MATRIMONIAL BLISS FOR BLAS 2012 EIGHTSOME

click to go to the Blas website

Only if Usain Bolt himself were appearing at the 2012 Blas festival would there be a greater demand for tickets. As the time for the Highlands’ cultural Olympics approaches, with only a week to go until the launch of this year’s festival, including the Highland wedding of the year, a taste of the Highlands awaits.

Innovation, imagination and inspiration, the hallmarks of any Blas Festival, will once again be to the fore as the eighth Highlands and Islands Gaelic arts extravaganza takes the north by storm. There is something for everything on all sorts of stages, platforms and venues the length and breadth of the area.

A number of new supporters have lined up to back the event which is now established as the premier event celebrating all that is good about the Gaelic language and culture of the Highlands in the year of creative culture.

Maeve McKinnon

Maeve McKinnon : Photo by Julie Broadfoot

Among the premier events featuring at Blas 2012, from September 7 to 15, are a wonderful new commission from Gaelic singer Margaret Stewart, a tribute to the late, great Calum Kennedy, a celebration of fiddle fury with Blazin’ Fiddles and Irish trio Fidil, a concert celebrating the voice with Dual, Coisir-G, singer Maeve MacKinnon and Senegalese singer Samba Sene, with further concerts featuring Breabach, Battlefield Band, Kirstan Harvey and the Sanna as well as Linda Macleod – amongst others!

This year renowned Gaelic singer, Margaret Stewart, has been chosen to explore the theme of ‘The Highland Wedding’, through the ages in a new commission which has been a feature of all Blas festivals. Margaret, who is currently the Gaelic Singer in Residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and a Gaelic Song specialist for the Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o’ Riches project, draws on her knowledge of the genre and include songs and music of love, loss and disappointment, flirtation, wooing, night-visiting, humour and dance.

The concerts will include the cream of Highland musicians including Iain MacFarlane (fiddle and button box), Ingrid Henderson (clàrsach), Allan Henderson (fiddle and piano) and Angus Nicolson (small pipes and Highland pipes). This is the wedding no-one wants to miss and rumours that the Minister officiating will have a shotgun are unconfirmed!

Tribute will be paid to one of Gaeldom’s most popular entertainers, Calum Kennedy, in a special celebration on the opening night of this year’s Blas festival at the magnificent Strathpeffer Pavilion, which is predictably going to be a sell-out. Hosted by Calum’s daughter Fiona Kennedy and Arthur Cormack, “Eilean Fraoich” will revive many memories of the internationally acclaimed and much missed singer. Joining the hosts will be James Graham, Darren Maclean and Kristine Kennedy, along with old friends and acquaintances gathering together in song, story and evocative imagery, to create a picture of the legendary Calum Kennedy – most often referred to in Gaelic as “An Ceanadach.”

Arthur Cormack, Chief Executive of Fèisean nan Gàidheal which delivers Blas, said: “Once again Blas is making its mark on the Highland cultural scene. The festival marks the start of a great period of cultural activity throughout the Highlands and beyond with the Northern Meeting piping competitions and festival dovetailing with our own festival setting everyone up for a the Royal National Mòd in Dunoon in a few weeks’ time. We expect the usual surge of demand for tickets in the final run-up to the festival and I would urge anyone who has not yet booked their tickets to do so as soon as possible, to avoid disappointment. Demand will be high for events such as the opening and closing nights, and to coin a sporting phrase from this summer, we require out audiences to pace themselves for something between a sprint and a marathon.”

Lochaber, which will be one of the Blas hot-spots during the cultural extravaganza which is Blas 2012, will see a Mabou makeover with a visit from the Gaelic speaking, pipe and fiddle wielding Mackenzie brothers from Mabou, Angus, Kenneth and Calum. They are setting toes tapping first of all in Roy Bridge on the opening night of the Festival Friday, September 7, along with the Fèis Lochabair Trailers, then Saturday evening in Sunart along with Kristan Harvey and the Sanna, at Mallaig in the West Highland Hotel on Tuesday September 11, and then they are off to Balblair.

Lochaber will also be lit up on Thursday 13th September when Girls allowed take over Invergarry Community Hall. Kristan Harvey and the Sanna are joined here by Catriona MacDonald’s new fiddle and mandola trio “Vamm“. Linda Macleod from North Uist brings some timeless traditional Gaelic singing to a quite superb line-up.

From Wick in the North and Scourie Village Hall to Plockton and Poolewe in the west; from Portmahomack to Portree and from Beauly to Badenoch and in between. The eight days at the beginning of September marking the eighth Blas festival will set feet tapping far and wide, with a stellar cast of the best of Gaelic and Highland music, song, and dance. Not forgetting that wedding of course! Consider yourselves invited!

Further information on the Blas programme is available from www.blas-festival.com

A Bhanais agus Blas 2012 air bhoil

Taobh-staigh seachdain, oidhche h-Aoine 7mh Sultain, bidh a’ Ghàidhealtachd air bhoil is Blas 2012 ga chur air bhog leis a’ Bhanais Ghàidhealach, oidhche air am bi a’ cheart uidhir de dh’fhèill ri tachartas sam bith am bliadhna, na h-Olympics ann no às.

