Edinburgh Tradfest's music programme now on sale

Published: 28 Feb 2022

5 of the acts appearing at Edinburgh's Tradfest. Top row, left to right: Duncan Chisholm, Eliza & Martin Carthy. Bottom row, left to right: Shooglenifty, Phil Alexander, Frigg

5 of the acts appearing at Edinburgh's Tradfest. Top row, left to right: Duncan Chisholm, Eliza & Martin Carthy. Bottom row, left to right: Shooglenifty, Phil Alexander, Frigg (image by Ulla Nikula). All other images courtesy of Edinburgh Tradfest.

Edinburgh Tradfest’s music programme is now on sale with a fantastic line-up of live music, talks and new commissions at the Traverse Theatre and various venues across the city, thanks to continued support from Creative Scotland. Opening the Festival on Friday 29 April, is highland fiddle legend and composer Duncan Chisholm and his band formed from some of Scotland’s top instrumentalists – Jarlath Henderson (whistles/uillean pipes), Innes Watson (guitar), Michael Biggins (piano) and Donald Hay (percussion). These trad music legends are supported by Scots Singer of the Year nominee BBC MG ALBA Trad Awards 2021 Beth Malcolm (The Scotsman’s folk ‘One To Watch’ 2022).

Over the 11 days of the Festival there will be a fantastic line-up of music each night including Tradfest’s new commission Come All Ye from Phil Alexander (Moishe’s Bagel) celebrating the impact that many immigrants have made on the cultural life of Scotland and the diversity of traditions that 21st century contemporary Scotland represents. This piece is a collaboration with an outstanding group of international musicians who have made Scotland their home and will include stories of arrival and departure, displacement and togetherness.

Other great names in the 2022 line-up include twice-nominated Mercury Music Prize nominee and multiple-award winner at the BBC Radio Two Folk awards Eliza Carthy performing with her legendary father Martin Carthy; a supercharged set of new tunes and old favourites from Shooglenifty; ingenious Finnish ‘nordgrass’ fiddle music from Frigg; harmonious and playful vocals from Sian (Ceitlin Lilidh, Eilidh Cormack and Ellen MacDonald); US classic banjo artist Aaron Jonah Lewis; powerful vocals and instrumental prowess from the phenomenal folk bluegrass band The Shee (Rachel Newton, Lillias Kinsman-Blake, Olivia Ross, Amy Thatcher, Signy Jakobsdottir); Project Smok (Pablo Lafuente, Ewan Baird and BBC Young Traditional Musician of the year 2020 Ali Levack) who blend traditional music with contemporary new-age pop influences to create their unique sound; Malin makes Music (bagpipe, fiddle); up-and-coming folk artists from the Outer Hebrides Eabhal; and Ross and Ali Trio (Ross Ainslie and Ali Hutton with Jenn Butterworth) mixing high octane jigs and reels with magnificent slow airs.

Other great musical pairings in this year’s line-up include: international traditional musicians and long-time friends and musical collaborators Nuala Kennedy (flute and songs) and Dubliner/New Yorker Eamon O’Leary (guitar and song); Janice Burns and Jon Doran - the Scottish Anglican duo whose tight vocal harmonies and sensitive interplay between mandolin and bouzouki is a true celebration of their own musical and geographic backgrounds; dynamic American roots musicians Evie Ladin and Keith Terry who will perform a hugely entertaining mix of Appalachian roots music, step dance and body percussion; two of Canada’s greatest roots singer-songwriters Dave Gunning and J P Cormier who have recently released their first album together; seven-time winner at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, including 2018 Folk Singer of The Year, Karine Polwart with renowned jazz/folk pianist Dave Milligan; and Alice Allen and Patsy Reid of the North East fiddle tradition.

The Festival’s programme is built around collaborations and this year Tradfest is once again partnering with the University of Edinburgh to present Rebellious Truth 22 – a talk addressing gender inequality in traditional music with Úna Monaghan (harper, composer, researcher and sound artist from Belfast); and, for the first time will work with Bogha-Frois aka Queer Voices in Folk - a community of queer folk musicians based in Scotland and beyond who are curating a line-up of bands including Hebridean trio Hecla and Madderam, an up-and-coming five piece band and finalists at the Na Trad Awards in the Best Up and Coming Artist category.

Douglas Robertson and Jane-Ann Purdy, co-producers of Edinburgh Tradfest said: “We’re thrilled to be able to welcome back so many international acts this year to play alongside some of the very best musicians on the Scottish traditional music scene. The energy and buzz that audiences experience at a live gig is irreplaceable online and we can’t wait to be back in the thick of it all this festival. Roll on Friday 29 April!"

Siobhan Anderson, Music Officer at Creative Scotland said: “Live music has been greatly missed over the last two years so Creative Scotland is delighted that it can continue to support Edinburgh Tradfest.. This year’s programme is a real celebration of the best of Scotland’s traditional talent, the rising stars of the future and the incredible international bands that we are thrilled to see returning to Edinburgh.”

Opening night headline musician Duncan Chisholm said: “I am delighted to be performing the opening night of Edinburgh’s Tradfest 2022. This festival for me represents everything that is positive about traditional music and art. The sense of community and the sheer joy of performing live music right in the heart of our beautiful capital city is what I’m looking forward to.

The Music Hall in Edinburgh's Assembly Rooms will provide an incredible atmosphere for this concert, it is indeed a very special place to play our music."

Edinburgh Tradfest 2022 will run Friday 29 April - Monday 9 May. For tickets and more information visit edinburghtradfest.com.


Edinburgh Tradfest was originally launched in 2013 as a festival showcasing the very best in traditional arts. The festival was previously organised by TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland), who are based at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh. The Festival came under new direction from The Soundhouse Organisation in 2019.

The Soundhouse Organisation is a charitable body that promotes independent music. Since 2016, The Soundhouse Organisation has programmed music concerts at Edinburgh Tradfest and took over management of the whole Festival in 2019. In previous years The Soundhouse Organisation has programmed music at the Traverse Bar in Edinburgh regularly on a Monday night. The organisation is run on a day-to-day basis by Douglas Robertson and Jane-Ann Purdy and is backed by a group of trustees who are passionate about live music, many of them musicians themselves.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at creativescotland.com. Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Learn more about the value of art and creativity in Scotland and join in at www.ourcreativevoice.scot

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