The Outer Hebrides of Scotland are steeped in the rich Gaelic tradition which is informed by the rugged wild Atlantic landscape and the people who this part of the world has shaped. One of the area’s greatest exports are its people who have gone on to forge lives and laydown roots all across the world though they never lost their sense of home in the Hebrides.
Many a tune has been written or a song has been created celebrating the ties back home or with those who have had to leave to seek a different life for themselves or their families. This year’s focus could indeed feature in any year for the festival though we are delighted to present a number of commissioned pieces, celebratory concerts and shows that have perfect synergy with Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022.
Wednesday 13 July – Till Slàn
The opening concert of HebCelt 2022 ‘Till Slàn’ (return safely) is a musical journey centred around the meaning of Home. Pairing ancient ballads with never before heard original songs and melodies, this unique evening of music explores our timeless connection to our heritage.
The concert features ‘The Journey’ – a HebCelt commissioned video. An original score by Josie Duncan performed live by some of Scotland’s finest musicians, accentuated by evocative footage shot by Elly Lucas.
In combining tunes and songs inspired by the Gaelic tradition, ‘The Journey’ takes its audience on a nostalgic and moving trip to the Isle of Lewis, drawing upon the many little moments that comprise a journey across the Minch.
Showcasing local sights and voices alongside some of the country’s most in demand musicians, ‘Till Slàn’ is sure to capture the imaginations of natives and first-time visitors alike.
Thursday 14 July – Freumhan | Roots
Lewis lads and long-time friends and musical partners James MacKenzie, Norrie MacIver and Calum Alex Macmillan will come together at HebCelt this July to present ‘Freumhan |Roots’, a suite of traditional and newly written music and song which was commissioned to celebrate HebCelt’s 25th anniversary.
Whilst waiting for this delayed event, over the past two years James, Norrie and Calum Alex have collaborated on writing new material influenced by their Lewis upbringing with subjects related to their homeland delving into the stories, legends, characters, island landscapes, and communities which they each represent.
The boys will also draw material the from rich musical and Gaelic song heritage of the island with a strong piping influence through the musicof P/M Donald Macleod, P/M Peter Macleod, P/M Iain MMorrison (piping teacher of both James and Calum Alex) and others.
Friday 15 July – Hebridean Women
An Lanntair’s legendary series of concerts featuring Hebridean Women presenting songs from their island homeland have long been a feature of HebCelt in addition to An Lanntair’s yearly programme of events.
Anchoring this Hebridean Women show for HebCelt 2022 will be Mischa Macpherson and Josie Duncan alongside a cast of emerging Gaelic singers and instrumentalists. This much anticipated show demonstrates the wealth of storytelling, myths and legends that feature within the Hebridean repertoire.
Saturday 16 July – Fergie MacDonald and Friends
World renowned Ceilidh King, Fergie is no stranger to the islands where for many a year he played the length and breadth of the Outer Hebrides in ‘bothans’ and other gathering halls. With a traditional west coast style that is perfect for ceilidh dancing, Fergie was, and is still, very much demand although in more recent times his travelling has been tempered. A legend in his own right he has been playing since he picked up his first box at the tender age of 9 and for a musician who can neither read nor write music he is certainly one of the most prolific with many famous tunes ‘covered’ by numerous artists, and over 50 albums to his credit over the years.
We are absolutely delighted that he is closing An Lanntair’s special programme this year in what will be his own inimitable style. Expect a first half of stories and tunes compèred by band mate Allan Henderson and a second half where he will be joined by his band which includes Allan, daughter Morven, son John, Addie Harper and Hugh MacCallum.
AN LANNTAIR HEBCELT WORKSHOPS
Thursday 14 July – Rhythm Workshop with Signy Jakobsdottir
Scottish-Icelandic percussionist and drummer Signy Jakobsdottir shares her thirty years’ musical experience in this fun and practical workshop, open to any musician keen to focus on and improve rhythm, musicality and timing. Music reading skills not necessary. Drumsticks provided. Suitable for adults and young people aged 14+. Booking essential.
Thursday 14 July – Sutherland Accordion Tunes with Megan Macdonald
Join Megan MacDonald, North Highlands accordionist to learn traditional tunes local to Megan from Sutherland, and arrangements with different techniques of accompaniment on the bass hand. Tunes will be taught by ear and sheet music will be provided. Suitable for intermediate level accordion players of all ages. Booking essential.
Friday 15 July – The Melbost Bard: Gaelic Song Workshop with Calum Alex Macmillan
Join Lewis talent Calum Alex Macmillan for an hour-long workshop to learn some of the songs of the Melbost Bard, Murdo MacFarlane. Open to all ages and levels of Gaelic fluency. Booking essential.
Friday 15 July – Lewis Tunes for Chanter, Pipes, and Small Pipes with James Duncan Mackenzie
Piper James Duncan Mackenzie takes you through pipe tunes composed by renowned Lewis pipers such as Pipe Major Donald Macleod and Pipe Major Peter R Macleod, as well as other traditional Lewis tunes. Bring your chanter/pipes. Some playing experience is required. Booking essential.
Saturday 16 July – Bringing Fiddle Tunes to Life with Ryan Young
Learn how to take notes on a page and make them your own with exciting new traditional musician Ryan Young, who will show you not only how to play a tune, but how to play with it! Suitable for intermediate to advanced fiddle players. Bring your fiddle! Booking essential.