Sep 072017
 

Popular Aberdeen based ceilidh band Iron Broo will provide the music for the World’s Largest Strip The Willow. Photo credit: Janie Barclay.

With thanks to National Trust for Scotland.

Do you want to be a Guinness World Record Breaker? On Saturday 9th of September we will be attempting the Largest Strip the Willow at Castle Fraser and we need YOU.

In the year 2000 Edinburgh broke the record with 1,914 people during their Hogmanay. We are ready to bring the record to Aberdeenshire.

So save the date and get your dancing shoes at the ready!

Organiser Paula Swan said:

“I can’t wait to see it. It was a little idea we had last year and only last week we got confirmation from Guinness World Records to say we could do it.

“Now it’s a reality and we’re really excited about pulling it together, and the responses we’ve had so far have been fantastic.”

She added:

“The great thing about Castle Fraser is you can stand on the tower, so we’re planning on filming it.

“We’re also going to fly drones across the field to really capture all the people having fun.”

By signing up for a ticket you are signing to take part in our attempt. You will still have to register on the day to collect your band. Tickets are free to attend however, there is a £2 parking fee.

Due to the nature of this record attempt participants must be 10 years and over. If you are a business or group and would like to register a team to take part please get in contact with castlefraser@nts.org.uk

Registration: Opens at 12:00pm and closes at 1:30pm for a 2:00pm record breaking kick off.

There will be catering vans and activities to help you to warm up and stay limber. Please keep in mind that we do live in Scotland so dress for the weather. We will be going ahead with our attempt regardless of the weather, so please bring suitable clothing and footwear as you will be dancing on grass. Ponchos will be available to buy on the day if you do require one.

Tickets are limited, booking essential.

The event would not be possible without the hard work and contribution of the following people;

– Iron Broo; who are performing the lovely ceilidh music that will help us strip that willow
– STV’s Andrea Brymer; who will be hosting the event
– Deeside Caledonia will be performing before we kick off the attempt
– Gordon School of Dancing will be showing us all how it’s done before the attempt
– A-line will be providing all AV and Tech support to make this event possible
– Mike Gall Transport for providing the staging required
– Fennel Media who will be filming the amazing attempt

Let’s do this Aberdeenshire!

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Apr 012017
 

With thanks to Julia Heys, Marketing Executive, VisitAberdeenshire.

Scottish Traditional Boat Festival at Portsoy 2010 © Kathy Mansfield

Aberdeen Festivals has announced the addition of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival in Portsoy to further strengthen its portfolio of local member festivals.

Aberdeen Festivals, set up in 2014 to collectively promote festivals, develop audiences and strengthen the cultural sector, has welcomed the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival to its ranks.

The renowned festival, which takes place from 24-25 June 2017, will join 10 existing and diverse festivals including; SPECTRA, Aberdeen Jazz Festival, Look Again, May Festival, Aberdeen International Youth Festival, TechFest, True North, North East Open Studios, DanceLive and sound.

Roger Goodyear, co-chairman of Scottish Traditional Boat Festival commented:

“Joining Aberdeen Festivals has been on the festival’s horizons since the collective was formed in early 2014. We have since watched the success of Aberdeen Festivals through its facilitation of collective marketing and collaborative efforts to profile the cultural offering of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.”

In its 24 year history, the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival has become well known locally and internationally as it uniquely showcases the local marine and cultural heritage of North-east Scotland. The annual festival reports on average 16,000 visitors each year with a high proportion of international attendees.

Roger continued:

“We already have a well-established audience and brand but, of course, there is always room for growth and we are looking forward to the various cross-collaborations with other festivals as well as taking part in the extensive and successful Aberdeen Festivals marketing campaign.”

Festivals in the Aberdeen Festivals group have consistently reported significant increases in audiences and ticket sales. In February this year, SPECTRA welcomed 63,000 visits, up by 28,000 on 2016 whilst Aberdeen Jazz Festival, which took place earlier this month, has already reported a 100% increase in ticket sales.

Steve Harris, chair of Aberdeen Festivals commented:

“Aberdeen Festivals has made substantial strides in its three years of existence. This has been recognised with continued local and private funding, audience and sales increases for each festival and numerous prestigious award shortlisting’s. The addition of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival to the collective, with its well-connected, high profile festival and large international audience, will bolster this success of Aberdeen Festivals further in profiling the North-east as a top cultural tourism destination.”

Aberdeen Festivals has to date secured private sponsorship from energy company, Nexen, major funding from VisitScotland’s Growth Fund along with ongoing support from VisitAberdeenshire, Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council. The group recently secured an E Award, organised by EventIt, for its excellence in digital marketing.

For more information about Aberdeen Festivals, please visit www.aberdeenfestivals.com.

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Dec 242015
 
Iron Broo5

Iron Broo earlier the same day at the Winter Wonderland Festival on Union Terrace.

With thanks to Charlie Abel.

It really was a brilliant night. The 2015 Iron Broo Christmas ceilidh went with a swing at St. Margaret of Scotland’s Church hall at the Gallowgate, Aberdeen on Saturday the 19th of December.
Keen ceilidh goers traded their winter blues for their dancing shoes in preparation for the Christmas holidays.

As promised it was a good old-fashioned Scottish evening where guests were invited to bring their own beverage and snacks and enjoy a ‘reel’ ceilidh.

Families and friends came and took part in the dancing, which knew no barriers to age with children, young people and the more experienced taking part. All the dances were called and everyone was invited to join in.

Nobody was left a stranger by the end of the night.

