This year’s Islay Sessions will take place from 23 to 25 November, with a very varied and exciting line up planned. Kicking off the weekend of events will be Irish fiddler Grainne Brady with an intimate concert in the Port Charlotte Hotel conservatory. Joined by Andrew Waite and Innes White, Grainne will be launching her debut album The Road Across the Hills. The music explores the social themes associated with the mass immigration of the Irish to Scotland, particularly at the start of the 20th century. Taking inspiration from Donegal writer Patrick MacGillâs novel ̃Children of the Dead End, the music acts as a soundtrack to the story.
Playing at the Saturday night concert in Bruichladdich Hall will be Dallahan, Josie Duncan & The Dusk and Brighde Chaimbeul. Dallahan is one of the most thrilling forces in the international folk music scene; heavily rooted in traditional Irish music, but with hugely diverse backgrounds and influences. They call on their mixed Irish, Scottish and Hungarian heritage to create a unique and seamless musical montage, drawing in influences from jazz, funk, pop and classical music.
Josie Duncan is a folk singer from the Outer Hebridean Isle of Lewis. Having been immersed in Glasgow’s fast-moving traditional music scene for the past few years where she studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, her crystal-clear voice is equally at home in Gaelic, Scots or English. Josie was awarded BBC Radio 2’s Young Folk Award in 2017 alongside guitarist Pablo Lafuente. Josie Duncan & The Dusk consists of Innes White on guitar, Megan MacDonald on accordion, Brighde Chaimbeul on whistles and Signy Jakobsdottir on percussion playing alongside the talented young singer. Read more....
Another winner of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, Skye musician and piper Brighde Chaimbeul is one of Scotland’s fastest rising stars, collaborating with the likes of Ross Ainslie and Aidan O’Rourke. Although her style is rooted in her indigenous language and culture, she also draws inspiration from a variety of piping traditions such as from Cape Breton, Eastern Europe and Ireland. Brighde will be joined on this occasion by guitarist Innes White.
On Sunday evening in the Port Charlotte Hotel conservatory, singer Claire Hastings will perform a solo set with English and Scots songs accompanied by ukulele. Winner of the prestigious title of BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Trad Musician of the Year, she has since delighted audiences at home and abroad with her natural, effortless Scots voice. Claire’s second solo album “Those Who Roam” is due for release next year.
Alongside these many events will be informal trad music sessions in the Port Charlotte Hotel bar over the weekend, as well as a whisky tour for anyone wanting to sample some of Islay’s finest exports.
The Islay Sessions are also delighted to be involved with The Wayfarers Project run by the Traditional Music Forum. This project engages young people in Kirriemuir and Islay by running workshops before and during the festival, learning local material and creating and sharing new arrangements. Festival workshops are free for youngsters (though please book to ensure a space) and will take place Saturday 24 November in Bowmore High School. There will also be workshops available for adults. So don’t be shy, grab your instruments and book a place today!
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