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Scotland’s Musicians Connected to the World

Europe’s top folk festivals feature major Scottish presence in 2017

WHYTE, who performed at Showcase Scotland

As Showcase Scotland at Celtic Connections welcomes music delegates from across Scotland, the UK, Europe and the world, plans are afoot for folk festivals in France and Germany to include a major Scottish presence in 2017.

Scotland will be the international partner and country of focus at Germany’s biggest world music festival, Rudolstadt in July and Festival Interceltique de Lorient in Brittany, France in August.

Speaking about the European partnerships Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland, said:  “Showcase Scotland offers fantastic opportunities for the Scottish folk and Trad scene to make close personal contact with festival directors, agents and bookers from all over the world.  Sometimes this develops into something bigger and even more significant, which is exactly what happened a few years ago when partnership seeds were sown with both the Lorient Interceltique and Rudolstadt Festivals.  By building friendships and working relationships with Lisardo and Bernhard here at Showcase Scotland, we have now secured a major Scottish musical presence in 2017 at two of the biggest folk festivals in Europe.

“Given recent and ongoing world events, this spirit of international cultural collaboration – and connection - is more important than ever.  Our artists have the ability to transcend borders and build friendships through the universal language of music. The international partnerships and collaborations that grow from events such as Showcase Scotland are living proof that embracing traditions from other cultures can only enrich and strengthen our own indigenous culture. This theme is woven right through the Celtic Connections programme.”

Bernhard Hanneken and Lisardo Lombardia attend the Gaelic Showcase at Celtic Connections

Festival directors Bernhard Hanneken (Rudolstadt Festival) and Lisardo Lombardia (Festival Interceltique de Lorient) were welcomed by Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs and Janet Archer, Chief Executive Creative Scotland at Showcase Scotland’s Gaelic Reception at Celtic Connections on Saturday 28 January 2017.  At the reception which aims to shine a light on the strength and vitality of our Gaelic music and culture, Hanneken and Lombardia discussed the importance of the Scottish folk music scene and its appeal for their festivals.

Bernhard Hanneken from Rudolstadt Festival in Germany commented:  “No one can deny the influence of Celtic music on the German folk revival. From which the Rudolstadt Festival is a direct offspring. So we as a festival team, and our audience are glad to welcome Scotland as our partner this year. Even more so as the Scots have proved that they want to remain a part of Europe as much as we do.  Plus - Scotland is a very easy country focus.  Just like with Norway at Rudolstadt15, as an artistic director you must be extremely incompetent to do wrong: With this wealth of traditions and quality of musicians you pick from an embarrassment of riches. The only real embarrassment is that you cannot pick them all - at least not this year.”

Lisardo Lombardia from Festival Interceltique de Lorient in Brittany, France commented: “In 1971, the Interceltic Festival was born in the city of Lorient to highlight the culture of the Celtic countries of the European Atlantic arc. In a Europe under construction and still with old borders, the festival has overcome barriers with passion and conviction, and created a meeting point, of mutual discovery and sharing. Scotland and its musical culture have been present since the festivals inception. Cooperation with the other Celtic countries, especially Scotland, made it possible to create in Lorient a place of encounters and exchanges.

“Today, in 2017 the Interceltic Festival honours Scotland, a country that has contributed, with the quality of its culture, its music and its language, to highlight our values of wealth, diversity, the importance of our roots in a cosmopolitan spirit. Strong character, beating heart, universal spirit. In 2017 Lorient will become a window for the discovery of Scotland today, more involved and more modern than ever. The whole city will be put in Scottish colours and all our capacity of media resonance will be made available to show that this great European nation will always have a place of honour at the Interceltic Festival of Lorient.”

Guests enjoyed an afternoon showcase of first class music from a selection of Scotland’s premier Gaelic artists including WHɎTE, HÒ-RÒ and Tide Lines. The musicians provided a taste of the vibrant, dynamic and world class trad music scene in Scotland.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said: “Scots Gaelic plays a central role in our country’s cultural life and we are committed to ensuring this continues. Showcase Scotland provides a platform for Gaelic art forms including music and song.

“Gaelic music has attracted a global audience. Artists such as Julie Fowlis and Run Rig and arts events such as Fèis Rois have raised the profile of the language, and introduced many people to Gaelic’s rich heritage.”


