Orkney Folk Festival 24-27 May 2018
Highlighted are artists appearing at this years festival – with particular interest to the brilliant array of local artists who are appearing throughout – as well as visiting artists to this world renowned festival !
Have a brilliant festival !!!
Brothers Fraser Bruce (vocals) and Ian Bruce (vocals, guitar, mandolin), joined by Pete Clark (fiddle) and Gregor Lowrey (accordion)
For more information click on links below!
A new band on the scene in Orkney, BANYAN features the collective talents of Eric Linklater, Nathan Omand and Jake Watson. With twin fiddles and guitar, and a mixture of old and new material, this trio is certainly one to watch for the future.
A family band from Holm, The Brewers are siblings Zack, Vaila and Katie, accompanied by their dad, Andy. With a love of traditional and contemporary folk music from around the world, the quartet sing, play fiddles, flute and the occasional ukulele.
The Chair (Orkney)
An annual Orkney Folk Festival highlight is The Chair at Saturday night’s Stomp. If you’ve not seen this multi-instrumental band before, prepare yourself for dancing, jumping around, shouting and clucking (yes indeed). With their third CD release on the horizon, this award-winning band has travelled far and wide in its ten-plus years, but somehow returning to where it all began is just that extra bit special…
Craig Paton Dance Band (Scotland)
Twice All-Scotland accordion champion Craig Paton, along with his Scottish Dance Band,
Dougie MacLean (Scotland)
Three parts Orkney and one part Nashville… The Driftwood Cowboys sound like no other band in the isles today.
Duncan Chisholm (Scotland)
An expressive and soulful singer, Jo Philby has been a welcome addition and firm fixture in the Orkney folk scene for well over a decade, with her blend of folk, Americana flavoured and contemporary songs. She has two albums under her belt, with her third in the pipeline. Jo regularly tours Scotland and England with Elaine Grieve, who provides
vocal harmonies alongside skilled accompaniment on mandola and guitar.
Manchester-based Kabantu Katie Foster (violin), Abel Selaocoe (cello), Ali McMath (double bass), Ben Sayah (guitar), and Delia Stevens (percussion)
Incorporating elements of bluegrass, jazz, funk and blues with Americana roots music, Shetland group Kansa create contemporary, boundary stretching arrangements whilst retaining a true, acoustic sound throughout. Gathered around just one central microphone, the group’s line-up of fiddle, double bass, guitar and mandolin is fronted by
two versatile female vocalists, delivering stirring harmonies atop tight instrumental interplay.
Newcomers, having recently made their home here. Rooted in the British folk tradition, yet with a strong Nordic influence, an attraction to the ancient past adds a darker edge to their music, often described as ‘hypno-folk’. Sometimes using long forgotten instruments, they aim to make music that their ancestors would understand and
The Kirk Belles (Orkney)
Based in the parish of Orphir and rooted in the local church choir, The Kirk Belles love to sing – regularly entertaining community organisations and appearing at local concerts and events. The all female group sing a cappella, performing a range of popular and traditional songs in a style influenced by the harmonies of choral music. The septet is made up of singers Jane Ballantyne, Shona Ferguson, Catherine Hompstead, Tracy Linklater, Kathryn Sclater, Liz Slater, and Olivia Tait.
Orkney group Login’s Well is led by singer/songwriter Frank Keenan, who has a keen ear for a good song and writes many about his island homeland and love of the landscape. Always delicately arranged, with skill and poignancy, Frank and the band’s set will take you on a musical journey through Orkney and beyond.
A recently formed group of Orkney youngsters, Lyra play mainly traditional Orkney, Scottish and Irish fiddle tunes, accompanied by piano and double bass. Owen Griffith (Orphir), Kirsty Harrison (Kirkwall), Paula Graham (Kirkwall), and Catriona Stephenson (Tankerness) are all under the expert tutelage of Douglas Montgomery at Kirkwall
Grammar School, and also play with Hadhirgaan.
Melbourne-based The Maes (formerly The Mae Trio) are a multi award-winning, contemporary
folk act featuring sisters Maggie and Elsie Rigby
A mainstay of Orkney’s traditional scene, the Orkney Accordion and Fiddle Club has been playing together regularly since the late 1970s. As well as providing a welcoming, friendly atmosphere for players to come together for weekly tunes, throughout the summer they host hugely popular monthly guest nights – and in 2015 were named the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards’ Club of the Year.
