Excitement is rapidly mounting

​Rehearsals are well under way and excitement rapidly mounting ahead of Saturday’s epic Bothy Culture and Beyond show at the Hydro, the second project to feature the GRIT Orchestra, here playing Martyn Bennett’s second album, after their unforgettable debut opening Celtic Connections 2015. Work is also reportedly in progress constructing a scaled-down replica of Skye’s Black Cuillin Ridge as part of the stage set, for special-guest stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill to revisit the death-defying exploits captured in his massive YouTube hit The Ridge, which was set to Bennett’s music. It was thus welcome news when MacAskill tweeted yesterday – after breaking his kneecap in a fall last November – that thanks to weeks of intensive rehab, he was back on the bike: “A bit shoogly but getting there!”
With fellow Skye natives Niteworks already scheduled to warm up the Hydro crowd before the orchestra take the stage, it’s just been announced that they’ll now be joined by the young Gaelic song super-trio Sian, comprising Eilidh Cormack, Ellen MacDonald and Ceitlin LR Smith. (Don’t say we’re not good to you.)
Also announced today were another four FREE performances by an array of top Celtic artists, on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, at Saint Luke’s & The Winged Ox, being filmed by BBC Northern Ireland for their music series Trad Ar Fad. Tickets should be booked in advance through the links below. Tuesday afternoon’s event features Lau, Aoife Scott and Snuffbox (… ), while Declan O'Rourke, Megan Nic Ruairí and 2018’s newly-crowned Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year perform that evening (… ). On Wednesday, Méabh & Tiarnán, Ímar and Cara Dillon are up first (…), followed later by Moxie, Daoirí Farrell and Brighde Chaimbeul & Jamie Murphy (…)
Looking ahead to another Tuesday highlight, the Dick Gaughan Benefit Concert at the Fruitmarket features a growing line-up of very special guests, now including Dougie MacLean, Karine Polwart, Martin Simpson, The Bevvy Sisters, The Wilson Family, Patsy Seddon and Mary Macmaster (Sileas), with compére Elaine C Smith and a the dream-team house band of Stuart Nisbet, Andy May, Nico Bruce and Jim McDermott.
Talking of Mr MacLean, he was positively basking in satisfaction after his sold-out solo show in the main auditorium last night, but nonetheless seemed to be yearning for simpler things, gauging by his overheard musings to a fellow musician at the bar. “I think we should all go back to playing wee local village halls, like at Hogmanay and stuff,” he opined. “I don’t think folk musicians should be setting out to have careers.” But where would that leave all your fans, Dougie?