Ímar, a five-piece band based in Glasgow, feature current and former members of Mànran, RURA, Talisk, Barrule, Cara, Mabon and The Lowground
Dougie MacLean, one of Scotland’s most revered singer songwriters, is making a return to the Hebridean Celtic Festival next year, more than two decades after he helped launch the event which has become one of Scotland’s most successful music festivals.
MacLean, pictured below, who appeared at the first HebCelt in 1996 and is in the festival’s Hall of Fame, will take his solo show to Stornoway in 2017.
He will be joined at the event by Skerryvore - just announced as 'Live Act of the Year' at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards - and who have a new single and album to be launched in the new year.
Also announced for next year’s event are the Peatbog Faeries, pictured below, another act in the HebCelt Hall of Fame and one of the biggest names in contemporary folk music, who are marking their 25th anniversary this year.
New live act Ímar, who include members of groups including RURA, Manran and Talisk; make their HebCelt debut. Also appearing will be local favourite C. Macleod (formerly known as The Boy Who Trapped the Sun) whose eagerly awaited new album comes out next year; and the Luke Jackson Trio, another HebCelt first, featuring the award-winning singer songwriter from Canterbury.
Ímar, a five-piece band based in Glasgow, feature current and former members of Mànran, RURA, Talisk, Barrule, Cara, Mabon and The Lowground. All five group members originally met as teenagers through Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the Irish traditional music network that tutors budding players.
Their debut video, released during Celtic Connections 2016, has been viewed more than 200,000 times. Credits also include the opening set at last year’s Cambridge Folk Festival (technically, the band’s first billed gig) and headlining a stage at Belgium’s Dranouter Festival just a week later.
The band will release their debut album ‘Afterlight’ in January during Celtic Connections. It features stunning artwork by artist Bruno Cavellec, depicting Ímar, a 9th-century king who reigned across the combined territory of Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man from where the band members originate.
They said: "We can't wait to get over to Lewis and bring the Mar to HebCelt! We've all been over before with other groups and had an incredible time. It's such a beautiful place and the festival is one at the top of our list - bring on July!”
HebCelt, which will be held from 19-22 July, has already announced headliners The Waterboys as well as former X Factor contestant Lucy Spraggan, and Tide Lines, a Scottish band with strong traditional influences who launched earlier this year.
HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said: “Dougie Maclean enjoys legendary status and is in the festival’s Hall of Fame for his outstanding contribution to music for more than 40 years, so we are thrilled he is returning to HebCelt.
“The other artists we are announcing are a fantastic blend of established favourites and exciting new names which add up to a truly wonderful Christmas cracker for festival fans.”
Dougie MacLean, OBE, is a much-honoured singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer, who last appeared at HebCelt in 2013, the same year he received the BBC Radio 2 Lifetime Achievement Award. He was then invited into the festival’s Hall of Fame and agreed to become an ambassador for the event.
He has also won a string of other honours, including Tartan Clef Awards, a gold disc for sales of over 500,000 for his music used in the film, the Last of the Mohicans, and a place in the Scottish Music Hall of Fame. His ending of the Closing Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (with Kylie Minogue and Lulu) was viewed by over a billion people worldwide.
For the last 20 years he has also had a house in Lewis and is a regular visitor to the area when not touring around the world.
MacLean said: “HebCelt is rightly regarded as one of the best festivals, with its unique setting, the wonderful atmosphere and great music programme. “I have a long connection to the island of Lewis and to the festival, dating back to the very first event, and it’s always a real joy to return to see so many friends and perform to the brilliant HebCelt audiences.”
Skerryvore were formed in the island of Tiree in 2005 by brothers Daniel and Martin Gillespie with holidaymaker Fraser West and friend Alec Dalglish over a shared love of music which includes everything from traditional to rock and jazz. The seven-piece has evolved with the arrival of Craig Espie, Alan Scobie and Jodie Bremaneson.
Earlier this month the band won the Live Act of the Year Award at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards. They said: "It has been five years since we last visited HebCelt so we are extremely excited about returning next year. It is one of the best festivals in the UK so we are delighted that it will be part of our new album tour in 2017."
The Skye-based Peatbog Faeries have twice been named Live Act of the Year in the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards and last year they were nominated for Album of the Year for ‘Blackhouse’. They were also nominated for Best Live Act in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2012. In 2010 the band, along with Julie Fowlis and Runrig, were the first inductees to the HebCelt Hall of Fame.
They said: “We are really looking forward to playing again at HebCelt. It is one of our favourite festivals and the crowd is always really up for having a good time, which makes it all the more enjoyable for us. Roll on July!
Lewis-based singer songwriter Colin Macleod, now performing under the name C.Macleod, will be playing on home turf at HebCelt. He toured the Highlands in 2013 with Ethan Johns, best known for producing Ryan Adams, Laura Marling and Ray LaMontagne, and now Johns has produced Macleod's debut album, ‘Bloodlines’, due for release next year.
Luke Jackson is a young roots singer songwriter who in 2013 was nominated in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for both the Horizon Award for Best Emerging Talent and The Young Folk Category. His third studio album, ‘Tall Tales and Rumours’, was released last month.
Early Bird tickets for next year’s festival are on sale via the HebCelt website - www.hebceltfest.com
The 2016 HebCelt was the most successful in the event’s 21-year history. Headlined by Runrig and featuring more than 50 other artists including the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Hayseed Dixie, Julie Fowlis, Eddi Reader, John McCusker, King Creosote and Breabach, it smashed all previous records.