Renowned Orcadian singer and instrumentalist Aimee Leonard is back at the helm of the Orkney Folk Festival Choir. Two vocal masterclasses held on Saturday and Sunday morning will culminate with a performance at Sunday’s Farewell Concert Two. If you fancy getting involved and taking to the stage, further information is on page 21.
Led by Dr Gemma McGregor, the OHFP seeks to research and preserve Orkney music and playing styles, whilst also shining a spotlight on some of the county’s most prolific figures within traditional music. Since 2010, the project has focused on the work of Jim Craigie, Davy Eunson, Ronnie Aim, Allie Windwick, Gordon Harvey, the Garson Trio, Jackie Sinclair, and in 2017 explored connections with Norway. At Thursday night’s Burray concert, the attention will turn to Willie Sinclair, of Braeland, Burray [1912- 1998], whose style of playing is continued by many fiddlers today, including Douglas Montgomery – who will perform alongside Gemma McGregor and David Linklater.
A friendly group of local mandolin enthusiasts, the Orkney Mandolin Band meet fortnightly in Kirkwall’s Sailing Club to share tunes, stories about tunes, and a laugh. Led by Shetlander Tom Deyell, the open group has been meeting for around 18 months, bringing together a wide variety of musical styles and influences.
Celebrating their 70th anniversary in 2018, the Orkney Strathspey and Reel Society is rightly regarded as one of the county’s most respected and established musical groups. Founded in 1948, with leader George Stewart, it originally boasted an impressive membership of 28 which included fiddle, guitar and accordion. Members of the society
have included many ‘weel kent’ Orcadian musicians such as Pat Shearer, Ronnie Aim, Hugh Inkster, Davy Eunson and Jennifer and Hazel Wrigley. The Society currently has around 35 members, including a junior section.
Formed in 1998 to nurture traditional accordion and fiddle playing in the county, the OTMP has, in its two decades since, tutored well over 1,000 students. Demonstrating that Orkney’s traditional music is in very good hands, the project has helped to establish many fine fiddlers and accomplished accordionists over the last 20 years – a great
number of whom now appear elsewhere in this programme in their own right.
Orkney-born Robin has been singing locally for nearly 50 years, and has undertaken many differing styles and singing collaborations, including musical theatre, choirs, and alongside Scottish Country Dance Bands. From all of these, though, it is towards unaccompanied solo singing, and Orcadian songs, that he most often returns, with a large
section of his repertoire coming from Orkney’s great wealth of traditional and archive material.
Douglas Montgomery (fiddle/viola) and Brian Cromarty (vocals/guitar/mandola) brilliantly transcend the duo format’s conventional confines. Their focus on Orkney music takes in traditional, contemporary and original material, boldly cross-fertilised with influences from Americana to East European folk, plus a high-octane whiff of heavy metal. The result is a sound of equally thrilling raw attack and multi-dimensional richness, as recently
showcased on their fifth album, Bere – shortlisted for Album of the Year at the 2017 MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards.
‘Sister Act’ Sarah Jane and Emma have been singing together since they were bairns. Brought up in a musical household in Harray, they were schooled in traditional singing and harmonies from an early age. Recently, Sarah Jane has been commissioned to write songs for various historical projects, and Emma has been writing poetry, which Sarah Jane occasionally puts to music. Using their professional skills as archaeologist and English teacher, respectively, to good effect, they produce songs of place, time and ethereal beauty.
Scott is one of Scotland’s top traditional singers and has been performing at concerts and festivals across the country since his schooldays. Brought up on a farm near Forfar, he is best known for singing the bothy ballads and songs of the northeast, having a particular love for his local Angus folk songs.
Making their second Orkney Folk Festival appearance, Skeldro play and arrange a variety of traditional Orcadian, Shetland and Scottish tunes. Skilled young fiddle players Emma Tulloch, Fiona Casely, Ewen Rorie and Iona Seator are joined by Andrew Dennison on piano, and can be seen performing at local events, weddings and concerts hroughout the year.
A traditional musician and dancer from Fort Augustus, Sophie specialises in a close to the floor style of percussive step dance, and is joined in Orkney by Jamie MacDonald (fiddle) and Christian Gamauf (pipes).
