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HCF Blog

Hebcelt programme will showcase young talent

It’s always a delight to hear talented young musicians play, and to be able to give them a platform to express themselves makes it even more special.

The Year of Young People is a wonderful opportunity for HebCelt to showcase young members of the islands’ talent pool. In a project in which we are partnering with Fèisean nan Gàidheal, with support from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Lewis Wind Power and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, we will bring together 20 musicians aged between 12 and 16 to perform during festival week.

The result will be a suite of traditional music featuring material from the musicians’ areas - Barra, North and South Uist and Lewis and Harris. This will be followed by an ensemble piece, including a specially-commissioned Gaelic song written by singer songwriter Eilidh Mackenzie, from Lewis.

The premiere of this piece will be on the main festival stage, which gives these youngsters and our musical heritage a prominence that is in line with the ethos of the festival, which is always eager to encourage and promote young artists.

It will also highlight the exceptional work that is done across the fèis movement to teach and encourage local young talent in a significant part of our culture.

A main stage festival slot is a wonderful incentive for these musicians, and we are also supporting young players via our new competition An Ath Cheum (Next Steps) this year.

We’ve teamed up with Black Bay Studio to offer young artists or a band, aged between 18 and 25 at the time of HebCelt, the exciting prospect of a slot on the Islands Stage alongside some international artists, a day recording at the studio with accommodation, plus £500 of expenses and passes to enjoy the rest of the festival.

We think it’s a fantastic motivation and another innovative way to support young people in this special year. The response has been great, with entries from across the islands, Scotland and beyond and the quality is superb.

The festival is passionate about encouraging and supporting young people every year, but with the focus on Year of Young People in 2018, we hope the spotlight will be on emerging talent more than ever