Agus chan eil duine nach iarradh a bhith an làthair aig na cuirmean is tachartasan a bhios a’ lasadh chùisean air feadh na Gàidhealtachd fad seachdain. Tha misneachd, ùrachadh agus meacmeanmna air a bhith nan comharran air Fèisean Blas bhon thòisich iad agus anns an ochdamh iris, tha a’ cheart uidhir de thoileachas agus tarraing air a’ chlàr.

Tha grunn bhuidhnean air taic ùr a thoirt dhan Fhèis airson a’ chiad turas agus tha sin cuideachd na chomharradh air inbhe na Fèise mar phrìomh thachartas Gàidhlig air feadh na Gàidhealtachd. Tha prìomh thàlantan saoghal ciùil is seinn na Gàidhlig a-rithist gu bhith an làthair, agus coimisean ùr.

Bidh Blas 2012 a’ tòiseachadh air Sultain 7 agus a’ dol air adhart gu Sultain 15. A-measg na th’ air a’ chlàr am bliadhna tha coimisean ùr bhon bhana-sheinneadair Mairead Stiùbhart, cuimhneachan air an t-sàr sheinneadair Calum Ceanadach, an ceòl a’ dol feadh na fìdhle còmhla ri Blazin’ Fiddles agus an triùir Eireannach Fidil, cuirm le sàr ghuthan Dual, Maeve NicFhionghain agus a’ bhana-sheinneadair à Sengal Samba Sene, agus a bharrachd air sin cuirmean gun chrìch an cuideachd Breabach, Còmhlan Battlefield, Kristan Harvey agus an Sanna, agus Linda NicLeòid, agus gu leòr eile a bharrachd orra-san.

Thuirt Stiùiriche Fèisean nan Gàidheal, a tha a’ frithealadh na Fèise, Art MacCarmaig: “Mar as àbhiast tha fèill mhòr air tiocaidean airson cuid de na tachartasan again gu sònraichte, agus gu seachd àraidh oidhche na bainnse agus oidhche mhòr a’ Cheanadaich. Mholainn do dhuine sam bith nach do chuir cùisean air dòigh aig an ìre seo, sin a dhèanamh an cabhaig mas bi briseadh dùil romhpa. Tha sinn deiseil is deònach lasair a chur ri Fèis eile a tha mi cinnteach a bheir toileachas do mhòran air feadh na Gàidhealtachd. Tha clàr againn a tha tarraingeach agus inntinneach agus le deagh roghainn de thàlantan bho air feadh an t-saoghail. Nam measg tha òigirdh nam Fèisean fhèin, a chumas ceann a’ mhaide ri duine sam bith nuair a thig e gu bhith a’ seinn agus a’ dannsa agus ri ceòl. Tha mi air leth toilichte gu bheil Fèis na bliadhna seo a’ comharrachadh Bliadhna Chruthachail na h-Alba le bhith a’ fastadh coimisean ùr, agus bidh sinn an dòchas gur e sin pòsadh a mhaireas.

Tha e na chleachdadh aig Fèisean Blas gum bi coimisean ùr ann gach bliadhna. An turas seo, tha a’ bhana-sheinneadair ainmeil Maighread Stiùibhart, gu bhith a’ rannsachadh “A Bhanais Ghàidhealach” thar linntean. Tha Maighread an dràsta air a fastadh aig Sabhal Mòr Ostaig mar Sgrìobhaiche agus na h-eòlaiche air òrain Ghàidhlig aig a’ phròiseact Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o’ Riches, agus bidh i a’ tarraing air a cuid eòlais anns gach raon sin eadar òrain, ceòl, cleachdaidhean, suirghe, dannsa agus briseadh cridhe. A-measg na bhios an làthair aig na cuirmean bidh cuid de shàr-luchd-ciùil na Gàidhealtachd eadar Iain MacPhàrlain (fidheall agus bocsa), Ingrid MacEanruig (clàrsach), Ailean MacEanraig (fidheall is paino) agus Aonghas MacNeacail air a’ phìob (beag is mòr!).

‘S i Donna NicRath a tha a’ stiùireadh na Fèise. Thuirt ise: “Tha Blas a-rithist gu bhith a’ tairgse clàr de thachartas aig sàr-ìre air feadh na Gàidhealtachd agus a bharrachd air na cuirmean mòra, tha sinn air a bhith ag obair còmhla ri buidhnean eile airson Prògram nan Sgoiltean agus Coimhearsnachdan a leudachadh. Bidh sin a’ gabhail a-staigh fiolmaichean Gàidhlig, Cuairt nam Bàrd, cearcaill còmhraidh Gàidhlig, cuairtean coille, ceilidheadh taighe, tachartasan sgoile agus gu leòr a bharrachd.”

Tha luchd-stiùiridh na Fèise toilichte gu bheil iad air luchd-taic ùra fhaighinn, a’ togail air mar a shoirbhich leis an Fhèis an uiridh. Tha RBS agus Business Gateway le chèile air taic aontachadh airson a’ chiad turas. Agus tha taic ann a-rithist bho Chomhairle na Gàidhealtachd, Iomart na Gàidhealtachd is nan Eilean, Bòrd na Gàidhlig agus Alba Chruthachail.

Tuilleadh fiosrachaidh mu phrògram Bhlas bho www.blas-festival.com

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