Two prominent Gàidhealtachd festivals have joined forces for 2019 to bring the best in Scottish traditional music to venues on the Isle of Skye.
The 2019 Blas Festival has teamed up with the SEALL Festival of Small Halls to deliver two concerts in Kyleakin and Edinbane, each featuring world-class performances by the royalty of Scottish music.
This year’s SEALL Festival of Small Halls takes place between 22 and 30 November and features eight musicians who will lead a series of concerts, cèilidhs, sessions, school and public workshops in small rural venues with an emphasis on community, culture and celebration.
The Small Halls Festival kicks-off in Kyleakin on 22 November when Duncan Chisholm, Donald Shaw, Innes Watson, Su-a Lee, Jarlath Henderson, Rachel Newton, Hamish Napier and Megan Henderson take to the stage for a lively concert and cèilidh which heralds the start of nine days of big music in small halls across the Isles of Skye and Raasay.
On 28 November, Errogie fiddle player Adam Sutherland comes as a special guest to Donald Shaw, Su-a Lee, Hamish Napier and Lauren MacColl who will be playing a lively concert in Edinbane Hall.
Blas Festival organiser Arthur Cormack said: “SEALL has a reputation for being one of the most active and best organised promoters in the Highlands and has been involved with the Blas Festival since its inception, working with us in promoting events in Sleat and other parts of Skye over the past 15 years.
“With this year’s Blas dates coinciding with the Festival of Small Halls, which shares so much of our ethos and values, it’s a natural partnership. We are looking forward to some great events.”
SEALL’s creative director Marie Lewis added: “This is a very exciting time for SEALL as the Kyleakin event not only marks the launch of our second Small Halls Festival but will also be our 2000th event since SEALL started back in 1994.
“Our partnership with Blas is the icing on the cake and we are delighted to be collaborating with Arthur and the team. Blas has garnered an enviable reputation for bringing the music, songs, language and culture of the Highlands to Scotland’s northern communities and the Small Halls Festival shares a similar ethos by being very much community focused with an emphasis on celebrating our music and culture in the traditional way around Scotland’s national day.”
Blas is an initiative of The Highland Council and Fèisean nan Gàidheal and organiser Arthur Cormack says he is delighted to have been able to organise the festival again this year.
Arthur added: “As always, we will be working with a range of promoters to ensure we celebrate Highland culture with quality events in venues large and small across the Highlands.
“We will be joined by a great line-up of traditional musicians and singers, will be showcasing young talent from the area, ensure Gaelic is at the heart of events and will welcome Dawn and Margie Beaton from Cape Breton who will be performing in various communities during their stay here.
“Our events on 30 November will be part of the international St Andrew’s Day Fair Saturday and we will be raising funds for HiMRA (Highland Migrant & Refugee Advocacy) and Highland Supports Refugees.”