Alan Reid

Friday 11th January 2019 (8.30 pm)

Alan Reid is a gifted singer, songwriter and musician, best known for his time at the helm of Scotland's Battlefield Band, who have been pre-eminent in Scottish traditional music for over forty years.  Alan spent several decades as with the group, as they toured worldwide to an ever increasing audience, and his songs and keyboard playing were a major feature of their repertoire during this period.

 

Since retiring from the band in 2010, Alan has been performing in a duo with Dutch guitarist and singer Rob Van Sante

The Ian Walker Band

Friday 15th February 2019 (8.30 pm)

Ian Walker is a successful and popular singer and songwriter from Glasgow. He has released twenty albums/song books and his last solo CD in 2011, “Singing the River”, was nominated for the British Country Music Association (BCMA) Awards in London hosted by Alvin Stardust. In 1988, with Fellside Records, Ian won the Music Retailers Association (MRA) Award for Excellence in London presented by Sir Patrick Moore. Ian’s songs have been covered and recorded by many other artists worldwide and have been sung before Nelson Mandela and Arun Ghandi. Ian has performed in America, Holland, Germany, Ireland and throughout the UK.

 

Jimmy Scott is based in Bo’ness and has been singing and playing his own brand of country Gospel music since the 1960s. From an early age, music played an integral part in family life originally with the old Gospel hymns, but later melding with the songs of The Carter Family, Hank Williams, Jim Reeves and Johnny Cash amongst others. In 2005, Jimmy released his own solo album “Bread upon the Water” and supported “The International Ambassador of Country Music” George Hamilton 1V on his UK Tours in 2005 and 2006 and at the Americana Festival, Newark, England.

 

Moe Walker is from Holywood, Northern Ireland and has performed as an acclaimed singer on the music scene for many years. With her group Tricycle she appeared on STVs popular Scottish Variety Show “THINGUMMYJIG” along with Alastair McDonald and The Alexander Brothers. In recent years, Moe has recorded and provided harmonies and accompaniment in a variety of line ups and has sung in the USA, Holland, Germany and throughout the UK.

Rallion

Friday 25th January 2019 (8.30 pm)

Rallion are a three piece contemporary folk group, hailing from Glasgow and Perthshire. They bring a wide range of musical influences together to create their powerful persuasive music. Their unique sound is based around the fiddle powerhouse of Fiona Cuthill, the distinctive voice of Marieke McBean and the virtuoso guitar and bouzouki playing of Steve Lawrence. In 2006 they released their first album "For No-one and Everyone" to very favourable reviews. Their second album "One for Sorrow" was released in 2009.

 

Marieke McBean was born in The Netherlands but moved to Scotland in 2001 due to her love of traditional Scottish music. She was an active participant in the Edinburgh session scene for several years. In early 2008 she moved up to Loch Tay, Perthshire, an area where she's now involved in various musical projects.  Marieke is one of the vocalists on "The Complete Songs of Robert Tannahill - Volume 2". She also performed at its launch concert during Celtic Connections 2010. Marieke was classically trained in singing from the age of eleven upwards, but now prefers the more traditional style. 

 

Stevie Lawrence was a mainstay with Iron Horse for 3 years, releasing 3 albums and touring extensively. After leaving the band, he toured and recorded with Anna Murray, Tannas, Canterach, Chris Armstrong, Mick West, Wendy Weatherby and Duncan McRone. More recently Stevie toured and recorded with The Red Hot Chilli Pipers. He currently is a member of leading new UK Country band Raintown.

 

Fiona Cuthill was classically trained in violin by Bill Baxter, who played in the renowned Halley Orchestra. After leaving school, she studied more traditional styles of playing and spent the next 10 years playing in ceilidh bands and sessions all over the country. 

Fiona has been a member of several traditional/folk bands in her career so far, including Whirligig, Canterach and Real Time. Fiona is in demand as a session musician and has appeared on CDs including releases by prog rock band Abel Ganz, Stevie Lawrence, pipers Judy Barker and Donald Campbell, The Clydesiders and Raintown. She is also a prolific composer and one of her tunes was recorded by Quebecois band Le Vent du Nord. To her delight, Fiona performed live with this band at Celtic Connections 2012.

