Celtic Connections gig for hebrides college musicians

Gaelic singerJulieFowlis has applauded past and presents tudents from Lews Castle College UHI, a partner in the prospective University of the Highlands and Islands, as they prepare to take their place alongside some of the biggest names in music at the Celtic Connections festival in January.

They will be performing their own gig at the Glasgow extravaganza on 29th January – a fitting celebration for the 10thanniversary of the college’s music courses based on the island of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides.

Julie, a postgraduate student and honorary fellow of UHI, said: “I’m sure this performance will highlight the quality ofstudents and tutors at Lews Castle College UHI Benbecula - and I’m glad the Hebrides will be so deservedly represented,alongside critically-acclaimed artists from all around the world.”

Course leader Dr Will Lamb said: “Our musicians will include our fantastic staff members, former students - some of whomare now well-known performers in their own right - and a large contingent of current students who are all very excited about this amazing opportunity.

“Celtic Connections brings together a huge family of Celtic and traditional musicians from all over the world, includingartists rarely seen on this side of the Atlantic. Being among this gathering, and having our own spot on the bill, is a strong recognition that we have come of age. It will be a great experience for all involved.”

The college gig – billed as Benbecula Night – will feature past and present music tutors, including Will (bouzouki), Anna-Wendy Stevenson (fiddle), Iain MacDonald (pipes and flute), Paul McCallum (song), Kathleen MacInnes (song), Rick Taylor (horns), Mhairi Hall (piano) and Naomi Harvey (song).

Concert-goers will be treated to traditional and contemporary songs in Gaelic, Scots and Irish, and the music of pipes, fiddles, whistles, guitar, mandolin, piano and accordion.

The concert will be held at St. Andrews in the Square, Glasgow, with an 8pm start. Tickets are £12.50. For more details visit www.celticconnections.com

As a bonus, the gig will see the release of two CDs, the first being the college’s new album, entitled Seachd (Gaelic for Seven) featuring a selection of the best student produced tracks over the past two years. Ceòl Uibhist 2 will also be released, which features a wide range of Uist musicians – many of whom have been involved at the college - produced by Ceòlas.

Lews Castle College UHI has produced a number of award-winning and well-known performers, including Mòd medallistsand piping champions, over the last 10 years. James Mackenzie from Lewis is well known in the piping world as the three times winner of the Scottish Piper of the Year award and was a BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year finalist in 2009.

Matheu Watson is a talented multi-instrumentalist who has toured with well-known musicians such as Fred Morrison, Paddy Keenan and Salsa Celtica. He is currently working on his debut solo album due for release in April 2010and has been nominated for the BBC Scots Trad Music Awards Up and Coming Artist of the Year. Archie Maclean is aMòd gold medallist who has recently moved back to his native island of Barra.

Will commented: “We are very proud of our place in the Celtic and traditional music world, and feel the Celtic Connectionsconcert is recognition of the contribution we are making. It should be a great night.”

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