Jane Hepburn from the Isle of Lewis
Tickets for the 2017 Hebridean Celtic Festival go on sale today – and opening the annual music extravaganza is a trio of trailblazing female fiddle players for three Scottish island groups.
Isle of Lewis talent Jane Hepburn is joined by Louise Bichan from Orkney and Maggie Adamson from Shetland as the three bring together their individual styles in a collaboration concert to be held in An Lanntair to open this year's HebCelt on Wednesday, July 19th.
The concert is the second musical project organised by An Lanntair under the 'Between Islands' banner and will explore the traditional tunes and playing styles of the three sets of islands.
Lewis-born Jane is among the elite group of acclaimed musicians to have joined the HebCelt Hall of Fame; and has performed everywhere from Harris to ho Chi Minh City.
Orcadian Louise, who released her debut album 'Out of My Own Light' to great acclaim last year, has also performed far and wide, in Canada, Norway, Denmark, France, Lebanon and Oman.
She was previously part of all-female folk quartet Gria, whose first ever performance won an award at the 2013 Danny Kyle Open Stage award at Celtic Connections – quickly followed up by another win at HebCelt's One Step Further competition.
Fellow Danny Kyle Open Stage Award winner (2008) is Maggie Adamson, who has also scooped Shetland Young Fiddler of the Year (2007), best overall junior fiddler and original composition at the National Association of Fiddle and Accordion Clubs' festival (2008); and was nominated for Up and Coming Artist of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2009.
Maggie has played with several group, including Swingin' Fiddles, but is perhaps best know for her collaboration with Shetland guitarist Brian Nicholson.
Louise Bichan, from Orkney
Running from July 19th to 22nd , HebCelt in An Lanntair this year presents four nights of Gaelic performances at the venue, with shows from Lewis singer songwriter Willie Campbell; piper and singer Calum Alex Macmillan, and Glasgow-based Gaelic folk group Na h-Oganaich.
Alex Macdonald, Head of Performing Arts and Cinema at An Lanntair, said: “An Lanntair are delighted to once again host the Gaelic stage as part of our ongoing partnership with the Hebridean Celtic Festival.
“We are also particularly pleased to feature local artists, and look forward to what promises to be a lively and diverse series of concerts.”
HebCelt Thursday (July 20th) sees the first live performance in his home town of Willie Campbell's 'Dalma' – an all-Gaelic album created in collaboration with veteran Gaelic folk rock musician Calum Martin and released in 2014.
He'll be accompanied on stage by fellow members of musical collective the Open Day Rotation including Chris Martin (bass), Dave Macdonald (guitar), Alex Tearse (keys) and DC Macmillan (percussion) as well as some special guests.
On Friday it's the turn of singer and piper Calum Alex Macmillan to take to the An Lanntair stage, a member of Gaelic supergroups Daimh and Na Seoid, and who maintains a successful solo career, recently launching his new album 'Till (Return)', produced by Capercaillie's Donald Shaw, who will accompany him on keyboards and accordion during HebCelt.
And Saturday sees the return of Na h-Oganaich, the group widely credited with reviving interest in Gaelic music in the 1970s; and whose 2015 concert at HebCelt was recorded as the fastest selling show in the festival's history!
Founded by sister and brother Margaret and Donnie MacLeod, and Noel Eadie, the group won the Folksong competition at the National Mod in 1971 and the Celtavision Song Contest at Pan-Celtic week in Killarney in 1972.
The group re-formed occasionally for one-off performances and recently have been accompanied by local musician Andy Yearley.
Maggie Adamson from the Shetland islands
Na h-Oganaich will also perform in Tarbert, Harris on HebCelt Friday (July 21st) as part of the festival's community programme of events, which also sees Tide Lines – a Scottish band with strong traditional influences – play at Breasclete, Lewis, on Wednesday July 19th; and the following night Canadian female fiddlers and dancers The Lumber Jills will play at Seallam! in Harris.
HebCelt Director, Caroline Maclennan, said: “We are delighted to announce such a strong line-up for the An Lanntair programme and our community events.
“These concerts are integral parts of the festival week and demonstrate our commitment to staging top-class concerts outwith the main arena and support from a range of traditional artists.”
Headlining this year's Hebridean Celtic Festival will be The Waterboys, Imelda May, Dougie Maclean and Lucy Spraggan.
Tickets are on sale from today (Friday, March 10th) and for tickets and further information, visit www.hebceltfest.com