One of Scotland’s top folk bands, Blazin’ Fiddles, are set to play two dates in Orkney this August, as part of their annual Scottish tour
The band now features Orkney’s own Kristan Harvey, from Birsay, and, despite a number of hugely successful and popular Orkney Folk Festival appearances, over the band’s 15-year history, this is the first time that the group will visit the county out with the event.
They will play in the Birsay Community Centre – Kristan’s local hall – on Thursday, August 20, followed by the King Street Halls, in Kirkwall, on Friday 21st.
The stage will be opened on both nights by Orcadian duo, Saltfishforty – aka Brian Cromarty and Douglas Montgomery – hot off the back of their own summer touring.
Whether playing London’s Royal Albert Hall, or the Tankerness Hall (as went down a storm during their 2013 Orkney Folk Festival visit), Blazin’ Fiddles never fail to set the hearts of their audiences alight. Whilst many have tried, no other band in recent history has quite managed to capture the same excitement, passion and sensitivity of Scottish music all at once, as Blazin’ Fiddles.
With a ‘Blazers’ performance comes the rare opportunity to hear the regional expressions and individual style from each fiddler – Inverness’ Bruce MacGregor, Shetlander Jenna Reid, and Nairn’s Ruairidh Macmillan, alongside Orcadian Kristan – in a blend of ensemble and solo sets. True to their name, fiddles and bows come ablaze, atop guitar and piano from Anna Massie and Angus Lyon, respectively, delivering a musically intoxicating and inspiring evening for all.
Looking ahead to her first visit home, with the band, Kristan said: “Every time I look at Blazin’ Fiddles’ tour dates and I get to ’20th August – The Birsay Hall’ it puts a great big smile on my face. It’s a pleasure to play anywhere with the Blazers, but this one will be just a bit special for me! I had my first shot at performing in the new hall in Birsay at the folk festival last year and it was a brilliant night, so I’m very much looking forward to bringing Blazin’ Fiddles to the hall, and home to Birsay! To get a second night’s concert at the King Street Halls is just great and I’m very excited about the whole thing, I must say!”
Bruce MacGregor, a founding member of the band, added: “Orkney has a special place in the Blazin’ Fiddles history. We’ve had some monumental shows over the years, and the folk festival has given us so many great stories and memories. Okay, some of them are a wee bit hazy! I can’t wait to do some full Blazin’ Fiddles shows up there with this new line up. I’m sure people will be blown away by the young talent in the band now.”
Whilst travelling to concert venues and festivals throughout the UK, Saltfishforty have crossed paths with Blazin’ Fiddles on a number of occasions, including tutoring at the band’s residential October school, Blazin’ in Beauly. As such, both acts are already well known to each other, ensuring two memorable evenings ahead. Saltfishforty’s focus on Orkney music takes in traditional, contemporary and original material, boldly crossed with influences from Americana to East European folk, plus a high-octane whiff of heavy metal. The result is a sound of raw attack and multi-dimensional richness – and one which will no doubt ensure that audiences are well and truly fired up.
These two concerts have come about through a further local connection – Blazin’ Fiddles recently signing to the roster of Glasgow based, Orcadian folk agent, Craig Corse, of TwentyTwo Promotions.
Craig said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be bringing Scotland’s top folk band to Orkney again, and to be hosting their first dates here outside the folk festival. One of the first things I noticed, when taking them on, was that their annual Scottish run had never seen them come across the Pentland Firth. With Kristan now part of the four-fiddle frontline, and myself as agent, it seemed an ideal opportunity – and with dates either side allowing the loop up and back down the A9, everything seemed to fit in place. Also to have Brian and Douglas available, and up for both nights, is fantastic – they are going to be absolutely cracking gigs.”
Tickets for Blazin’ Fiddles performances will go on sale next Saturday, May 30. Tickets for Birsay can be bought in the Dounby Co-op, whilst those for Kirkwall will be available from Grooves. Both can also be bought online, at www.eventbrite.com. For more information on the dates, head to www.twentytwopromotions.com, or find out more about the band themselves at www.blazinfiddles.com.
Blazin’ Fiddles performances in Orkney have been made possible through sponsorship from The Orcadian.