Notes to Editors

Showcase Scotland aims to secure overseas touring contracts and record deals for Scottish based artists by providing invaluable opportunities for musicians to perform in front of international promoters, record labels and agents.   Organised by Active Events on behalf of Celtic Connections the event will Scotland’s dynamic music scene to delegates from as far afield as Australia, Brazil and Ethiopia. For further information please visit: www.celticconnections.com/Pages/ShowcaseScotland.aspx

For 45 years, the Festival Interceltique de Lorient (LIF) in Brittany, France (4 – 13 August 2017) has attracted some 700,000 festival-goers every summer to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of contemporary Celtic culture. In 1996, the European Commission ranked the LIF amongst the most important European festivals. The LIF has become a key actor in Breton and Celtic culture. The Lorient Interceltic Festival is first and foremost a ‘human adventure’, where intercultural exchange is a priority. The largest gathering of Celtic cultures (and France’s biggest festival), down through the years the LIF has successfully created a concept that goes beyond borders and national or regional identities. Although the Festival is a predominantly musical event, echoing the dynamism and open-mindedness of Celtic cultures it also features dance, literature, the visual arts, cinema, history, etc. For further information please visit: http://tmw.ee/about

Rudolstadt Festival (6 – 9 July 2017) is Germany’s foremost festival of roots, folk and world music. Held in the central region of Thuringia, it’s also one of the top world music festivals in Europe. The Festival dates back to 1955, when the 1st Festival of German Folkdance was organised in Rudolstadt. It evolved into an East German celebration of folk dance with strong East European participation. Following German reunification, in 1991 the festival was relaunched with a completely new concept. Initially a forum for the traditional folk scene designed to bring Germans from east and west closer together, TFF rapidly grew into a world music festival of international renown. It takes place annually from the first Thursday in July until the following Sunday and attracts up to 25,000 people daily.Every year, over 20 stages and podiums at the festival host around 300 concerts as well as workshops and discussions. All in all, performances are given by more than 130 bands from over 30 countries. For further information please visit: https://rudolstadt-festival.de/en/start.html

Celtic Connections is one of the leading annual festivals of world, folk and roots music the festival. Running from Thursday 19 January – Sunday 5 February 2,100 musicians from across the globe perform in 300 events at venues throughout Glasgow, Scotland, for Celtic Connections 2017.  Celtic Connections is promoted by Glasgow Life. Glasgow Life and its service brands (found at www.glasgowlife.org.uk) are operating names of Culture and Sport Glasgow ("CSG").  CSG is a company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland with company number SC313851 and having its registered office at 220 High Street, Glasgow G4 0QW.  CSG is registered as a charity with the office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (No SC037844).

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.  We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com.  Follow us @creativescots and www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland

Active Events is a contemporary folk and roots music agency based in Glasgow, Scotland.  Active Events have been trading since 1990. Based in Glasgow the company celebrate 25 years in business this year.  The music agency represent artists internationally and organise tours in the UK, Europe, Canada and Australia. We pride ourselves on retaining close contact with our artists and being central to their live career management. Active currently produce and manage Showcase Scotland at Celtic Connections which is Scotland’s leading international music industry gathering. For further information please visit: www.activeevents.org.uk

Tide Lines are a four piece band from Scotland who are heavily influenced by the traditional music of the West Highlands and Islands, but whose highly eclectic sound is driven by acoustic and electric guitars, with drums and keyboards. Their first single, “Far Side of the World”, entered the UK download charts ahead of popular tracks by Coldplay and Beyonce, as well as Adele’s “Hello”, less than 24 hours after the band was launched on social media in June 2016. Tide Lines consists of Robert Robertson from Lochaber, Ross Wilson from the island of Mull, Alasdair Turner from Alness, and Fergus Munro from Glasgow. For further information please visit: www.tidelinesband.com

'Hò-rò' is a phrase used as a movement in playing music before the development of written music; a form of "Canntaireachd". Hailing from the Scottish Highlands, Hò-rò have quickly become ones to watch on the Scottish music scene. Their unique energetic tune arrangements and vibrant stage presence have had people dancing in venues across Scotland. 2014 saw the band winning a Danny Kyle award at Celtic Connections and at the Hebridean Celtic Festival, since then they have taken off and performed at festivals across Scotland and Europe. For further information please visit: www.musichoro.com

WHɎTE is a collaboration between electronic composer and musician, Ross Whyte and Gaelic singer-songwriter, Alasdair Whyte.  The collaboration began as a commission by the organisation Ceòl 's Craic to bring together artists from the fields of electronic and traditional music for a live performance.  Taking inspiration from Alasdair’s research interest in 17th- and 18th- century Gaelic song and poetry, the duo began working on new ambient electronic arrangements of several rarely-heard songs as well as original compositions.  Their music has drawn comparisons with Sigur Rós and Martyn Bennett. Following several successful live performances throughout Scotland and radio play on BBC Radio Scotland’s ‘Travelling Folk’, WHɎTE’s debut release was recorded in the late summer of this year at the University of Aberdeen and in a cave beneath Dunnottar Castle.  The success of the Ceòl 's Craic event was followed with subsequent performances, including a slot at the Scottish Storytelling Centre for TradFest, Edinburgh.  This led to an excerpt of that performance being aired on BBC Radio Scotland’s ‘Travelling Folk’ on 15 May 2016. For further infomation please visit: www.whytenoise.co.uk