THE line-up has been announced for this year’s Blas Festival, taking place from September 1-9 at venues large and small across the Highlands.
Among the highlights of the 13th festival will be special events celebrating the 80th birthdays of four icons of Gaelic culture – Kenna Campbell, Fergie MacDonald, Morag MacLeod and Finlay MacLeod.
The 2017 Blas Commission – Dìleab Uilleim – explores the Gaelic song legacy of the Rev William Matheson, one of Scotland’s foremost collectors and authorities on Gaelic song. These shows will feature introductions to the songs by Jo MacDonald and performances from Robert Robertson, Rachel Walker, Ross Wilson, Alasdair Whyte, Eilidh Cormack, Linda Macleod, Allan MacDonald and Christine Primrose.
Mary Ann Kennedy will be performing songs from her new album An Dàn, and Gary Innes will be performing his new album Era.
A CD of Lauren MacColl’s Fèis Rois Commission The Seer will be launched at two performances during Blas, and Glòir nan Caman: Shinty’s Heroes will return with Hugh Dan MacLennan and a host of fine musicians focusing this time round on Pipe Major William Lawrie from Ballachulish.
Two Fèisean – Fèis Lochabair and Fèis na h-Òige – will host concerts celebrating their 25th anniversaries.
There will also be performances by new Gaelic song trio Sian (Ceitlin L R Smith, Eilidh Cormack and Ellen MacDonald), Duncan Chisholm, the Mischa Macpherson Trio, Breabach, Skipinnish, Skerryvore, Sharon Shannon, the Angus Nicolson Trio, Donald Black Band, Ireland’s Fidil and Canada’s MacIsaac and MacKenzie.
An array of the finest Gaelic singers completes the line-up, including Mairi MacInnes, Margaret Stewart, Rona Lightfoot, Ewan John Morrison, David Mackenzie, Murdo “Wasp” MacDonald, Mary Catherine MacNeil and Freddie Mackenzie as well as Dingwall and Inverness Gaelic Choirs.
Councillor Alasdair Christie, chairman of Highland Council’s people committee, said: “The Highland Council supports traditional music and Gaelic song through a number initiatives and organisations, such as Fèisean nan Gàidheal the umbrella body which manages and supports the local Fèisean, Fèis Rois, the Provincial Mòds and the Royal National Mòd.
“While the council has reduced resources, which makes service delivery increasingly challenging, I look forward to another successful Blas in 2017 and encourage audiences to attend these concerts to experience quality musicianship and to enjoy the best of Gaelic and traditional music and culture that Scotland has to offer.”
The full festival programme is now available at www.blas-festival.com where details of all events and how to buy tickets can be found.