The raffle and a ‘throw coins at the whisky’ game were held to raise money for ‘Charlie House’ a local Aberdeen children’s charity.

Iron Broo would like to thank The Devenick Dairy who donated a ‘Big Beast’ Christmas hamper, full of cheeses and goodies and Makro Aberdeen for donating a bottle of malt whisky for our whisky game. A respectable £173 was raised for Charlie House.

Congratulations to Lydia Van Beers for winning the Devenick Dairy ‘Big Beast’ hamper and to Jonathan Scott for winning the Makro Whisky game with a bottle of 12 year old Old Pulteney.

“Everyone who came tonight had a fantastic time. You can’t beat a ceilidh in a wee hall for a friendly welcoming atmosphere. It’s a really great low-cost night out for anyone. Especially welcome at this time of year. Everyone is smiling,” said Charlie Abel, Iron Broo’s accordionist and band leader.

The ceilidh at St. Margaret’s was the second performance for Iron Broo on this particular day having entertained an appreciative lunchtime crowd at the winter wonderland festival on Union Terrace. The next public ceilidhs from Iron Broo are being planned already.

Keep an eye out on their Facebook page and website www.IronBroo.scot

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Dec 142015
 

An Aberdeen Nativity by Suzanne Kelly.

Author’s note: Due to some recent developments, it seems the audience for Aberdeen Voice has widened; this is very welcome.

Every year I write an irreverent satirical piece summing up some of the year’s local, occasionally national, issues. Most of this won’t make the blindest bit of sense to those outside our little hamlet; apologies to anyone who invests time reading this, only to wind up scratching their head at the end.

Before recent developments, I had started to write this piece. All previous pieces had steered clear of the religious element of the traditional Christmas story. There were pieces based on Dickens A Christmas Carol, Dr Seuss’ wonderful Grinch, and so on. I hope it doesn’t need to be said I don’t mock anyone’s belief – but I think I’d best go on record as saying such. The story of the Nativity seemed very apt to a country where penniless travellers in need have come seeking shelter; I hope that is clear.

I could have pulled the piece; I could have taken a safer slant for this satire. But as I am determined that recent developments should not change me or what I do, I’m going to keep doing the things I do. Thank you for bearing with me, and even if this won’t be the best piece of satire you’ve ever read (and it certainly won’t be), thank you for understanding the important role satire has in standing up for what’s right, and mocking what is wrong.

Happy holidays, whatever you celebrate.
– Suzanne.

#                                  #                                  #

Aberdeen21NativityAnd lo, forsooth, result! – It came to pass that travellers from afar came to Aberdeen, a man named Joseph and a woman, Mary.

Verily things were not so good in the region they had come from. This was not far from what is called The Holy Land, where things are even less great, but I digresseth.

The great Caledonian cheiftans had decreed every child would be given a Person Named who would beneficently look into every child’s thoughts and life – for their own good of course.

Mary was heavy with child, and as is of course a good thing, as soon as the couple reached Caledonia, a Person Named was assigned to them. As was the Person Named’s wont, he stayed with them, beneficially watching their every move.

Joseph had come to seek respite from famine and war, which of course were all his personal fault. Perhaps he would landeth one of the many thousands of jobs created in the Shire of the Deen by Caesar Augustus Trumpus Maximus Racist, whose great pleasure palace would be the envy of the civilised world. Placed on the world’s largest dunes of sand, verily the wealthy multitudes would come here for a game of golf and leisure, although it was leagues north of Hadrian’s Wall, in the frozen land of the Picts and Celts. But I digresseth again.

The Person Named had managed to secure a temporary hotel lodging for the homeless couple, a beddeth and breakfasteth which the taxpayer would pay for. Now the taxpayer waxed wroth, for verily they had already paid for a massive number of social homes – some 400 of these were ready for use, but were sitting empty.

Peterus Leonardus Ruminant Vermin-Slayer Totallus Incompetentus, the head of the city’s housing, had decreed it was too complicated to give these homes a good use, and anyway, he was far too busy ridding the city of its roe deer menace. He claimed that a roe deer caused one chariot accident every week. This may in part have been because Leonardus had destroyed every bit of meadow the poor creatures had, but again, I digresseth.

The hotel was, according to the brochure the Person Named had acquired, supposed to be an iconic, smart, forward-looking building breathing new life into the heart of Aberdeen.

However, when Joseph, Mary and the Person Named arrived at their hotel, alas! It was still under construction, although it should have been finished months ago. A giant scraper of the sky, towering over the other buildings in Aberdeen, including some dusty old relic called the Provost’s House – it could not house them. The Person Named exclaimed:

“Behold what mighty works there are here in Aberdeenland. Great towers of glass and concerete so great as to block out the sky and light! Result!”

Joseph whispered to Mary:

“I wonder that the city’s senators would allow such ugly carbuncles to be erected amid the pleasant Granite buildings and suspected some shekels had traded hands. This Square of the Marischal looks like our blighted homeland. What maniacs are these we find ourselves among I wonder?”

Mary, Joseph and the Person Named followed street signs pointing to the tourist board, but verily these all led back to the place where the iron horses sped along tracks of metal, well, the trains did work when the copper wiring had not been stripped away by the Vandals and Ostragoths, or unless the wrong types of leaves lay on the rails – but again I digresseth.

Eventually finding the tourist board office, despite all the signs pointing to either the railway station or a giant bazaar, they spoke with the tourist board staff.

