FolkWorld #69 07/2019
© Hebridean Celtic Festival


24nd Hebridean
Celtic Festival

17 - 20 July 2019

Artist Video HebCelt @ FROG

Global Appeal But Community Identity

The multi-award winning HebCelt returns for its 24th annual festival during 17 - 20 July 2019.

This internationally renowned event has a unique setting in the Scottish Hebridean island of Lewis, the heartland of the Gaelic language and culture. Its welcoming and friendly atmosphere reflects the ethos of the dedicated team of volunteers who have created a festival with global appeal but with a community identity.

HebCelt passionately protects and promotes its heritage, including the vibrant Gaelic and traditional music that is both part of its history and its contemporary life. It mixes the best local talent with leading Scottish, UK and world artists and brings together household names and emerging talent. The result is a diverse blend of sights and sounds that is true to Celtic traditions but also welcoming to new ideas and influences.

Duncan Chisholm

Artist Video Duncan Chisholm

HebCelt is a cultural phenomenon for its community, it offers a sense of homecoming to those islanders returning to meet family and friends and it extends a Hebridean hand of friendship to visitors who invariably come back for more. But don't take our word for it, join us in the continuing adventure and find out for yourself what make HebCelt so special.

Duncan Chisholm

Duncan Chisholm is one of Scotland’s most recognised and accomplished fiddle players and composers. Winner of the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards Composer of the Year and Album of the Year 2018, Duncan’s latest album Sandwood has been widely appreciated. The natural elements that make the Highlands of Scotland such a unique canvas are the force and motivation behind his music. Inspirational wild places and the correlation between music and the natural world drives Duncan to craft beautiful soundscapes full of light and colour. This is new music which is true to its tradition.

Beinn Lee

Formed in 2013, Beinn Lee are rooted in the west coast style of traditional music. Their collective inheritance of Gaelic song and west coast pipe music provide a strong traditional backbone to their music, while their self-penned tunes and songs are infused with diverse modern influences. 2018 saw the release of OSGARRA, their debut album, featuring tunes and songs in Gaelic and English, both traditional and self penned, and is the culmination of five years of performing, writing and arranging music together. []


Fara brings together four leading musicians at the forefront of today’s Scottish folk scene – Jennifer Austin, Kristan Harvey, Jeana Leslie and Catriona Price’s three fiddles and a piano – to produce a fiery sound rooted strongly in their upbringing among the music of Orkney.


Artist Video Fara @ FROG

Following a nomination for Up And Coming Act of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2015, the success of their debut album Cross The Line in 2016 which lead to a nomination for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards’ Horizon Award. Fara are now touring the UK with material from their second album, Times from Times Fall. The four contrasting personalities and individual musical voices in Fara, make for a colourful melting pot – each member brings a different musical pallet to the table. But the strong Orkney fiddle tradition that the four women grew up on together, is the glue that binds them, and is at the heart of each of their musical characters.


Eabhal came together while based on the Isle of South Uist in the Scottish Outer Hebrides. Playing traditional music the band draws inspiration from many different cultures and delivers a spirited, inventive blend of Gaelic song and melodic sets, on pipes, whistles, flute, fiddle, accordion, guitar and vocals. Eabhal were recently named Hands up for Trad, Battle of the Folk Bands 2018 winners at Edinburgh Tradfest and nominated for Up and Coming Artist of the Year at the 2018 Scots Trad Music Awards. Having toured throughout Europe, the band recently released their debut album 'This is how the Ladies Dance' at Celtic Connections in January 2019. []


Artist Video Breabach @ FROG

Elephant Sessions

All originally from the Highlands of Scotland, Elephant Sessions exploded onto the indie folk scene with unparalleled effect. Creating a progressive blend of intricate tunes, engulfing guitars, with a bass and drum heavy backline, their music combines the very best of trad, funk and electronica resulting in a new and exciting sound.

