The multi-award winning HebCelt returns for its 23rd annual festival during 18 - 21 July 2018. This unique event is set against one of the most atmospheric backdrops, the Scottish Hebridean island of Lewis with its distinctive Gaelic culture and heritage.
And what makes this event special? Simply the music you will hear which encompasses Celtic cultures tinged with contemporary traditional, rock, indie-folk and world influences. The setting in Stornoway’s Lews Castle grounds which offers access to the wider natural beauty and archaeological treasures the area has to offer. And the island community who reach out and offer a welcoming hand to all to make this one of the most special experiences.
But don't take our word for it, join us in the continuing adventure and find out for yourself what make HebCelt so special.
Adam Sutherland Band
Fiddler Adam Sutherland is a native of Errogie on the south shores of Loch Ness with a twenty year career behind him, performing in some of Scotland’s best loved bands. Many of these have been festival favourites here at HebCelt, including Treacherous Orchestra, Peatbog Faeries, Session A9 and Salsa Celtica. This year he returns with his own fabulous sextet, featuring some of Scotland’s finest trad musicians.
Adam was named ‘Composer of the Year’ at the 2017 MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards and his tunes can be heard in sessions worldwide, from North America to Japan.
Earlier this year at Celtic Connections Festival he released his second solo record; ‘Some other land’ to critical acclaim. The album is made up of tunes that have been coming to Adam in his sleep. This has involved him waking up in the middle of the night with a head full of feverish new melodies, getting the fiddle out and writing the music down. In his pyjamas.
Expect melodic charisma, reasonably OK humour, and an awesome band: Angus Lyon on box, Marc Clement on Guitar, Hamish Napier on keys, Iain Copeland on drums and James Lindsay on bass.
Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas
The musical partnership between consummate performer Alasdair Fraser, "the Michael Jordan of Scottish fiddling", and brilliant Californian cellist Natalie Haas spans the full spectrum between intimate chamber music and ecstatic dance energy. Over the last 18 years of creating a buzz at festivals and concert halls across the world, they have truly set the standard for fiddle and cello in traditional music. They continue to thrill audiences internationally with their virtuosic playing, their near-telepathic understanding and the joyful spontaneity and sheer physical presence of their music.
Fraser has a concert and recording career spanning over 30 years, with a long list of awards, accolades, radio and television credits, and feature performances on top movie soundtracks (Last of the Mohicans, Titanic, etc.). In 2011, he was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame. Haas, a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, is one of the most sought after cellists in traditional music today. She has performed and recorded with a who's who of the fiddle world including Mark O'Connor, Natalie MacMaster, Irish supergroups Solas and Altan, Liz Carroll, Dirk Powell, Brittany Haas, Darol Anger, Jeremy Kittel, Hanneke Cassel, Laura Cortese, and many more.
This seemingly unlikely pairing of fiddle and cello is the fulfillment of a long-standing musical dream for Fraser. His search eventually led him to find a cellist who could help return the cello to its historical role at the rhythmic heart of Scottish dance music, where it stood for hundreds of years before being relegated to the orchestra. The duo's debut recording, Fire & Grace, won the coveted the Scots Trad Music "Album of the Year" award, the Scottish equivalent of a Grammy. Since its release, the two have gone on to record four more critically acclaimed albums that blend a profound understanding of the Scottish tradition with cutting-edge string explorations. In additional to performing, they both have motivated generations of string players through their teaching at fiddle camps across the globe.
Blazin’ Fiddles are one of the world’s most prolific fiddle groups. Celebrating their 20th year in 2018 – and with the release of their ninth album, The Key, in November 2017 – no other band has quite managed to capture the excitement, passion and sensitivity of Scottish music all at once.
With a Blazers performance comes the rare opportunity to hear the regional expressions, from Scotland’s Highlands and islands, and the individual style from each fiddler – Inverness’ Bruce MacGregor, Shetlander Jenna Reid, Nairn’s Rua Macmillan, and Orcadian Kristan Harvey – in a blend of ensemble and solo sets. Fiddles and bows come alight atop guitar and piano from Anna Massie and Angus Lyon, delivering a musically intoxicating evening for all.
Whatever the hall – be it in a Highland village or London’s Royal Albert – this legendary, multi award-winning act never fails to set the hearts of their audiences alight.
With a vibrant mix of folk, rock, salsa and big band jazz, the lively eight-man band catapults old folk melodies into the 21st century. Expect everything from wild polkas and jigs to lyrical waltzes and rough n’ ready sailor songs in an unforgettable live experience. Their debut album “Hopsadaddy” was awarded “Album of the Year” at Danish Music Awards 2011 (Danish Grammys). The band received the “Tradition Award” at the same occasion in 2013.
Habadekuk released their latest album, 'Mollevit', in September 2017.
Iona Fyfe (with band)
Aberdeenshire folksinger Iona Fyfe has become one of Scotland’s finest young ballad singers, rooted deeply in the singing traditions of the North East of Scotland. At twenty-years-old, Iona has established a strong voicing of place in her repertoire and was nominated as Scots Singer of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2017. A finalist in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year, Iona has been described as “one of the best that Scotland has to offer.” (Global-Music.de) and was the winner of the Molloy Award at The Trip to Birmingham Irish Trad Fest 2017. Iona’s voice has been described “a testament to the strength, endurance and adaptability of the tradition.” (FolkWords).