Fiona Hunter & Mike Vass

Friday 8th February 2019 (8.30 pm)

Fiona Hunter is one of Scotland’s foremost traditional singers and is fast garnering a reputation as a highly gifted song interpreter.  Fiona began her singing career while completing her degree at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), where she studied under the tutelage of highly revered singers Andy Hunter, Alison McMorland and Brian MacNeill.

Fiona undertook an internship at the illustrious Smithsonain Institute in Washington DC, home to decades of invaluable folklore study. Having developed a particular enthusiasm for the songs of the Scottish Travellers, she has worked with members of the Perth-shire based Stewart family, learning her craft first-hand from the last tradition-bearers of this celebrated folksong dynasty.

Fiona has been singing as part of renowned folk song group Malinky for the best part of a decade. Her time with the group has seen them win many accolades including the prestigious Folk Band of the year award at the 2010 MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards. Fiona has also been nominated three times in the Scots Singer of the Year category at the awards.

 

Winner of the prestigious ‘Composer of the Year’ award at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards in 2012, Mike Vass is fast gaining a reputation as one of Scotland’s foremost tunesmiths.

Mike is regarded as one of Scotland’s finest fiddle players, in great demand as a performer, composer and teacher. He has toured extensively in the past few years with leading Scots Song band Malinky, in a duo with twin sister Ali, and with International super group Fiddle Rendezvous, featuring Bruce Molsky, Maryann Kennedy and Gerry O’Connor.

Mike’s New Voices Commission ‘String Theory’ debuted in 2010 at Celtic Connections, and was described as ‘the most direct and honest since the idea was first conceived … precision, subtlety and attention to detail’. One of the highlights, the avant-garde piece ‘Man’s Search’ inspired by Viktor Frankl’s best-selling book, was described as ‘utterly compelling’ and was subsequently featured by the Victor Frankl Institute in Austria to commemorate Frankl’s birthday.

In 2012 Mike went on to release his critically acclaimed solo project ‘DecemberWell’. A highly original, kaleidoscopic work inspired by the Scottish Winter month of December.

Jez Lowe

Friday 1st March 2019 (8.30 pm)

A double nomination in the 2015 BBC Folk Awards – for best singer and best new song – was a timely reminder of Jez Lowe’s standing in the UK folk and acoustic music scene. Not only he is one of the busiest live performers in the country, but his songs are among the most widely sung by other performers, whether by long-established acts like Fairport Convention, The Dubliners and Bob Fox, or by the new breed of stars like The Unthanks, The Young Uns and The Duhks.

Jez’s own long-established band The Bad Pennies (featuring Kate Bramley, Andy May and David De La Haye) continue to attract a huge following, and his other collaborations with The Pitmen Poets (with Billy Mitchell, Bob Fox and Benny Graham), The Broonzies (alongside fellow-veterans Maggie Holland, Chris Parkinson and Roger Wilson), Men at Words (with James Keelaghan and Archie Fisher) and with fellow-songwriter Steve Tilston, show a willingness to push boundaries and venture boldly into pastures new.

Meanwhile, his involvement in the award-winning BBC series The Radio Ballads continues, with his song The Wrong Bus singled out for inclusion on Radio 4’s Pick of the Year last December. The song is also featured on his last solo album, The Ballad Beyond, the success of which prompted a feature in fRoots magazine and glowing reviews the world over.

Jez’s ongoing partnership with fellow-singer/songwriter Steve Tilston reached fruition in 2016, with the release of a duo album, The Janus Game, consisting entirely of new, co-written songs by the duo. They continue to tour together, most recently with the addition of Chris Parkinson on keyboards and Hugh Bradley on bass, under the monicker, The Tilston Lowe Sometimers.

Jez’s latest project, earmarked for early 2018, is the publication of his first novel, The Dillen Doll, with an accompanying CD featuring a “suite” of traditional songs inspired by the story within it. This endeavour sees him return to his roots in the folk music of his native North East England, and will be the focus of his work in the year ahead, with live performances based around it earmarked for late 2018.

