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Alasdair finds the key to hebcelt success

Alasdair finds the key to hebcelt success

How do you encapsulate two decades of HebCelt in one hour? The job of distilling 20 years of memories into a musical narrative that reflects the character and ambitions of our festival has been given to Alasdair White who knows the event almost as well as anyone.

Alasdair grew up with HebCelt and has been a regular performer since he first took to the big tent stage as a 13-year-old in 1998. Since then he has become an internationally-acclaimed fiddler touring with the Battlefield Band and the Alan Kelly gang and is a sought-after musician, writer and tutor. He regularly returns home and gives his time training the next generation of young local musicians.

When the HebCelt was deciding on a project to mark the significant achievement of reaching the 20 year milestone, a specially-written musical suite was an appropriate project and Alasdair was the natural choice for the commission.

The remit was challenging but exciting; to present a body of work ‘reflecting on the myriad of influences representative of the festival, the Hebrides and its unique heritage’.

The finished piece will have at its heart melodies that represent the character of local Hebridean music, with the rhythms of the Gàidhlig language and modal pipe music, while promoting the festival’s international connections.

An Iuchar, an hour-long suite bursting with some 30 odd tunes presented by Alasdair in company with some of the finest traditional musicians. These include Seonaidh Macintryre, Jarlath Henderson, Ewan Macpherson, Aaron Jones, Martin O’Neill and Alan Kelly, ensuring production will be of the highest quality.

It is strange in a way to think that some of the material we will hear in July, and so strongly steeped in the Hebridean environment and culture, will have started life as a few chords picked out on a banjo in the front porch of a house in Florida, where Alasdair is based part of the year. You can take the boy out of Stornoway...

His love of the islands, its traditions and its music will be evident in this much anticipated work. It will be a fitting way to open our 20th anniversary festival main arena events and will provide a legacy of what this event has achieved over the years and can achieve in future. We hope others will be inspired by it and be encouraged to showcase the music of the Hebrides elsewhere.

An Iuchar / The Key Artist Info