Serving up a feast of folk on Arran

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Subheading: Acts are desperate to play island festival

It hardly seems possible, but the Arran Folk Festival is less than a month away.

Once again organisers are delighted with the line-up for this, the 24th event. And to show what a celebrated festival it has become all the acts asked if they could come and play.

John Hollingworth of ArranEvents said: ‘This really is an affirmation that the Arran Folk Festival is a good thing, that it always has a great atmosphere at the sessions, coupled with a very appreciative audience at the evening concerts. Or maybe it’s the fact, that because it’s great to have the opportunity of bringing such esteemed artists over, that we do our best to look after them really well!’

The festival attracts musicians and singers from all over the country and beyond, many of whom return year after year, as well as a growing number of music lovers who combine the festival with their visit to the island.

The open afternoon sessions in the Douglas Hotel will, as always, be hosted by Uncle Keith, are always hugely popular. They are free to attend and all are welcome to take part or just listen. There are also often late night sessions at Fiddlers’.

The evening concerts in Brodick Hall on Friday and Saturday night will again be licensed by festival’s good friends at the Arran Distillery. Tickets for these concerts are available to buy online from or in person from Brodick Post Office.

‘Online ticket sales to date have been fantastic with the Saturday night being more than half full already so don’t wait too long before buying tickets,’ Jon added.

Playing on Friday night are:

The Poozies 

The Poozies first burst onto the folk scene in 1991, when folk music wore elaborately patterned woolly jumpers and was only seen in dingy back rooms and very late at night on BBC2 – yet from the word go they were breaking out and happily exploring the musical universe.

As with all bands that have been on the road for so long there have been various line-up changes, and throughout the years The Poozies have toured worldwide, and attracted recognition and appreciation for their eclectic choice of material, unusual and exciting arrangements, and heart-tugging vocal harmonies.The current lineup includes : Mary Macmaster (electro-harp, vocals), Eilidh Shaw (fiddle, vocals), Sarah McFadyen (fiddle, banjo, guitar, vocals), and Tia Files (guitar, percussion, fiddle, vocals).

Ella Munro Trio

Ella Munro is a traditional singer hailing from the Isle of Skye with an impressive resume. Despite her age Ella has already become a finalist for the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2017 and toured extensively throughout 2017 whilst studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Music.

Her unique voice has become well-known amongst the folk clubs of Scotland with her love of singing loved and forgotten songs setting her apart from other singers. During 2017 Ella toured Scotland twice and has supported artists such as the Archie Fisher, Ewan McLennan and Blue Rose Code. Ella will be accompanied by the talented Orcadian guitarist and singer Aidan Moodie, who also appears in Gnoss, and Northern Company’s accordionist Sam Mabbett.

Davy Lees

Davy has extensive experience in the music industry. He hails from Motherwell where, during the late 70s, he was a member of the well respected Auld Howff Band in which he provided vocals, played guitar and flute. He is indeed a former Scottish amateur flute champion and started his musical career when he was 10 years old. He has toured Europe extensively and has played at Orkney and Shetland Festival, Le Triskel Festival in Breste, Roe Valley Festival in Ireland as well as at Ballerup Festival, in Denmark.
Davy is the caller, singer and guitarist of the very talented and busy ceilidh band Freereelin’. He is also a very accomplished performer and storyteller with a vast repertoire of songs ranging from traditional Scottish, including many Robert Burns compositions to popular contemporary folk standards.

His television appearances include ITV’s Secret Scotland, while his radio broadcasts include Moray Firth Radio All Scottish Show, and the hugely popular Strings and Things which he presented on Radio Avon FM. His latest radio appearance was on Celtic Music Radio where he started the very successful programme Strings & Things with Davy Lees with listeners from all over the world.

Playing on Saturday night are:

Old Blind Dogs

The legendary, multi-award winning Old Blind Dogs bounded into their 25th anniversary year with a brand new album Room with a View and a hugely successful Scottish tour. With a line-up from the world of Scottish folk music that is approaching superstar status, founder member Jonny Hardie (fiddle/vocals) is joined by Aaron Jones (guitar/bouzouki/vocals), Ali Hutton (pipes) and Donald Hay (percussion).

Together they create a sound that is uniquely Old Blind Dogs and which still stands at the forefront of the Scottish roots music revival. It’s fair to say that their style, drawing as it does from the rhythms of Middle Eastern, rock, reggae, jazz and blues music went on to influence many bands but nobody does it like the Dogs! Twenty five years on, they show no signs of slowing down, indeed they are performing at their very peak.

Reviews of their new album included: ‘There isn’t a disappointing moment on Room with a View. In fact, it could well be a contender for Scottish album of the year,’ said Folkwords. ‘They really understand musical storytelling, and know how to hold our attention, riveted, to each twist of the story.’ said fROOTS.

Jenny Sturgeon Trio

Jenny Sturgeon has been winning fans wherever she goes. She plays in a trio with Jonny Hardie of Old Blind Dogs (guitar and vocals) and Charlie McKerron of Capercaillie (fiddle).

Hailing from the north-east of Scotland, Jenny Sturgeon is a hugely talented singer songwriter whose passion for music lies in her interest in traditional folk song, combined with the enjoyment of creating fresh new compositions. The inspiration for her lyrics comes from folklore, historical events and observations of modern society, and as a biologist her enthusiasm for nature creeps into all her work.

Jenny was recently commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland to compose new songs and tunes inspired by St Kilda to mark the archipelago’s 30th anniversary as a World Heritage Site. The resulting work, The Wren and the Salt Air, was described as ‘A genuinely inspiring work’ by RnR magazine.

Her album, From the Skein was released to some wonderful reviews. Mike Harding said: ‘A superb album – I love every track.’ While Boo Hewerdine said:  ‘Jenny Sturgeon is wonderful singer who can change the atmosphere in the room with her affecting delivery. This is a very special record.’

The Poozies  NO_B20folk01

Old Blind Dogs NO_B20folk02

The Jenny Sturgeon Trio NO_B20folk03

The Ella Munro Band NO_B20folk04

Davy Lees NO_B20folk05

The Malky McCormick designed festival logo. NO_B20folklogo01