“Och noo, there are nae hotel rooms available, the whole o Scotland’s come to see yon Christmas Village, you see. However, I could get you either a single room in Peterheid, or the Britannia still seems to have lots of space for some reason.”

Joseph was tired and aggrieved:

“Verily I would sooner take my chances in the Sunken Gardens of the Terrace of Union with its murderers, miscreants and n’eer do wells, and Buckfast drinkers than take my wife and the Person Named to the Britannia.”

So off they went.

#                                  #                                  #                                  #

“This is going on your permanent record” saideth the Person Named. Mary was sore afraid.

They headed to the outskirts of town, and found a stable filled with horses, cattle, chickens and sheep – you getteth the idea.

And what kind of a farm was this?

It was a charity farm, one which rescued all kinds of farm animals (no dogs or cats).

Joseph was intrigued. Addressing the farmer he asked her:

“Lo, by what means do you pay for all the food, vet bills, insurance and regular horse-shoeing the horses and ponies need?”

“We’re 100% dependent on the public for donations.” the lady farmer replied, “I don’t have a computer, but I put up ads on fundraising websites with lovely pictures of horses and ponies and sheep, and people send us donations for the animals we rescue.”

“Verily” said the Person Named, “I can see a picture here of a sheep, and another of four little ponies – mind, these ponies look very much like some that I’ve seen in a photograph of yonder Shetlands – ponies which need no rescue.”

“Well!” said the farmer “we are a working farm, and I never said we weren’t. It’s like this: we show photos of fluffy lambs because our supporters want to see them. Then we sell the lambs at auction to people who will probably turn them into lamb chops, but it is none of our business what happens to the animals we raise as a business to support our business, and well all of our supporters know we save animals by raising other animals to get killed, if you know what I mean.”

She continued proudly:

“Sometimes, as I don’t have a camera or a computer, I have to download pictures of other people’s animals, and I’m sure no one minds too much. Anyway, that’ll be £30 for the night. In advance.”

Neither Joseph, Mary or the Person Named were sure they understood this business model.

“Well, it’s still better than staying in the Britannia” Mary said.

All agreed, and began settling down for the night.

“Joseph honey, I think I’m going into labour” said Mary.

“You sure it’s not just indigestion from that all you can eat Chinese on Union Street our Mary?” he asked

“No, it’s the realeth deal”

“Shall we get you to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary then?” asked the Person Named

Joseph and Mary looked at their clip-board bearing travel companion (who refused to give them their name as it happened) and exchanged a look.

“You mean that place where the cleaning staff, nurses and doctors are all on a pittance and toil all day and night, where germs have run rampant, where junior doctors are exhausted, and the ER is crammed on a weekend with people who have had too much wine and mead?” – Joseph was aghast.

“Well, that’s where we’re going, I’ll just call for an ambulance and call to let the midwives know we’re on the way. Then I’m going to find you two immigrants some permanent accommodation and some work. The council will have your home and work straightened out in no time.” said the Person Named.

Joseph and Mary again looked at each other and shook their heads.

#                                  #                                  #                                  #

Meaneth while, some shepherds were out in one of the few fields left, counting their sheep.

“It’s nae use Murray,” Shepherd A spake “Fit wi so many ear tags on each animal nowadays they can barely keep their head up.”

“Agreed,” saideth Shepherd B. “And god help you if your sheep should lose a tag; that’s you stuck with an unsellable sheep, and about a week’s worth of paperwork, and a hefty bill. Things ain’t what they used to be.”

“Perhaps we could do liketh those farmers up the road do, and start also keeping some animals, you know, and saying we’re rescuing them. We’ll still sell our sheep at market, but we’ll tell everyone how kind and loving we are, and we’ll tell them we’re saving farm animals.” Shepherd A was proud of this plan.

“Ach, you’ve been smoking that funny stuff they sell on the Q T down at the farm have ye?” Shepherd B said. “Still, if it turneth a quid, let’s put our heads together and go fer it.”

Just at this moment the heavens lit up.

“Heck’s this?” asked Shepherd A “Aurora Borealis was nae forecast on my Facebook feed tonight.”

Shepherd B said:

“Must be one of those funny light projection things that the city think are so clever and forward looking. They shine a pink or blue light on a tree trunk or on a building, and think they’re Manhattan or London.”

Just then, an angel descended from the heavens, flapping its wings. it spake unto the shepherds:

“Do not be afraid.”

“Am nae bothered me,” said Shepherd B

“Not fashed either; what’s up?” said A.

Somewhat flustered at the unanticipated interruption and lack of awe the pair of shepherds displayed, the angel continued:

“I shall starteth over: Do not be afraid, for I bring you glad tidings of great joy.”

“Oooh, are we getting a new shopping mall?” Asked Shepherd B, rubbing his hands together “We need more cheap goods from other parts of the empire, madeth by the slaves so that we need not spendeth all our pounds and drachma on UK made goods.”

“I know!” Shouted Shepherd A, “It’s a Krispy Kreme Donut shop! I heard on Twitter that we’re getting one in the Empire Square mall. I don’t half fancy a few dozen of those chocolate ones.”

The frustrated angel, his wings flapping furiously as he hovered over the shepherds, flew flusterdly.

“Hey mate, you have a permit for this? All drones have to obey FAA commands.” Said Shepherd A

“It’s not a drone, stupid. It’s what you call one of those genetically modified chickens. Let’s have him and get some tags on those wings.” Shepherd B said

The angel waxed wroth. He pointed at a nearby boulder and it exploded.

“Pretty sure you need a permit for that.” muttered Shepherd A.

