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Bella Gaffney dazzle's at CalMac Culture Competition

Bella Gaffney dazzle's at CalMac Culture Competition

If there really is such a thing as a parallel universe, if time could shift as easily as an iPod track or if walls could sing, just imagine the memories that might be squeezed from the woodwork at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow.

Consider for a moment how many greats have stood right ‘there’ on stage, who have dripped sweat onto the floor, broken guitar strings or found their careers suddenly taking-off because they just happened to play on that particular night.

From the likes of Oasis, if you believe the story, going supersonic with Alan McGee to the launch of T in the Park; rock and pop history has been made here. It’s not so much home to musical royalty, more like a part of its very DNA.

You sense it as soon as you arrive outside the place, peer down through the railing s to the sign illuminated at night, its distinctive logo contrasting with the hastily written chalk board proclaiming the latest acts to be on show.

Laughter and the chink of glasses drift through the door at the foot of the steps, a friendly nod from the bar staff on the right, folk engrossed in deep conversations to the left, a corridor of conversation flanking your journey deeper inside.

Banter between visitor and resident on the stairs as you ascend into the heavens of the building, ready to face your individual church of musical nirvana or hell. It doesn’t matter. Not really. In fact, not at all.

There’s no such thing as a bad gig here.

Inside, you scan the faces, each etched with their own lines of life. A mixture of giddy excitement, hope and self belief rubbing shoulders with impatience, nerves and those sick in the stomach feelings.

For the acts taking part, they know that perhaps, just perhaps, this could very well be their own Wonderwall moment.

Or at least, the start of a journey towards it. One that could lead them all the way to some of Scotland’s greatest indigenous music festivals. Among them, HebCelt,

It’s was CalMac Culture, the now annual showcase for some of music’s best emerging talent berthed for the night in Glasgow’s city centre, that attracted a crowd of fans, ebbing and flowing for finals night.

There were hats and hairdos, combos and solo performers, elder statesmen and young, fresh talent too, each and every one apparently accompanied by their very own travelling fan base.

Amid the whoops and the cheers, the applause, it couldn’t be lost on anyone that to reach this far in the competition was something of a victory in itself. A badge of honour. A sense of belonging.

Of being part of a community that thrives on the new, that encourages the raw and who, when coming together on nights like this, collectively delivers a summer of expectation and anticipation for what comes next.

For Runrig, this year’s headline performance in Stornoway, it is of course all about the story. Their story.

But the beautiful thing about CalMac Culture’s involvement is that for one act, it’s just the beginning of another great chapter. A chance to write themselves into the festival’s history in this, the coming of age year.

Step forward into the spotlight, then, Bella Gaffney. Grab that blank page. Let Scotland discover your beautiful talent.

She dazzled with her two songs. Still barely into her 20s, she owned the mic, all eyes on her as she dripped out her words and music, fingers not so much plucking at her guitar strings as setting them free.

Her appearance will be a first at HebCelt, building as it will on her win at the Danny Kyle competition during Celtic Connections and a spot at ButeFest too thanks to CalMac Culture’s showcase

She played her HebCelt slot performing at King Tut’s in a way fitting of the venue.

A combination of originality, strong lyrics and powerful performance that held the crowd’s attention as much as they held their breath, all much more than enough to convince festival team that she will add something special to this year’s line up.

A native of Bradford, her folk already impressive, she is behind inspirational songs including Centenary Square and Too Old helping shine a light on her CDs Homegrown and The Clock That Didn’t Stop to the likes of the BBC.

Her kooky charm, winning voice and talent saw her soar head of 70 other entrants to the record breaking year of competition at CalMac Culture, HebCelt having been involved since it started some three years ago.

Now, with a Hebridean summer to look forward to, perhaps she won’t just be standing in the shadow of King Tut’s past giants much longer, but basking in a champagne supernova all of her own.