HebCelt Unveils An Lanntair and Community Concerts

By Reporter, The HighLand Times, Thursday March 22 2018

A unique collaboration featuring wartime musical memories from the Northern and Western Isles will be showcased at the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival this summer.

The concert will start a programme of events during the festival at An Lanntair arts centre in Stornoway and is the latest in the Between Islands series.

As part of celebrations to mark the centenary of the end of World War I, the show on Wednesday, 18 July will be presented by Orkney-based Saltfishforty - fiddler Douglas Montgomery and vocalist and guitarist Brian Cromarty – along with singers Jenny Keldie, from Shetland, Linda Macleod, from North Uist, and Kathleen MacInnes, from South Uist.

It will feature music and songs linked to that period of history, along with others that are relative to the theme, all originating from the Islands.

Alex Macdonald, head of performing arts and cinema at An Lanntair, said:

“The beauty of Between Islands is that it both showcases the music and song of the Islands collectively, and also offers an opportunity for artists to work together for the first time.

“In addition, this year it is important to commemorate what was such a significant part of our islands’ histories, and so it will also give the musicians the opportunity to research suitable material and, importantly, to collaborate over how such an important subject is presented.”

The four nights of performances at An Lanntair will also feature Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, Blasta and Arthur Cormack and Friends.

HebCelt has also announced details of community events during the festival, tickets on sale now.

Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser and Californian cellist Natalie Hass (pictured), who have been thrilling audiences internationally for many years, will take to An Lanntair’s stage on Thursday, 19 July.

Known as ‘The Michael Jordan of Scottish fiddling’, Fraser has a list of TV, radio and film credits, including ‘Titanic’ and ‘Last of the Mohicans’ and was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame in 2011.

Haas, a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, is one of the most sought-after cellists in traditional music today.

The duo has recorded five albums together, including their debut, ‘Fire & Grace’, which won the coveted Scots Trad Music Album of the Year award.

On Friday 20 July, it’s a Hebridean homecoming for Blasta,(the Gaelic word for tasty or delicious) which brings together a group of multi-talented Gaelic singers from Lewis - Anna Murray, Mischa Macpherson, Ceitlin Smith, Josie Duncan and Calum Alex Macmillan – to celebrate the traditional music of the islands.

A specially-commissioned project by HebCelt, this exciting and culturally-rich show won huge praise at last year’s Lorient Interceltic Festival, Europe’s biggest Celtic festival, in Brittany, and also went down a storm at Celtic Connections in January.

On stage on Saturday night is renowned Gaelic singer Arthur Cormack and Friends.

Last year Arthur released ‘Buanas’, his first solo album in 30 years and this is the first opportunity for him to take the music ‘on tour’.

“It is always a pleasure to appear at HebCelt, a wonderful festival which has an international reputation and contributes so much to the cultural life of the Hebrides.

“I am delighted to have this opportunity to put together a band to perform the songs from my latest album, as well as some other old favourites.

“I will be joined by my former Cliar bandmate, Ingrid Henderson, and other musicians who performed on ‘Buanas’ and there may be also be a surprise or two!

“I love singing to audiences who are able to join in with some of the songs and I’m sure those who come to Tarbert Community Centre and An Lanntair will be up for that challenge! I’m very much looking forward to it.”

The previous evening, Arthur and friends will also play in Tarbert in Harris as part of HebCelt’s community programme, which takes the festival to outlying parts of the islands.

The programme will also see Trail West play at Breasclete on Wednesday, 18 July.

The band, whose members hail from Tiree and South Uist, plan a new album in 2018, backed with a new six-piece festival line-up.

The following night Tallan Na Mara in Harris hosts Vishtèn, a trio of multi-instrumentalists from Prince Edward Island, who merge traditional French songs and Celtic and Acadian music with a modern twist of rock and indie-folk influences.

This year’s HebCelt is being held from 18-21 July in Stornoway and will be headlined by Deacon Blue, The Fratellis, Eddie Reader and Roddy Woomble.

HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said:

“HebCelt is much more than just the main arena stages and we take great pride in bringing the festival to the town centre and to outlying communities.

“The An Lanntair and community concerts are a vital part of the week and we are delighted the line-ups of traditional artists are again very strong.”


Day tickets are available exclusively from the festival website.

See www.hebceltfest.com.


Stay connected with all the festival’s news:

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Sponsors https://www.hebceltfest.com/backstage/sponsors



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