The line up of bands for the famous Ceilidh Tent at this year’s Cowal Highland Gathering was revealed today – and the WOW factor is right up there.
Try Skipinnish Reely Jiggered on The Outside Track to Heron Valley.
This quartet includes some of the hottest up and coming names on the traditional music scene, geographically sweeping from Tiree in some of Skipinnish’s roots, to Canada for some of The Outside Tracks’, to a Reely Jiggered Inverclyde and equally close to the Cowal Gathering’s home territory, but by land – Heron Valley.
Headlining the programme , Skipinnish [top photo], is one of Scotland’s most popular established ceilidh bands, now largely Oban based.
Andrew Stevenson and Angus McPhail have delighted audiences around the world since forming the band in 1999 while they were students at the prestigious Royal Scottish Academy of Drama and Music, now the Royal Conservatoire.
Skipinnish has since expanded tbeyond being a band – it has ceilidh houses in Oban and Fort William, a record company and even its own whisky.
The band’s line up for Cowal will be five strong, featuring accordion (Angus McPhail), bagpipes (Andrew Stevenson), bass, vocals, guitar, drums and whistles.
Supporting Skipinnish, the other three acts take different – but equally exciting – approaches to Highland music.
The Outside Track
Multi award-winning band, The Outside Track, bring an international breeze to this year’s tent, with its members hailing from the Atlantic margins of Canada, Scotland and Ireland.
Formed five years ago, this five-strong band has already amassed an enviable collection of awards and has toured extensively in the UK, Europe, Canada and the USA.
Their most recent award was Group of the Year at Live Ireland 2012 and at the TIR Irish music awards. The band’s Scottish accordionist, Fiona Black, is a BBC Fame Academy winner; and Scottish harpist, Ailie Robertson, is a five times Mod gold medallist and BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year finalist.
The Outside Track combines flute, harp, fiddle, guitar, accordion and vocals in energetic arrangements delivering traditional music with a modern twist. It also incorporates Irish and Canadian Cape Breton step dancing.
You could say that there could not be a more appropriate band than Reely Jiggered to follow the Cape Breton Step dancing set. Reely Jiggered, formed in 2008, are sisters Alison and Fiona McNeill from Gourock and their cousin Scott McLean from Glasgow.
Their contemporary take on Highland music features Alison (a BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year semi finalist) on fiddle and vocals, Fiona on guitar and vocals and Scott on drums.
For the 2013 Cowal Highland Gathering, the trio will be augmented by Emma Murray on pipes and whistle and Hugh Cox on bass.
The fourth band heading for the Ceilidh Tent are Strachur-based Heron Valley Ceilidh Band – no strangers to the Cowal Gathering in a welcome return after wowing the crowd with their debut performance in 2012.
The multi-talented teenagers – siblings Alex and Arlene McKechnie with Iain Wilson and Euan McNab – are now firmly established on the region’s ceilidh band circuit.
Between them they perform on piano, accordion, fiddle, pipes (both the Scottish small pipes and the Highland bagpipes), box ,drum, guitar and banjo. Ian and Euan are accomplished solo pipers, as well as playing in the Inveraray and District Grade 1 Pipe Band.
The view from the engine room
Cowal Highland Gathering chair, Ronnie Cairns, says: ‘We’re delighted to have secured such a fantastic line up of bands for this year’s Ceilidh Tent.
‘All four of them are dynamic trailblazers for contemporary Highland ceilidh music and we’re thrilled that Gathering spectators will have the chance to enjoy them all in one place, on one day.
‘Skipinnish will also be playing at our family ceilidh the night before – in Dunoon’s Queen’s Hall, so there’s the chance to catch them twice in 24 hours.
‘The announcement of the Ceilidh Tent acts is just the latest step in the build up to what is promising to be a great event.’
The 2013 Cowal Highland Gathering – one of the highlights of EventScotland’s Year of Natural Scotland programme – runs from Thursday 29th to Saturday 31st August in Dunoon.
For more information or to get tickets:
- go to the Gathering’s website here;
- or call the booking line on 01369 703206.