuilding.

As a boy peering over my father’s roadmaps in the back of the car, the West felt as distant and romantic as the Far East – a quality captured beautifully in Muldowney’s film. It’s hard to know if the pilgrim monks of the thirteenth century really understood just how far they would have to walk to cross the Alps and reach Rome.

Near the heart of bustling Dublin city in heaving traffic lie RTE studios. The home of the National Symphony Orchestra is the perfect location for the ‘orchestra’ of male voices assembled by Crux. Our first recording session was conducted by myself, the second by Mark Armstrong (Director of the Irish Defence Forces School of Music and Military Band)
A behind-the-scenes video of this recording session will be released shortly after the movie premiere (details of which are here).

Also released here soon will be a video in which Paul McGough talks about the special overtone techniques he employs throughout the movie soundtrack, captured expertly by composer Stephen McKeon at Moonflower Studios.

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