Jez shows no sign of slowing down, with tours of America, Holland, and Canada lined up over the next twelve months, alongside an enviable list of UK dates. Festival appearances planned for summer 2018 include appearances at Warwick, Chester, Whitby, Broadstairs and Sidmouth. The Radio Ballads series continues to enthrall, and major concerts based around THe Ballad Of Child Migration are being lined up for the Autumn.

Harbottle & Jonas

Friday 15th March 2019 (8.30 pm)

Harbottle & Jonas are a stunning young folk duo based in Totnes, Devon. Their music is eclectic and always accompanied with a great story. Together the husband and wife duo combine the rich traditions of folk music with original and contemporary interpretations through a blend of closely intertwined vocal harmonies and compelling and authentic musical arrangements, blending concertina, harmonium, banjo, stomp box, acoustic guitar and dobra. They have developed a unique and original signature sound, that is unmistakably Harbottle and Jonas. They can sometimes be found playing alongside their full band of 8 members in total (cello, fiddle, mandolin, trumpet, drums, bass).

They have received plaudits from folk icons including Seth & Geoff Lakeman, Jon Boden, Rod Clements, Lankum, Declan Sinnott, BBC Introducing and have been endorsed by Seasalt Clothing. Their music had been streamed in excess of 1,000,000 times in 25 different countries and they have also played a gig with Martin Carthy. Well travelled across the UK and playing up to 200 gigs each year, Harbottle & Jonas have managed to establish themselves as one of the most exciting prospects on the folk circuit. Dave & Freya will be leading the folk course at The Internationally renowned Dartington Summer School this year.

Rachel Carstairs, Iain Hyslop & Ross Macleod

Friday 29th March 2019 (8.30 pm)

North East Folk singer, Rachel Carstairs is one of Scotland’s most exciting young traditional singers. Rachel started singing at the age of 4 and picked up the fiddle when she was 7. In 2016/17 Rachel attended the “National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music” in Plockton. Her first singing teacher was Wendy Weatherby and her current teacher is Fiona Hunter. She has previously been taught fiddle by Barbara Anderson and Gordon Gunn. 

While being at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music Rachel recorded songs for the annual CD. “Brick by Brick” was the 2017 album and is available on iTunes, Spotify or to purchase from Sgoil Chiùil na Gàidhealtachd.

In 2016 she worked with the BBC for a Radio Programme called “The Untold” for BBC Radio 4, which is about her journey for her audition into the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Rachel has also made appearances on BBC ALBA and BBC 1 Scotland for “Robbie’s Shepard’s – Take the Floor, Keith Festival Special”.

Rachel has performed at many events such as Keith TMSA Festival, Olympic Torch Tomintoul 2014, National Piping Centre, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and the Blue Lamp – Aberdeen Folk Club.  She is currently studying BMus Traditional Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she studies Scots Song and is taught by Fiona Hunter. 

From representing schools at Word National competitions to competing in local festivals, Rachel has a passion for singing. Rachel performed at the 25th Anniversary of Celtic Connections in 2018 along with many other members from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Jimmy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith

Friday 12th April 2019 (8.30 pm)

Jimmy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith are one of the finest duos to have emerged onto the British folk and acoustic scene in recent years. Their combination of outstanding vocal work, sensitive instrumentation, and a powerful social conscience has brought them widespread critical acclaim.

"To be a great folk singer, you have to be a great storyteller, as Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith are clearly aware. The duo are both fine singers and multi-instrumentalists." (The Guardian)

The songs themselves are always given centre stage but they are brought to life with stunning musical arrangements and vocals. There is an integrity that shines through their performances and a common thread of political struggle, resistance, and justice.

Their critically acclaimed second album 'Night Hours' was released in December 2016 on Fellside Recordings. Described as 'exhilaratingly diverse and full of impeccably crafted songs', it has cemented the duo’s reputation as two of the most exciting musicians and social commentators on the scene.

"Making common cause between antique songs and present circumstances is one of the grails of modern folk, one this young duo pull off impressively...Rousing stuff." (The Observer)

Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith will be recording their third album in the spring and airing some of the material on their spring tour and at festivals throughout the summer (including Warwick, Ely, Fire in the Mountain, Bude and Chester). The new album is due to be launched at 'Kings Place' on September 6th.