The release of their second album ‘All We Have is Now’ in 2017, was followed by live appearances at some of the world’s most notable festivals. Audiences crowd surfed their way through the summer and marquee floors broke under the weight of bouncing fans. Currently finalizing their third album due for release in May the band have a busy touring schedule before making their way back to HebCelt in July. We can’t wait. []


Breabach continue to build their reputation of being at the forefront of the UK’s world and roots music scene with performances across the world throughout 2018. Alongside tours in Australia, Canada and Europe, the band also released their 6th studio album ‘Frenzy of the Meeting’ in October. Having traversed the world, Breabach have appeared at festivals and venues ranging from Sydney Opera House to Central Park, New York, Audiences can expect to hear firm favourites alongside material from their new album.


JigJam are a multi-award winning quartet from the heart of the midlands in Ireland. Blending the best of traditional Irish music with Bluegrass and Americana in a new genre which has been branded as 'I-Grass' (Irish influenced Bluegrass), their onstage energy along with their virtuosic musical ability has captivated audiences throughout the world.


Artist Video Mànran @ FROG

Jamie McKeogh, Cathal Guinan and Daithi Melia all hail from Tullamore, Co.Offaly with Co. Tipperary born Gavin Strappe completing the quartet. All four members grew up immersed in Irish traditional music and culture which is reflected by the band collectively achieving over twenty All-Ireland titles at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann competitions. They have now developed their own unique style of music influenced by American Folk music whilst staying true to their Irish roots. Described as 'The best Irish group so far in bluegrass' this sharply dressed outfit deliver an energy-fuelled, foot-stomping live performance. All multi-instrumentalists, JigJam interchange between banjos, guitars, fiddles, mandolins and double bass onstage which creates an experience which is pleasing to both the eye and the ear. []


Mànran are one of the best-known and best-loved Scottish bands on the scene today. The 2011 launch of their debut single, "Latha Math" heralded a meteoric rise to the top of the Scottish music world that quickly saw them playing many of the most prestigious festivals in Europe despite having only been in existence a few short months. From then, a multi-award-winning debut album followed as the band set about living up to the hype surrounding their early release while establishing their characteristic sound and distinctive approach to musical arrangement.


Artist Video Talisk @ FROG

Variously tagged as "folk-rock", "trad-rock", "Celtic-rock" and even "grown­up folk-rock", Mànran' s music has always defied easy labelling due to the eclectic mix of influences on the band and the alchemy that melds them. With a central ethos built around the band's traditional Celtic roots, fiery tunes from fiddle, accordion, flute, uillean and Highland bagpipes bind powerfully to a rhythm section awash with elements of funk, jazz and rock to create some of the most innovative and uplifting instrumental music around. Coupled with songs in both Gaelic and English that undergo the same musical mixology, it's easy to understand why Mànran are in such high demand as a live act.


Three of Scotland’s finest Gaelic singers: Eilidh Cormack; Ellen MacDonald and Ceitlin L R Smith joined forces in 2016 alongside multi-instrumentalist Innes White to create the sound of Sian. With a powerful collective sound representing their wealth of individual experience, and their respect for the material they are working with, the band have gone on to perform at the SSE Hydro and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall among many other venues across Scotland, and most recently featured on Niteworks’ single ‘Air Fàir an Là’, released in July 2018. []


In their five years, Talisk have stacked up several major awards for their explosively energetic yet artfully woven - and at all times enthralling - sound, including 2017’s Folk Band of the Year at the BBC Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, and a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award. Mohsen Amini – the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards’ Musician of the Year 2018 – Hayley Keenan and Graeme Armstrong seamlessly meld concertina, fiddle and guitar to produce a multi-layered, captivating signature that has entranced audiences from the USA to Australia, and throughout the UK.

Appearances at world-leading festivals - including the Cambridge Folk Festival, Denmark’s Tønder, WOMAD UK, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Celtic Colours, Milwaukee Irish Festival and five successive outings at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections - have amassed a die-hard following, whilst the world’s folk and world music media have also lauded high praise on the trio. The release of their hotly anticipated second album, Beyond, was met with a five-star Top of the World review in Songlines, noting the band as “incredibly infectious and endearing… fresh, invigorating, accomplished and playfully frisky”.

Photo Credits: (1) Hebridean Celtic Festival, (3) Fara, (4) Breabach, (6) Talisk (unknown/website); (2) Duncan Chisholm, (5) Mànran (by Walkin' Tom).

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