This Shetland band take both their name and match preparations from their local dialect, with stengle meaning “to close up an opening, temporarily or in an improvised manner”. Don’t let any off-the-cuffedness misguide, though – with five well-seasoned multi-instrumentalists at the helm (Ryan Couper, Terry Irvine, Maurice Jamieson, Calum Watt and Kevin Brown), each deeply rooted in their islands’ rich musical heritage, this is a squad certain
to fire on all cylinders, and then some.
String Sisters (Shetland/Scotland/Ireland/Sweden/Norway/USA)
A veritable who’s who of some of the world’s finest fiddlers, String Sisters brings together leading traditional figures from the USA, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Scotland and Shetland. The group features the astounding collective talents of Liz Carroll, Emma Härdelin, Liz Knowles, Catriona MacDonald and Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh on fiddles, backed by Tore Bruvoll on guitar, pianist Dave Milligan, Conrad Molleson on bass, and percussionist James Mackintosh, in
a sumptuous convergence of Nordic and Celtic traditions.
There is a thriving traditional music scene at Stromness Academy, with many pupils now choosing to explore their musical heritage. They have prepared a short set especially for the Orkney Folk Festival which will draw on their years of tuition and involvement with Belt Hid Oot, Skeldro and other local groups.
Stromness RBL Pipe Band (Orkney)
The Stromness Royal British Legion Pipe Band prides itself in being a community band, with membership open to all. The thriving band is made up from folk from all walks of life – school bairns to pensioners – and has won a host of . These three well-known accolades, including the RBL overall championships, North of Scotland Quartets and Miniband champions in Grades
local musicians and festival regulars combine self-penned titles with Scandinavian, Balkan, Scottish and Irish tunes and influences. Teebro mixes the collective talents of Gavin Firth (guitar), James Watson (fiddle) and Dan Rhodes (double bass) to enthralling effect.
Thea and Laurence Wilson (Orkney/England)
Thea and Laurence are a father/daughter, fiddle and piano duo from Worcestershire, with strong Orkney routes.
Just 14, Thea has been learning the violin for six years, strongly influenced by her Orcadian musical lineage: her
grandfather, Len, made her fiddle and bow in his Kirkwall workshop, and her great grandfather, Isaac, led the West
Mainland Strathspey and Reel Society in the 1960s. Laurence’s distinctive piano style delivers lift, driving the
melody with a sympathetic yet energetic backing – and together their repertoire combines the fiddle music of
Orkney, Shetland, Scotland, Scandinavia, North America and beyond.
TRIP (Scotland/Ireland/Isle of Man/England)
A new and energetic band based in Glasgow, TRIP’s members are all in their second year of study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The six-piece features Newcastle accordionist Michael Biggins, Sligo flautist Tiernan Courell, Manx fiddler Isla Callister, Lewis singer Mairi MacLennan, with fellow Scots Rory Matheson on piano
and Craig Baxter on bodhran. Having formed through informal sessions, together they produce a powerful, driven and distinctive sound that contrasts from fast jigs and reels to captivating traditional Gaelic song.
Having recently celebrated their diamond jubilee, the West Mainland Strathspey and Reel Society are your hosts for the annual Orkney Folk Festival Fiddlers’ Rally. From small beginnings, the society now welcomes more than 50 fiddlers and accordionists, aged 8 to 80+, to their weekly rehearsals and performances throughout the county.
The Whisky River Boat Band originally got together for a musical canoeing odyssey down the River Spey in 2011. The expedition involved the five-piece bluegrass and country folk band canoeing 65 miles down the Spey (the fastest river in the UK), stopping for tunes and songs as they went. Amazingly, both they and their instruments survived, whilst the gigs were great and the craic was mighty – so they decided to keep on going and have since survived several more unlikely musical expeditions and recorded two EPs.
Jennifer and Hazel Wrigley are an internationally acclaimed Orcadian fiddle and guitar duo. Having toured the world several times over, they now run The Reel, their hugely successful music centre and venue in Kirkwall, alongside occasional touring. Together they combine boundless musical dexterity and vitality with Orcadian wit and good fun – an endearing, class act.
As well as above there are pub sessions / Open Stage / Workshops ! to name but a few
So have a FANTASTIC festival ! Catch you along the way!
Though correct at time of printing, please check Artist Website / festival website for any changes, amendments or alterations
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