Kirsty Law

Friday 26th April 2019 (8.30 pm)

Kirsty Law is an innovative Scots songmaker and singer based in Edinburgh. From a background learning from some of Scotland and Ireland’s great tradition bearers such as Sheila Stewart, Cathal McConnell and Sheena Wellington, she has gone on to compose her own material in a style dubbed by Record Collector magazine as ‘folk art-pop’.

The mainstay of Law's musical education came from learning traditional ballads and Scots folk songs. Today she draws on this rich tradition in her own composition, often writing in a 'patchwork' style, layering and combining traditional and original melodies, poems and text with a highly contemporary result. 

Her original songs have been played widely on national radio and even once mentioned in Scottish Parliament.

Working with artists of different mediums is the lifeblood of her work - performing alongside poets, storytellers and sound artists as well as responding to the work of contemporary visual artists.

Ivan Drever

Friday 10th May 2019 (8.30 pm)

Orcadian musician, Ivan Drever has recently re-released two items from his back catalogue: “Isles Ne’er Forgotten” and “Tradition”. Earlier this year he also issued “Collection (The Best of Ivan Drever Volume 1)”. His lyric songwriting, extensive traditional repertoire and virtuoso guitar playing have been part of the Scottish music scene for over 30 years and he continues to produce new material and perform live.

A live recording was made at the Orkney Folk Festival in 2016 when Ivan was invited to get together a group of musicians to perform at “The Gathering”, an annual event. This recording has now been released on Ivan’s Orcadian Recordings label. The album features the Kirkwall City Pipe band, The Orkney Song Shop singers and a host of Orcadian musicians of note, including Andy Cant, Stewart Shearer, Iain Tait, Billy Peace, Graham Peace and Dylan Pepper.

He has recorded a host of albums both solo and with other performers. Revisited (The Wolfstone Songs) was released in 2015 and covers songs and tunes originally recorded when Ivan was the frontman with acclaimed Scottish band Wolfstone. Ranging from the Bothy Ballad “Sleepy Toon” through to live favourites such as “Close It Down”, the tracks feature just Ivan and his guitar. Like Revisited II, the album was recorded in at Bainbridge studios in Edinburgh. Produced by Ivan, it was engineered, mixed and mastered by David Chisholm.

Ivan’s live set features songs chosen from all his albums alongside several as yet unreleased new songs. Now resident in Norway, Ivan regularly plays live. He has recently toured England, Scotland, Denmark and Norway, the USA and Russia with plenty more dates in the pipeline for the future!

The Lasses

Friday 24th May 2019 (8.30 pm)

Sophie Janna and Margot Merah sing together like sisters. Songs from the Celtic and American traditions and beautiful original songs are brought with clear voices, heavenly harmonies and full hearts. The Lasses specialize in strong stories that speak to audiences now as much as when the songs were first written. With honest, effective arrangements on bodhrán and guitar, the beautiful blend of the women’s voices takes the center stage.

Sylvia Barnes & Sandy Stanage

Friday 7th June 2019 (8.30 pm)

Sylvia and Sandy have been working together since the 70s, when they were founder members of the seminal Scottish band "Kentigern". They perform widely at home and abroad, featuring the best of both traditional and modern music and songwriting.
"Sylvia Barnes has a superb Scots singing style" - Sheena Wellington
"Sandy Stanage is the guitar guv'nor" - Archie Fisher

James Brothers

Friday 21st June 2019 (8.30 pm)

The James Brothers are not really outlaws, neither are they brothers and only one of them is called James.

They come from the lands down under – Australia and New Zealand to be precise; lands in which the traditional songs and tunes of the British Isles have evolved their own unique characteristics, like musical marsupials. And it’s these songs and tunes, and several of their own making, that The James Brothers have united to play.

Performing sets fuelled by flat white coffee (the pair bonded over their shared taste in the Southern Hemisphere’s rival to the latte) that combine the virtuosity for which they’re renowned and the gusto and spontaneity of a pub session.

For Fagan and McClennan this is about bringing their distinct Antipodean-steeped folk to a new audience, with songs and tunes brought to life by a fraternal bond between two very silly, but captivatingly gifted musicians.

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