Piping's a Blast at Opening of Blas!

08 September 2011

Piping's a Blast at Opening of Blas!

An extravaganza of piping and much more besides is guaranteed when Blas 2011 takes over Eden Court Empire on Saturday, September 10th on the opening weekend of the festival.
Blas 2011 organisers have assembled a huge a huge variety of top-class performers, enabling them to further enhance the reputation of what has become a notable fixture in every festival-goers' calendar.
In "Celebrating the Regal pipe", Blas 2011 has assembled a stellar cast of top-class pipers with two of the MacDonald brothers of Glenuig, Allan and Dr Angus, in their own inimitable style, leading the charge with panache. Their supporting cast features Mairearad Green, Seudan and the prodigious talents of Oban High School Pipe Band, who were crowned World Junior Champions in 2011. No surprise there then as their tutor is none other than one of the world's best himself, Angus McColl, Silver Chanter winner and no stranger to Eden Court and championship piping having yet again annexed the prestigious Clasp at the most recent Northern Meetings at the start of the month.
Blas 2011 is a key part of the Year of Scotland's Islands initiative and on the opening evening, Friday September 9th, will feature a new commission - Heisgeir - from Gaelic singing sensation Julie Fowlis in the Phipps Hall, Beauly, as well as a series of Islands Cèilidhs featuring some of our best-loved Gaelic singers performing in village halls across the Highlands. "Heisgeir" will open Blas 2011 in the Phipps Hall, Beauly, on Friday 9th September. Thereafter Julie and Co will move to Torridon Community Hall on Saturday 10th, Dornoch Cathedral on Sunday 11th and St Mary & St Finnan's Church in Glenfinnan on Monday 11th.

Lochaber's opening Friday night will feature a real Highland Cèilidh in Roybridge with the Glenfinnan Cèilidh Band - Iain MacFarlane, Ingrid Henderson, Dougie Hunter and Colm Ó Rua - along with young Gaelic singer Robert Roberston and a group from the local Fèis Lochabair.

The Seedboat will sail into Strontian on Saturday 10th.  "Bàta an t-Sìl" will feature Gaelic singer Maggie MacInnes from Barra and Colum Sands from Ireland in a show recounting the amazing story of a vessel that used to ply between Ireland and Scotland. Joining them at Àrainn Shuaineirt will be the Glenfinnan Cèilidh Band and Fèis Lochabair.

The Blas "House Band", The Outside Track, will kick off in Ullapool on Friday 9th where Fèis Rois will join them. Featuring Mairi Rankin from Mabou in Cape Breton on fiddle, vocals and step-dance; Canadian Traditional Singer of the Year nominee Norah Rendell on vocals, flute and whistle; BBC Young Trad Finalist Ailie Robertson on harp and step-dance; BBC Fame Academy Winner Fiona Black on accordion; and Cillian Ó Dalaigh of Trazz on guitar, vocals and step-dance, the band will be busy throughout the time of Blas. They will also be appearing in Portree, Invergarry, Ballachulish, Portmahomack and Poolewe.

Increased ticket sales are setting organisers up for one of the busiest festivals ever and one of the festival's annual success stories where a limited number of tickets are still available is "The Highland Voyage", set on the famous Jacobite Queen, which has as its regular route the dramatic setting of Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle. The voyage and monstrous party which ensues is a wonderful evening's entertainment with a Para Handy theme. Devised and performed by Allan MacDonald from Glenuig with guests Ian Macleod and Russell Hunter, the annual cruise down Loch Ness on Friday September 9th, with an appropriate level of culinary excellence provided by The Red Poppy, is always a must-have ticket for Blas aficionados.
Only 40 tickets are available for the cruise in total and should be purchased as soon as possible.  Allan has written a new piece of music especially for the evening entitled, "The Jacobite Queen" which will have its first airing on the cruise.
This year's Blas festival will deliver nearly 100 cultural events between the 9th and 17th of September in venues across the Highlands ranging from community halls to Inverness Airport, The Jacobite Queen cruise boat and Eden Court Theatre. 
Traditional music as well as Gaelic language and song are the bedrock of the festival and, for the first time, Blas will also have a strand featuring Gaelic writers, organised in collaboration with Comhairle nan Leabhraichean - the Gaelic Books Council.
The full programme and information about several ways in which to buy tickets is available from the festival website http://www.blas-festival.com.


Scotland’s Islands - the events, exhibitions and activities happening all year round.

We list every event we hear of, large and small, taking place on the islands of Scotland or taking place elsewhere and relating to Scotland's Islands. They provide a unique opportunity to savour the diversity and excitement of island life. Check our our facebook page for general updates too - http://www.facebook.com/ScotlandsIslands.  

There has never been a better time for you to visit Scotland's Islands, to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and unspoilt beaches, to get close to dramatic wild-life, learn about our heritage, participate in a great range of activities, and enjoy our music, food and drink.

All this on some of our 99 inhabited islands large and small (and many more uninhabited) accessible by sea and air in six regions: Argyll & Bute, Highland, North Ayrshire, Orkney, Outer Hebrides and Shetland.



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