“Right. Let’s try this again.” the Angel started. “Do not be afraid, for I bring you glad tidings of great joy. Behold, a child is born tonight in a manger; he will be king of kings. His parents have travelled from afar for this miracle of birth.”

“You what?” said Shepherd B. “Last thing we need are more immigrants round here. That’s more competition for jobs, innit?”

Shepherd A was not impressed.

“King of kings? Look mate, we’re trying to get rid of the monarchy. What did the monarchs ever do for us? Except Robert the Bruce of course; he gave us common good land, foreseeing a day when we’d want to turn it over to private hands to build a granite web on.”

“Right, when you said ‘glad tidings of great joy’ I thought you at least meant a peripheral ring road, more housing in the greenbelt, or jobs creation. I hoped that maybe we’d finally get that granite web everyone wants. Jeez.” Shephderd B was sore disappointed.

Shepherd A waived his hands and arms as if to shoo the Angel away.

“Bugger off, you, and take any foreigners with you.” 

The Angel, now veritably incandescent with rage, pointed his arm at the ground by the shepherds, and a vast chasm filled with fire and brimstone opened at their feet. Out popped three people in pinstripe suits armed with mobile phones and clipboards. A mountain of paperwork and forms appeared from the firey depths as well.

“I’m Smith from DEFRA, this is Higgins from EU Agriculture and Rural Development, this is your MEP, and there’s more coming. What’s this about one of your lambs missing one of its ear tags??”

Smith thrust a bale of forms at Shepherd A.

“We’ll start with this. Our call-out fee is £10,000, which we’ll take out of next year’s farm subsidy.”

The Angel said to Shepherd B:

“If you don’t want the same, go and get the three Wise Men, and tell them to get to the barn the star hangs over, and go greet the newborn king.”

“OK OK, whatever; don’t get in a flap” Said Shepherd B, and he was off.

Shepherd A was aghast:

“But we’ve not received this year’s subsidy yet!” 

Turning to the Angel, he said:

“Couldn’t you have just turned me into a pillar of salt or something instead?”

But the Angel was gone.

#                                              #                                              #                                              #

The Person Named had called a cab, and had gone off to a five star restaurant/hotel which he’d found on Trippeth Advisor. The cab took winding roads until gigantic signs proclaimed his arrival at ‘Trumpus Maximus Scota Golfus’. He figured he’d make some calls about Joseph and Mary, have a nice steak dinner and in the morning play a round of golf.

Of course, the grateful taxpayer would be happy to pay for the costs of a Person Named, and only the best would do. Making some calls from the club house of this magnificent resort, with its giant sundials and Trumpus crested furniture, he’d sorteth out the work and housing for this couple. The ambulance had never arrived though he waited hours, and then somehow Mary and Joseph didn’t seem to be around anyway.

“If only I could find some kind of jobs for these immigrants.” the Person named sighed aloud into his third martini.

“Hi there – did you say you need to find some housing and work for some immigrants? Well look no further!”

The speaker was a woman with giant hair, giant heels, and a lovely lovely face.

“We are building staff accommodation and I’m sure we can find them some work cleaning rooms and dishes. Shall we talk?” 

Verily, it was Sarah Malonia Bates Majora, Face of Aberdeen, Spokeswoman of Trumpus. The Person Named bowed before her.

And thus another successful outcome for the Person Named scheme came to be.

#                                              #                                              #                                              #

Shepherd B arrived at the mighty palace of Marischal College. Rushing to the head of the queue at Reception, he was jostled and jeered by those in line.

“Right.” he said breathlessly to the jaded receptionist,

“I’m looking for Three Wise Men”

“Are you sure you’re in the right place?” the receptionist asked.

“Well, for openers, there’s ACSEF.”

“No, not wiseguys, Wise MEN.” the Shepherd said. “Besides it’s ONE now, not ACSEF. It’s a whole different thing!”

“Sure it is, sure it is,” The receptionist laughed,

“A public/private quango paid for partly by taxes, headed by Sir Ian Wood and Jennifer Claw’s involved, and they want to build stuff in Union Terrace Gardens.  Yeah. completely different. Anyway, what do you want wise men for, and where do you expect to find them around here?”

“A baby’s been born that will be king of kings and straighten everything out!” cried the Shepherd,

“And an angel flew down from heaven and told me to get the word around, and find the wise men.”

“NEXT!” said the receptionist, and the shepherd was jostled along out of the line.

#                                  #                                  #                                  #

In the meaneth time, Mary had had her baby right there in the manger, and couldn’t be moved now. She thought the farmer was trying to take snaps of the babe in the manger, and would have sworn the farmer whispered:

“wait til I get this on Go Fundeth Me! I’ll be sheckels in!”

And lo, similar stories were being played out in Gaul, in Brittania, in the very Roman Empire too.

Tired, worn out people were fleeing the four horsemen: Famine had come to the formerly Fertile Crescent, wreaking havoc. He was followed closely by Plague, as the fleeing refugees spilled out from the now barren land. They streamed to their country’s cities where War had been waiting to meet them. As they fled from Famine, Plague and War, many fled straight into the arms of Death, who had also been waiting.

Those who escaped Death were a diverse band. The hugest part were simply people trying to stay alive and keep their wives, husbands, mothers, fathers and children alive. They did what you or I would do.  Their options were few, and Death waited everywhere.

A tiny fraction of the people on the move were the very agents of War and Death, who decided that rather than solving problems they would make more problems.

And a smaller number still are the ones who one day will, we hope, try to solve problems with peace, intelligence, kindness, and maybe even Love, who it is rumoured is making something of a comeback.

