LONDON CALLING FOR HEBCELT STAR
Hebridean Celtic Festival
Year of Creative Scotland 2012
- Olympic date for island festival singer
- Hebridean welcome awaits Australian artist
- Songs will reflect cultural similarities
: “I like the edgy roots Scottish folk sound and I really like to discover new music so I will be looking forward to some great new music experiences.”
As athletes prepare for London 2012 one man is warming up for his Olympic spot by flying to Stornoway to take part in one of Scotland’s premier music festivals.
Australian singer-songwriter Frank Yamma is on track to perform tonight at the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival which runs until Saturday in Stornoway in Lewis.
Next week he will be on stage at the BT River of Music Festival, one of the main entertainment events being held ahead of the Games, before he appears at the world music WOMAD festival in Wiltshire.
“I’m very excited about the (Olympic) event”, said Frank, who comes from the Australian central desert. “I was in the UK last year for the City of London Festival and had a really great time.
“I’m also looking forward to coming to Scotland. It is really exciting to play on the other side of the world. It will be a different experience for me and good to explore that part of the world.
“Parts of Scotland seem a little bit like the desert I come from - big skies and country. I get quite a few people from Scotland contacting me on my Facebook site and I get the impression the Scottish people love their singer songwriters so I am hoping for a warm reception.”
He believes his songs, which have their roots in the culture of the indigenous Australian people, will have a particular resonance with the island audience.
“I come with no frills; I live the life I sing about...songs about life in the desert, the plight of my people and their land. But I like my gigs to be good fun and laid back as well so don’t think it is too dark.
“Indigenous Australians have a lot in common with the Scottish people. Our history runs parallel in many ways - having to fight oppressive governments looking to wipe out our people and culture and way of life.
“I think also that as a people we both love and rely on our songs and storytelling to pass down the wisdom of the ages and retain our cultural in our heart. Indigenous culture is retained in its 'songlines' .
“We have both struggled and battled over the years to keep our culture true and we are still struggling to hold that culture together”.
Frank first appeared on stage at the age of 11 with his father, Isaac, and his music has since allowed him to travel the world and play with a host of international stars. Last year he played on the same bill at Bob Dylan, Grace Jones and Elvis Costello at the Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia and this year performed at the National Folk Festival in Canberra in front of 52,000 people.
“Everything that is happening for me I find amazing. I grew up in the desert camps and never in my wildest dreams expected to be travelling the world singing my songs”, he said.
Ahead of HebCelt, he says he is looking forward to seeing The Waterboys, who headline the event along with the Proclaimers and Kassidy: “I like the edgy roots Scottish folk sound and I really like to discover new music so I will be looking forward to some great new music experiences.”
However, part of his experiences will not be learning Gaelic despite his interest in language: “I speak five indigenous dialects, but as I will only be in Scotland for a few days I think it will have to remain a mystery to me.”
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NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The 17th HebCelt takes place between 11th and 14th July 2012 and will, for the second year running, 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.
2. This year it has been selected for the second year in succession as one of the top 10 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.
3. HebCelt injects more than £1.5 million annually into the local economy.
4. It is regarded by critics, performers and festival-goers as one of the top Celtic music festivals in Europe.
5. The festival is made possible through the support of funders, advertisers and a vital and large volunteer workforce- http://www.hebceltfest.com/backstage/sponsors. It relies on scores of volunteer workers who clock up over 3,500 unpaid hours during the event.
6. HebCelt 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.
7. 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.
8. A large quantity of children under 14 can attend concerts at the Festival Arena each night for free if accompanied by someone who is 18 or older.
9. This year’s headliners are The Waterboys, The Proclaimers and Kassidy. Other artists appearing include Julie Fowlis, Skerryvore, Admiral Fallow, Roddy Woomble, Niteworks, Mànran and Larkin Poe.
10 HebCelt has its own YouTube channel, Facebook and Twitter outlets.