HEBCELT: SHOWCASING THE BEST OF GAELIC MUSICAL TALENT
Hebridean Celtic Festival
Year of Natural Scotland
For use – Thursday, 14 March, 2013
- HebCelt confirms Gaelic stars line-up
- Leading artists to perform at An Lanntair
- 18 weeks to festival's 18th birthday
Some of the finest Gaelic artists from Scotland and Ireland will be taking to the stage in Stornoway when the Hebridean Celtic Festival celebrates its cultural heritage.
The Gaelic Showcase will be held over four days at An Lanntair arts centre during HebCelt, which runs from 17-20 July and this year is marking its 18th anniversary.
The festival was first held in 1996 to raise awareness of Celtic music and to promote the Gaelic language to a wide audience.
Caroline Maclennan, the festival director, said: “We place particular emphasis on supporting and promoting local artists, including our Gaelic tradition bearers. This showcase initiative, devised in collaboration with An Lanntair, is demonstrative of our ongoing efforts to raise awareness of our unique heritage to the international audience that the event attracts.
“The line-up brings together some well-established and emerging talents and our audiences can look forward to some memorable concerts.”
The opening show on Wednesday, 17 July features Lewis Women and Friends, an idea originally conceived by An Lanntair as part of the centre’s opening series of events in 2005 and has become a highlight of the annual programme. It has brought together some of the finest traditional singers from the islands, sometimes for the first time.
This year's line-up will see singers Isobel Ann Martin, Linda Macleod and Fiona Mackenzie joined by harpist/vocalist Micha Macpherson and fiddler Jane Hepburn.
The following night Arthur Cormack & Blair Douglas and Friends take to the stage. Arthur, a former Royal National Mod gold medal winner, has several albums to his credit as a solo singer and with Blair and others in the bands Mac-talla and Cliar. He is currently recording a new album for release later this year and is also chief executive of Fèisean nan Gàidheal which serves 45 Fèisean (Gaelic arts festivals for young people) across Scotland offering tuition to around 13,000 individuals annually.
Blair, a founder member of Runrig, is an acclaimed solo artist who was voted Composer of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2008 and the following year An Aifreann Ghàidhlig – a Gaelic Mass – which he composed, premiered at the Blas Festival.
Arthur Cormack said: “It is great to see HebCelt specifically showcasing Gaelic music at this year's festival and I am very pleased to be appearing in one of the Lanntair concerts along with Blair Douglas and others.
“HebCelt has become hugely popular and I know, from experience with my own family, how much young people enjoy attending the events.
“HebCelt attracts an audience of all ages, though, offering a wide range of music to suit many tastes and I believe it contributes to the normalisation of Gaelic with Gaelic artists appearing alongside those from other musical genres. It is also great to see the festival taking events outwith Stornoway so that the enjoyment and benefits are more widespread."
On Friday audiences will be treated to Nasc - meaning ‘link’ in Irish - a new cross-cultural collaboration featuring two of Scotland and Ireland's finest young Gaelic singers, Maeve Mackinnon and Gráinne Holland. The project also includes three phenomenal instrumentalists; Donal O'Connor (At First Light), Ross Martin and celebrated cellist and composer Neil Martin.
Saturday is the turn of Kathleen Macinnes with her band. Kathleen has enjoyed a varied career in broadcasting, film, theatre and singing for many years. She has acted in short films and sang in the first ever Gaelic feature film Seachd - The Inaccessible Pinnacle - from which Ridley Scott hired her to sing on the soundtrack of Hollywood film Robin Hood in 2010.
She featured in The Transatlantic Sessions Series 5 with Aly Bain, Jerry Douglas and Alison Krauss. Her second album was awarded Album of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2012 and a track from that album, Sneachd Air Druim Uachdar was nominated at the Radio 2 Folk awards 2013.
In addition, on Thursday before festival headliner Van Morrison, the main arena will host BLASTa (tasty in Gaelic) a collaboration specially commissioned for this year’s HebCelt and featuring multi-talented Hebridean Gaelic singers Calum Alex Macmillan, Norrie Tago MacIver, Jenna Cumming, Gillie Mackenzie, Anna Murray and Mary Smith.
And the younger talent are not forgotten, as the Islands Stage on Friday afternoon will feature a special showcase for Fèis Eilean an Fhraoich.
Other projects aimed at promoting Gaelic to visitors to the festival include language taster sessions, You’ve Been G’d which seeks to engage audiences with short Gaelic phrases and the opportunity to promote language and learning opportunities by other agencies through the festival.
Tickets for the 18th HebCelt have been selling well with advance sales to fans across the UK and Ireland, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and America. Day tickets were available to buy from 1 March and early sales are encouraging with more than double the number being sold than at the same time last year. More than 70 per cent of all tickets sold so far have also gone to off-island fans.
Other headliners are Dougie MacLean, Capercaillie, The Battlefield Band and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.
The line-up also includes Karine Polwart, Darrell Scott, Pete Roe, Paddy Callaghan, and local artists Iain Morrison, The Boy who Trapped the Sun and Face the West, as well as Dundee’s Anderson, McGinty, Webster, Ward & Fisher; Lau, voted ‘Best Group’ at this year’s Radio Two Folk Awards; Orcadian eight-piece The Chair; The Hot Seats, from Virginia; Manchester outfit The Travelling Band; Welsh band Rusty Shackle; Fatherson and The Dirty Beggars, from Glasgow and Rose Parade, a four-piece from Ayr.
For further information contact
01463 724593; 07730 099617
NOTES TO EDITORS
The 18th HebCelt takes place between 17-20 July, 2013 and will have two main stages on the Castle Green in front of the Lews Castle in Stornoway, as well as performances in An Lanntair and throughout the rural community.
This year the festival has been selected for the third year in succession as one of the top ten UK summer festivals by music magazine Songlines. It emerged victorious as Best Large Festival at the industry-sponsored Scottish Event Awards 2011, in a three-way final with Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and Glasgow’s Celtic Connections.
Visitors from Algeria, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand and the US made the journey to Lewis last year, as well as many from across the UK.
The overseas contingent helped swell the ranks of a 120-strong volunteer army that contributed over 3,500 unpaid man hours over the course of the four days.
HebCelt is supported by Creative Scotland, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Highlands & Islands Enterprise and injects more than £1.5 million annually into the local economy.
It is regarded by critics, performers and festival-goers as one of the top Celtic music festivals in Europe and has twice won the Best Event of the Year award at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, which is voted for by the public.
HebCelt has been hailed as one of the UK’s top 50 festivals by the Daily Telegraph and one of the top five by The Scotsman.
The festival has its own YouTube channel, Facebook and Twitter outlets.