Mary slept; Joseph kept watch, and the baby smiled in its sleep.

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Nov 092015
 

Shooglenifty2With thanks to James Soars Media Services. 

2015 has been an epic year for Shooglenifty, a band formed 25 years ago in Edinburgh.

Retaining four of their original members plus their bass player of 12 years standing, the line up has been invigorated in the past year by fiery young mandolinist Ewan MacPherson who contributes four tunes to their critically acclaimed new CD release The Untied Knot.

Also new in 2015 is ‘puirt a beul’ vocalist Kaela Rowan who graces the album with the first ever collection of Shoogle songs.

Shooglenifty’s sound springs from traditional Scottish dance music, energised by the beats and bass line of something altogether more contemporary. It is not a sit-down kind of music, it’s a join-in, and get on your feet kind of vibe.

Attempts to describe this almost uncatagorisable band include: ‘dub-diddly’,‘hypno-folkadelic-ambient-trad’ and ‘Acid-Croft’. Whatever it is, it has endured, evolved and, above all, entertained for quarter of a century.

The band are most at home playing live, and matching the excitement of releasing the new album, 2015 has been a year of very special gigs. They enjoyed not one, but three(!) 25th Anniversary Parties –  they sold out the city’s iconic Old Fruitmarket venue at Celtic Connections in January, they blew the roof off a packed Glenuig Hall in April, and, in May, celebrated at a late night album launch at La Belle Angele, Edinburgh, scene of their first residency in the early 90s.

Summer 2015 is packed with appearances at festivals at home and abroad: they include HebCelt in the Isle of Lewis, Cambridge, Rainforest World Music Fest in Borneo and Interceltique in Brittany (with current collaborators the Dhol Drummers of Rajasthan). The year is top and tailed by hogmanay celebrations on opposite sides of the earth – Woodford, Australia for 2014/5 and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay for 2015/6.

But before we hit the fireworks at midnight on 31 December, Shooglenifty is coming to a village/town/city near you. There will be dancing.

Celebrating their 25th anniversary, this is Shooglenifty’s seventh studio album. The breathtaking ‘puirt a beul’ (mouth music) of Gaelic vocalist Kaela Rowan brings a captivating and energising new element to the band’s sound, and the grittiness of the songs further confounds any attempt to categorise them.

The Untied Knot drops additional pins in the Shoogles’ map of international influences, this time hitting the road from Scotland to Rajasthan. Watch out for James Mackintosh and Kaela Rowan’s ‘The High To Jodhpur’, a tune that makes that connection explicit, whilst Burn’s Tam O’Shanter is the ‘closer to home’ substance to the title track by Quee MacArthur.

Former band member Luke Plumb’s fresh compositions – the psychedelic ‘Arms of Sleep’ and ‘The Highway Carpark,’ a ‘hurry up and wait’ classic – are included, whilst new mandolinist Ewan MacPherson makes his mark with three tunes. His ‘Somebody’s Welcome To Somewhere’, a tongue-in-cheek Highland march, features the princely pipers of a guesting Ross Ainslie. Ewan also contributes a dark nautical romp ‘The Devil’s Breath Hornpipe’, and a speedy pair of reels clearly spawned by the Shoogle dance gene, ‘Samhla Reel/Scolpaig’.

A dazzling contribution by Garry ‘Banjo’ Finlayson ‘The Scorpian’ (sic) is a fascinating and enigmatic creature, whilst ‘Fitzroy’s Crossing’, the striking Antipodean closing track by Shooglenifty front man Angus R Grant, is proof positive that there is no musical journey this band can’t take.

The cover was designed by renowned John Byrne who previously created album sleeves for Gerry Rafferty, Stealers Wheel, Billy Connolly, and The Beatles, among others.

“This is a class act, truly in line for album of the year” – fROOTS.

“Remarkably exciting, and fresh *****” – Songlines.

“Top to bottom The Untied Knot is a fine piece of work awash with spectacular displays of musicianship and bewildering levels of innovation” – Folk Words.

“Gaelic vocalist Kaela Rowan fits Shooglenifty’s skilfully-knitted left-field sound as snugly as a kilt”  – The Australian.

THE UNTIED KNOT TOUR:

Friday 6 November 2015 | The Up Front Gallery | Cumbria | Find the venue | Buy tickets

Saturday 7 November 2015 | Mac Arts | Galashiels | Find the venue | Tickets available soon

Thursday 12 November 2015 | The Lemon Tree | Aberdeen | Find the venue | Buy tickets

Friday 13 November 2015 | Gardyne Theatre | Dundee | Find the venue | Buy tickets

Saturday 14 November 2015 | Gordonstoun | Elgin | Find the venue | Tickets available soon

Friday 27 November 2015 | Inchyra Arts Club | Perth | Find the venue | Buy tickets

Saturday 28 November 2015 | Sabhal Mòr Ostaig | Skye | Find the venue | Buy tickets

Friday 4 December 2015 | Applecross Community Hall | Applecross | Find the venue | Buy tickets

Saturday 5 December 2015 | MacRobert Memorial Hall | Tarland | Find the venue | Buy tickets

Friday 11 December 2015 | The Canteen | Bristol | Find the venue | Tickets available soon

Saturday 12 December 2015 | The Borderline | London | Find the venue | Buy tickets

Sunday 13 December 2015 | The Crescent | York | Find the venue | Buy tickets

Friday 18 December 2015 | Stereo | Glasgow | Find the venue | Buy tickets

Saturday 19 December 2015 | Memorial Hall | Resolis | Find the venue | Buy tickets

Sunday 20 December 2015 | The Old Bridge Inn | Aviemore | Find the venue | Tickets available soon

Monday 28 December 2015 | Astley Hall | Arisaig | Find the venue | Buy tickets

Tuesday 29 December 2015 | Tolbooth | Stirling | Find the venue | Tickets available soon

For more information and the latest tour news, please visit:www.shooglenifty.com

Oct 152015
 

With thanks to Ian McLaren, PR account manager, Innes Associates.