Iona’s debut album Away From My Window offers innovative interpretations of ballads, self-penned and contemporary songs alike, whilst remaining sympathetic to the song tradition of which Iona grew up around. With a number of high profile appearances under her belt, Iona looks forward to performances in the UK, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Holland and Canada in 2018. With her band, comprised of Luc McNally, Charlie Grey and Ross Miller, Iona has performed at several festivals throughout the UK from Orkney Folk Festival to Sark Folk Festival all whilst continuing her demanding studies at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Iona has gained a FLCM in Scottish Traditional Voice from The London College of Music and is one of six National Directors of the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland.
Friends since primary school, brothers-in-law, and musical partners for over 15 years, this powerhouse partnership have won a devoted following throughout the UK and beyond, brilliantly transcending the duo format’s conventional confines.
Linchpin figures in the currently flourishing revival of Orkney’s traditional music, they unite these deep-rooted sources with an exhilarating breadth of influence and expertise, catalysed by a creative empathy born from decades of friendship. The result is a sound of equally thrilling raw attack and multi-dimensional richness.
From both Brian Cromarty and Douglas Montgomery’s seasoned, freewheeling technical fluency on fiddle, viola, guitar, mandola, and vocals – and source-material ranging from native Nordic-hued tunes to 1920s swing, new album Bere finds the pair on characteristically cracking form.
Skipinnish are riding an ever-growing wave of popularity and 2017 has been the biggest year for the band since they began way back in 1999 when co-founders Andrew Stevenson and Angus MacPhail joined forces. With hit after hit of self penned songs and a strong mix of powerful bagpipe, fiddle and accordion led tune sets, they encompass the very best of contemporary Celtic Music.
Their large and growing fan base is such that all Skipinnish gigs in 2017 sold out in advance. From Eden Court Theatre in Inverness to The Queens Hall in Edinburgh and from the Albert Halls in Stirling to the famous Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow, every show has been full and audiences have been going wild! The Barrowland show, which was the band’s biggest gig to date, sold out completely four months early and all gigs announced so far for 2018 are on the way to capacity ticket sales already.
As well as their own stand-alone performances, Skipinnish are one of the hottest acts on the vibrant music festival scene at the moment. Having headlined some of Britain’s biggest festivals in 2017, they have some exciting but limited festivals appearances in line for 2018. With lead singer, Norrie MacIver, hailing from Carloway on the West side of Lewis, The Hebridean Celtic Festival was high on the band’s hit list of desired gigs for 2018 and Skipinnish are delighted to be returning to this iconic island festival.
Skipinnish are headlining the HebCelt’s Thursday night with a main stage performance that is sure to have the whole of Lewis “walking on the waves”!
With strong links to the Hebridean Isles of Tiree and South Uist, the music and culture that they were raised in remains a pure and refreshing trademark in the sound of Trail West.
To date the band has released two albums, both of which demonstrate the incredible musicianship of frontline pair Seonaidh MacIntyre and Ian Smith through high-energy tunes and arrangements, accompanied by the multi-instrumental talents of Andrew Findlater and Alain Campbell. Their second album, 'Rescattermastered', highlighted a key development in the band's outlook, with a wide selection of songs now an integral part of the band's repertoire.
Trail West are now performing at festivals throughout Scotland as a six-piece outfit, adding Jonathan Gillespie on keyboard and vocals as well as Allan J. Nairn on electric guitar, further boosting the energy levels of a band leading the thriving scene of ‘Glasgow Gaels’ and ensuring that traditional music in Scotland has a very strong future.
For the past decade, Acadian powerhouse trio Vishtèn have acted as Francophone musical ambassadors throughout the world. This Canadian trio continue to dazzle audiences with their fiery blend of traditional French songs and original instrumentals, fusing Celtic and Acadian genres with a modern sensibility and rock influence.
Hailing from Prince Edward Island’s Evangeline area and from the most remote reaches of Quebec, the windswept Magdalen Islands, twin sisters Emmanuelle and Pastelle LeBlanc join musical forces with Pascal Miousse to form a sophisticated sonic signature. Their tight sibling harmonies, layered foot percussion, virtuoso acoustic and electric instrumentation create an expansive sound that would be difficult to reproduce, in sheer complexity, by a quintet – let alone a trio. Vishtèn’s trademark blend of fiddle, guitar, accordion, harmonium, whistles, piano, bodhrán, jaw harp, moog, electric guitar and percussive dance make for a unique tour de force of the traditional and contemporary.
After touring extensively on three continents, the name Vishtèn is now synonymous with Acadian music worldwide. In addition to releasing five albums and performing at thousands of international festivals – from the Vancouver Olympics to France’s Interceltique de Lorient – their music has been showcased on American television (ESPN) and the Japanese film, Finding Anne.
Yves Lambert Trio
Yves Lambert was a founding member of La Bottine Souriante and figures among the most influential players of Quebec trad.
Yves Lambert’s charisma and talent, coupled with Tommy Gauthier and Olivier Rondeau’s virtuosity and passion, the nuances of their arrangements and their distinct harmony make this trio a one-of-a-kind musical experience. With their own brand of energy, multicultural ambiance and colourful sounds there’s really nothing quite like the Yves Lambert Trio.
Photo Credits: (1) Hebridean Celtic Festival, (2) Adam Sutherland, (3) Alasdair Fraser, (4) Blazin' Fiddles, (6) Iona Fyfe Band, (7) Saltfishforty, (8) Skipinnish, (9) Trail West, (10) Vishtèn, (11) Yves Lambert Trio (unknown/website); (5) Habadekuk (by Walkin' Tom).