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Blas Festival Brings Some Great Music To Caithness

1st September 2008

Photograph of Blas Festival Brings Some Great Music To Caithness

Blas Festival - Caithness Events
Friday 5th September 2008
Fred Morrison and Friends
Leading the line up is phenomenal piper and whistle player, Fred Morrison who has carved himself an international reputation with a powerfully exuberant, highly improvisational style which combines the Gaelic piping tradition of the Uists with contemporary and eclectic influences. The evening is being promoted by the local branch of An Comunn Gidhealach in the run up to the 2010 Royal National Mod and will also feature a number of local artists.
MacKay's Hotel, Wick

Wednesday 10th September 2008
Chasing the Sun by James Ross
James Ross | Mr MacFall's Chamber | Fraser Fifield
The Blas Festival is proud to present the world premiere of this new commission by Wick born musician and composer, James Ross. This follows on from a successful "New Voices" commission at Celtic Connections and debut CD in 2006. The commission will feature new music, reflecting the Highland landscape throughout the course of a year, supported by stunning photography by Catriona Murray. James will be joined by the superb string quartet, Mr McFall's Chamber and highly talented and sought after musician and composer, Fraser Fifield.
This event is supported by the Scottish Arts Council.
Assembly Rooms, Wick

Saturday 13th September 2008
This stunning show is a journey through the story of North West Sutherland, using music, song, poetry and visuals. Featuring the talents of Mod gold medallist, James Graham, fiddler Rhona Sutherland, pianist James Ross, multi-instrumentalist and singer Catriona MacLeod and piper / accordionist Carol-Anne MacKay from Dchas, this promises to be an unforgettable show.
Mill Theatre, Thurso

For events in other parts of Highland see Blas Festival Web Site

The Blas festival will host an array of home grown and internationally-renowned musicians from 5th- 13th September. One of its most unusual events will be a one man show in a Cessna supplied and piloted by the Highland Flying School. The festival is running a competition for one person to fly over the Highlands whilst enjoying a potted history of music in the area from renowned fiddler, Bruce MacGregor. He will even play a few Highland tunes in this highest ever Blas show.

There are a number of even more important attractions throughout the 2008 programme which bolsters the festival's commitment to Gaelic and the links with Cape Breton. They include a concert by Ireland's kings of traditional music, The Chieftains. The six time Grammy Award winners will be led by legendary frontman Paddy Moloney. They will be joined by several guests on stage, including the Canadian acrobatic dancing team of brothers, Jon and Nathan Pilatzke.

Others performing at Blas include Phil Cunningham, widely regarded as one of the most innovative accordion players ever to play, and Aly Bain, known as a supreme traditional style fiddler. Also appearing is multi-instrumentalist and stunning singer/songwriter JP Cormier from Cape Breton, who will be accompanied on piano by his wife Hilda Chiasson-Cormier.

Further highlights include top Irish-American group Cherish the Ladies and Scottish talent The Peatbog Faeries, Julie Fowlis, Alyth and Shooglenifty.

Festival Director Donna MacRae said: "Blas is Gaelic for 'taste' or 'savour' and this year's festival really is quite mouthwatering. It's only our fourth year but we will be delivering a programme of music, Gaelic, food and workshop events that really strengthen our contribution to the region's cultural identity.

"Blas celebrates the Highlands, giving communities the chance to enjoy live music. It also provides young musicians, primarily from the Fis movement, with the opportunity to learn from stars in traditional music. To really get the festival off to a great start we will be offering a really unique competition. We will be giving away 45 pairs of tickets, a pair for each and every one of our shows and one of those winners will ultimately win the Cessna trip. We want to show just how different and authentic Highland culture is. With this programme and our competitions we're doing just that."

The Blas festival was devised by The Highland Council in partnership with Fisean nan Gidheal and the Promoters Arts Network. Convener of The Highland Council, Sandy Park said: "In just a few short years, Blas has grown into one of the Highlands' premiere events, presenting superb programmes, firmly rooted in Highland Communities. Highland Council very much values the contribution Blas makes to the region's cultural identity in terms of economic and social impacts, its investment in young people, and its sharing and promotion of the Gaelic language. We are committed to supporting Blas to continue celebrating the Highlands."

Blas Festival Web Site

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