Food and Fiddle Fortnight 2015 - world premier served up

Perfect accompaniment: Final week of Food and Fiddle Fortnight to serve up world public premiere of historic royal tune

Royal Deeside’s Food and Fiddle Fortnight will reach a crescendo this weekend with a number of musical performances, one of which will be a world public premiere.

On the final day of the two-week festival, members of the pipes and drums of The Royal Highland Fusiliers 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS) will perform the first public recital of the new pipe tune ‘The Longest Reign’.

The tune, a march, has been composed by Pipe Major of 2 SCOTS Stuart Gillies to commemorate Her Majesty The Queen becoming the longest reigning monarch in British history.

The historic recital of the tune will take place at a free to attend event at Deeside Activity Park near Aboyne on Sunday, 18 October at 2:00pm, and will be one of the final events of Food and Fiddle Fortnight. The pipe band’s performance will also feature a medley of other traditional tunes.

Pipe Major Gillies composed the vibrant tune at the request of 2 SCOTS company commander Major Alastair Colville. ‘The Longest Reign’ marks the date – Wednesday, 09 September 2015 – that Her Majesty surpassed the milestone which her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria had previously held. It was played for her at Balmoral Castle on that date.

The Royal Highland Fusiliers have been on Royal Guard duties on Royal Deeside for the past three months and presented Her Majesty with a copy of tune at the end of her annual summer stay. Sunday’s performance at Deeside Activity Park will be one of the final engagements that the fusiliers will carry out on Royal Deeside before returning to their barracks in Edinburgh next week.

A video of two pipers from the band performing the tune high on the hills above Ballater has been viewed nearly 80,000 times on the regiment’s Facebook page.

Organised by Visit Royal Deeside, Food and Fiddle Fortnight is an annual celebration of the area’s culinary and cultural talents and heritage.  The two-week festival draws to a close on Sunday evening, by which time more than 60 events will have been held at venues across Deeside and Donside, bringing together local food producers, businesses and musicians.

Highlights of the coming week’s programme include special daytime events and musical evenings at the Hilton Grand Vacations Club at Craigendarroch. There are live traditional music sessions at the Aberdeen Arms, Tarland, on Tuesday, 13 October and the Deeside Inn, Ballater, on Saturday, 17 October.

For walkers and those keen to learn more about the Cambus O’ May area there is a guided walk led by local historian Ian Murray on Saturday, 17 October. The walk will be punctuated with live fiddle music from Paul Anderson. Participants will then enjoy more music and a two-course dinner at Ballater’s Riverside Cottage Cafe.

The fortnight-long celebration will draw to a close with a concert performed by the Rua Macmillan Duo at the Woodend Barn, Banchory, on Sunday, 18 October. Award winning Scottish fiddler Rua Macmillan will be joined by pianist Suzanne Houston, with the duo performing a range of music from across Scotland and further afield.

Moira Gash, Visit Royal Deeside project co-ordinator, said:

“The Longest Reign is a wonderful piece of music and a fantastic way to commemorate Her Majesty’s achievement. It is very fitting that the world public premiere of the tune will take place on Royal Deeside, an area held in great affection by The Queen and her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, the length of whose reign she surpassed.

“There are a number of great events still ahead this week which will appeal to all ages, especially with the school holidays starting. We are very pleased that 2 SCOTS have agreed to perform for us on Sunday afternoon at Deeside Activity Park. It is a fitting way to help bring the 2015 Food and Fiddle Fortnight to a close and also mark the end of the battalion’s time on Royal Deeside.”

To inspire visitors to explore the local area even further during Food and Fiddle Fortnight, Visit Royal Deeside has put together an A to Z of things to do and places to visit. The list highlights some of the more unusual activities on offer, including lessons in tractor driving, gliding and driving a train on part of the old Deeside line.

Food and Fiddle Fortnight takes place in venues across Royal Deeside until Sunday, 18 October. A full programme is available at www.visitroyaldeeside.com or by searching for Food and Fiddle Fortnight on Facebook.

Visit Royal Deeside is the destination management organisation established in 2005 to promote Royal Deeside, Donside and the eastern Cairngorms. The organisation works with over 100 locals businesses to enhance the quality and variety of visitor products and services, providing effective training and support where necessary.

It aims to grow tourism in the area for the benefit of locals and ensure visitors have the best possible experience to encourage return visits and recommendations to family and friends. More information is available at www.visitroyaldeeside.com.

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Oct 012015
 

With thanks to Ian McLaren, PR account manager, Innes Associates

Food and Fiddle Fortnight 2015

Perfect accompaniment: Royal Deeside serving up third Food and Fiddle Fortnight next month

Royal Deeside will again provide the scenic backdrop as the area serves up another helping of its annual Food and Fiddle Fortnight, which begins this Friday.

Taking place in venues throughout the Aberdeenshire valley, the initiative brings together local food producers, businesses and musicians to showcase the area’s culinary and musical talents.

