Musicians from Skye and Lochalsh will be heading to France for a very special festival.
Arts organisations, Fèis Rois, is hosting the Scotland Pavilion at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in Brittany.
The festival, which is set to attract an audience of 750,000 from 2 – 11 August 2019, is widely regarded as Europe's largest Celtic music festival.
The Scotland Pavilion will see audiences enjoy 80 hours of live traditional Scottish music over the 10 days of the festival, as well as having the opportunity to participate in 15 hours of workshops and engage in a series of industry panel discussions.
Six Scottish musicians will perform alongside six Breton musicians in a brand new collaboration organised by Fèis Rois in partnership with Festival Interceltique de Lorient. Female Gaelic song trio, Sian, featuring Eilidh Cormack (Skye), Ellen MacDonald (Inverness) and Ceitlin Smith (Lewis) have been working with three female Breton singers to come up with material for a shared performance in Lorient on Thursday 8th August. The six singers will be accompanied by six renowned musicians from Brittany and Scotland to form a 12-piece band. The Scottish musicians are acclaimed fiddle player, Duncan Chisholm, Jarlath Henderson (pipes and whistles), and James Ross from Wick on piano.
Trad Beats, an innovative new trio formed by Gaelic speaking step dancer, Sophie Stephenson, will see Sophie collaborate with Gaelic singer, Catherine Tinney from Skye and Glasgow-born beat boxer, Bigg Taj to explore rhythm in this cross genre outfit.
Scottish headline acts at the main festival this year include Peatbog Fairies and Skipinnish. Festival Director, Lisardo Lombardia, has also programmed Brìghde Chaimbeul, Rachel Hair & Ron Jappy, and The Outside Track to give performances. Brìghde, from Kyle, who won the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 2016, is a former participant on the Fèis Rois Ceilidh Trail, a professional development opportunity for young musicians aspiring to have a performance career in traditional music.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "The Festival Interceltique de Lorient is the largest Celtic festival in Europe and the Scottish Government is proud to support some of Scotland's best young artists to perform at the event with £30,000 funding from the International Creative Ambition Programme."
"It has never been more important to support international cultural connections and this collaboration between Scottish and Breton singers and instrumentalists will offer performers many opportunities in the sharing of knowledge, skills and new experiences, as well as showcasing the best of Scotland to audiences at the Scottish Pavilion."
Fiona Dalgetty added: "Participants at this festival come from Brittany, Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, Wales, the Isle of Man, Cape Breton Island, Acadia, Galicia, Asturias... the entire Celtic diaspora. It is an exciting opportunity for minority language speaking musicians to connect. We are grateful to have the support of the Scottish Government, as well as Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Belhaven, and Creative Scotland, which has enabled us to bring such a stellar line-up to the Scotland Pavilion. This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase Scotland to a wide European audience. I hope to see many of them choosing Scotland as a holiday destination and appearing in audiences at our Ceilidh Trail events at home in 2020."
Pictures show the Fèis Rois cèilidh trail (photo credit Christian Gamauf) and Sian along with the Breton singers (photo credit Sean Purser)
First photo features (L-R): Cavan Rogers (Selkirk on accordion), Jenna Macrory (Dumfries on guitar), Corina MacInnes (Harris on clarsach), Bethany Walsh (Arran on fiddle), Steven Stark (Auchtermuchty on drums).