The celebration of food and music has been organised by Visit Royal Deeside and runs from Friday, 02 until Sunday, 18 October.

Now in its third year, the two-week festival is expected to draw visitors from across Scotland keen to experience the area at the start of one of its most spectacular seasons. A programme of around 60 events has been put together to cater for all musical and gastronomic tastes. Additional events are still being added to the festival’s programme.

The cultural and culinary celebration includes food demonstrations, farmers markets, live music sessions, special afternoon teas, exhibitions and concerts. Many of the area’s cafes, restaurants and inns are also creating special menus for the festival to showcase the breadth and depth of produce available locally.

As Royal Deeside begins to display its autumnal colours, visitors can explore its farmland, forestry and moorland aboard a Land Rover Safari organised by Glen Tanar Estate on Sunday, 04 October, which includes a venison barbecue lunch.

Those wishing to discover the area on foot can join local historian Ian Murray on a guided walk on Saturday, 17 October. Acclaimed local fiddler Paul Anderson will provide live fiddle music along the route, before participants enjoy more music and a two-course dinner at Ballater’s Riverside Cottage Cafe. The venue will also host an opera dinner on Saturday, 10 October.

For foodies, Glendavan House at Dinnet is serving up a Highland hamper and bagpipe breakfast on Saturday, 03 October, while on the Tuesdays and Wednesdays of the festival Cambus O’ May Cheese will open its factory doors and allow visitors to see its award-winning artisan cheeses being made.

Wark Farm at Cushnie, an organic farm butchery and meat retailer, will be holding food and farm experience days on Sunday, 04 and Monday, 05 October. The sessions will include a farm walk followed by an informal lunch of meat reared on the farm and vegetables grown in its kitchen garden. Visitors will also get the chance to learn some butchery skills during an afternoon demonstration.

Art and food will combine throughout the festival. On the opening night, Friday, 02 October, the renowned Butterworth Gallery will host an artistic taste evening. The event will feature local produce including local cheeses from Cambus O’ May Cheese and beers from Deeside Brewery. Meanwhile, on Thursday, 08 October, the 230 ceramic fish exhibits from the much-admired River of Fish installation, created by the Heckleburn Quines, will be auctioned off at Banchory’s Woodend Barn.

Festival highlights include two concerts featuring some of Scotland’s leading traditional musicians.

Celebrating the Hairst takes place on Thursday, October 08, in Tarland’s MacRobert Hall, with renowned local musicians, fiddler Paul Anderson and singer Shona Donaldson, performing a lively programme of traditional tunes and bothy ballads to mark harvest time.

The fortnight-long celebration will draw to a close with a concert performed by the Rua Macmillan Duo at the Woodend Barn, Banchory, on Sunday, 18 October. Award winning Scottish fiddler Rua Macmillan will be joined by pianist Suzanne Houston, with the duo performing a range of music from across Scotland and further afield.

Moira Gash, Visit Royal Deeside project co-ordinator, said:

“Royal Deeside is an area steeped in a rich musical and culinary heritage and the next two weeks will showcase the best of this. The 2015 festival programme features a diverse range of events, with things to appeal to people of all ages, interests and musical tastes. Local businesses have fully supported the Food and Fiddle Fortnight once again and have created some fantastic events.

“As Royal Deeside becomes carpeted in its autumnal shades of gold, russet and ochre, the area really is a stunning place to visit. A great way for all the family to discover more about it is to use the Explore Royal Deeside GeoTour to complement any of the Food and Fiddle Fortnight events. The GeoTour is Scotland’s only official geocaching tour and is a fantastic way to get active and hunt out some of Deeside’s attractions.”

To inspire visitors to explore the local area even further during the Food and Fiddle Fortnight, Visit Royal Deeside has put together an A to Z of things to do and places to visit. The list highlights some of the more unusual activities on offer, including lessons in tractor driving, gliding and driving a train on part of the old Deeside line.

Moira added:

“Royal Deeside has a huge amount to offer visitors. Our A to Z aims to highlight some of the more unusual and quirky activities and places to visit, while also reminding visitors about some of the iconic sites and attractions that the area has to offer. We hope it will give some inspiration to those visiting Royal Deeside in the months ahead.”

The Food and Fiddle Fortnight takes place in venues across Royal Deeside between Friday, 02 and Sunday, 18 October. A full programme is available at www.visitroyaldeeside.com or by searching for Food and Fiddle Fortnight on Facebook.

Visit Royal Deeside is the destination management organisation established in 2005 to promote Royal Deeside, Donside and the eastern Cairngorms. The organisation works with over 100 locals businesses to enhance the quality and variety of visitor products and services, providing effective training and support where necessary.

It aims to grow tourism in the area for the benefit of locals and ensure visitors have the best possible experience to encourage return visits and recommendations to family and friends. More information is available at www.visitroyaldeeside.com.

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Sep 252015
 

With thanks to Annie McKee.

Old Blind Dogs 2

The finale of this exciting Food and Music Day will be a concert with world-renowned, local folk superstars, Old Blind Dogs.

Tarland is well-placed for local produce and a thriving music scene, which will both be showcased in our second Tarland Food and Music Day. This festival will be held on Saturday 26th September (with events kicking off on Friday 25th September), at venues throughout the village, including the wonderful two year-old community garden (recently featured on the Beechgrove Garden).

A weekend of fantastic music is planned, with performances all around the village.

World-renowned local fiddler Paul Anderson will kick off the activities on Friday 25th September with a guided local walk, featuring musical interludes and local heritage tales (2-5pm, advanced booking required by emailing: tarlandfoodandmusicday@gmail.com).

Paul will also feature in the exciting evening concert with popular Perthshire fiddler, Patsy Reid and friends, including the pianist Andy Thorburn, Shooglenifty guitarist Ewan MacPherson, and drummer Signy Jakobsdóttir (£12/£10 MacRobert Hall, doors open from 7.30pm; Deeside Brewery bar). Local musicians are invited to join Patsy and friends for workshops in the Upper Hall on Saturday morning (10-12; £5 per hour).

The Food and Music Day itself will open with the established food and local produce market in the MacRobert Hall (10am – 12 midday, free entry), featuring Crannach Bakery, Mortlach Game, Deeside Brewery, Cambus o’ May Cheese, Wark Farm, Tarland Community Garden produce and much more. Morning teas and cakes will be ably provided by Cromar Senior Citizens Association.

An exciting game cookery demonstration will be provided by award-winning Chef Raj from India on the Green, Ballater, sponsored by the Scottish Natural Heritage initiative, ‘Scotland’s Natural Larder’ (2.30-4pm; free entry). Lunch will be provided by H.M. Sheridan Butchers, firing up the barbeque at Tarland Primary School, with India on the Green providing curry, rice and pakora lunch boxes in the MacRobert Hall (12 midday – 2pm).

Visitors can learn to put the ‘oomph’ back into their day with a talk by Torphins-based nutritionist, Dr. Chris Fenn (£3, Upper MacRobert Hall, 1 – 2pm).

Druminaboot workshop - Tarland Food and Music DayTarland Community Garden will be open within ‘Scotland’s Gardens’ scheme, including music by singer/songwriter Megan Albon, plus talks by James Reid from Tap O’ Noth Permaculture and Yvonne Davidson from Tarland Bee Group (£3, 2-5pm).

Aberdeen’s-own African drumming group ‘Drummin Aboot’ will be holding workshops in Tarland Primary School for both children and adults (4-6pm, £5 per hour), preceding a performance in the MacRobert Hall (6.15-6.45, free entry) – not to be missed!

The finale of this exciting Food and Music Day will be a concert with world-renowned, local folk superstars, Old Blind Dogs.

With a current line up featuring Jonny Hardie (fiddle, guitar and vocals), Aaron Jones (bouzouki, guitar, vocals), Ali Hutton (Border pipes, whistles, vocals) and Donald Hay (drums, percussion), the Tarland audience is sure to be in for a musical feast.

Ticket price includes hearty soup supper from Tillypronie-based chef Carol Eagles, and Deeside Brewery will be on hand with their tasty craft beers and ales (£15/£12; doors open 7pm, concert at 8pm).

The full programme of events can be found at www.tarland.org.uk (following links to the Food and Music Day) and all tickets can be booked by emailing tarlandfoodandmusicday@gmail.com or bought in person from Tarland Spar and Paper Shop and Strachans, Aboyne, at the Tarland Local Produce Market and on-the-door.

Please note that advanced booking is required for the music workshops and strongly advised for all concerts! The Tarland Development Group looks forward to welcoming you to the feasting and music-making on 26th September!

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Sep 262014
 

carpenter n mayBy David Innes.

It’s quite a coup for local Americana promoter Martin Raitt’s Almost Blue Promotions to bring scintillating roots duo Carpenter & May to The Blue Lamp.

Attracting such a prestigious act is proof that in just over a year of existence, Almost Blue is punching above its weight and becoming the go-to outlet for PRs and promoters eager to promote their acts in NE Scotland.

The Gallowgate gig on Friday 3 October is the final date of the duo’s eagerly-anticipated eight-date Scottish tour.

Both experienced and busy musicians, Fred Carpenter and Tim May have impressive CVs, having variously worked with, among others, Emmylou Harris, Barbara Mandrell, George Strait, Patty Loveless and Charlie Daniels.

Their debut CD Carpenter & May was released four years ago and topped the Folk Radio airplay chart on its release.  It continues to delight fans, four years on. The critics were effusive in their praise…

“It is obvious by the end of the first song on this new album by Fred Carpenter and Tim May that the virtuosity expected from these two wonderful musicians is in full effect. This album is fun, powerful, and superb.” – Bluegrass Unlimited

“Anyone seeking an alternative to blazing bluegrass and slick Nashvegas sounds could find what they are looking for right here. Everything is impeccably understated and without pretension.”  – Driftwood Magazine

“It is easy to see why Fred Carpenter and Tim May have had a great deal of success beside some of the biggest names in country music. It’s time for them to step out and shine individually.” –  Sing Out!

Witnessed live, the duo has attracted fine reviews too, and not only from the critics…

“Fred Carpenter and Tim May play roots music at its best. Using guitar, fiddle, mandolin, bass, and vocals, they can mow down backyard bluegrass, tug the Celtic heartstrings, or even croon a jazz standard.” – Tim O’Brien

“Fred and Tim are a one-two punch: two virtuosos who share a passion for acoustic music from many different traditions. Both have a musical maturity and depth of phrasing that instantly complement and play off each other. From achingly beautiful ballads, through celtic airs, jigs and reels, to hot jazz and fiery bluegrass, they bless us with their talent, their vision and the generosity of spirit with which they play.” –  Kathy Mattea

The Lampie’s clientele is in for a treat, then. It promises to be one of the year’s best city gigs.

Tickets will cost £8 in advance, or £10 on the night. Advance booking here: http://tinyurl.com/ovfjrqc

Keep up to date with Almost Blue news here www.almostbluepromotions.com

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