News

Blazin’ Fiddles heading to Orkney!

 

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.

Association of Festival Organisers (AFO)

We’re heading to the AFO conference tomorrow – come say hello!

This year the conference has moved to Ettington Chase, just outside Stratford upon Avon, for two days of seminars, discussions, networking, and – where we come in – trade stands.

If you’re about hands, come say hello – or for more info: http://www.festivalorganisers.org/

The Poozies still have The Voice, as they embark on UK tour

“Britain’s premier Celtic roots, all woman super-group” (FRUK), The Poozies are returning to UK stages this month – their first tour since founder member Sally Barker’s success on BBC1’s The Voice UK.

Having won her way to the final of the primetime competition – and into the hearts of the general public, and a certain Sir Tom Jones – Sally remains the lead vocalist and guitar player in the band that she co-founded over 20 years ago.

The Poozies burst on the folk scene in the early 1990s, turning heads as they crossed the genre with pop, rock, soul and many other varying influences. It is this winning formula that has seen them stand the test of time; remaining one of the most exciting and pioneering live acts on the scene.

Since The Voice, the band – also featuring fellow co-founder Mary Macmaster, and Eilidh Shaw and Mairearad Green – has been working on their upcoming album, to be released in 2015. Many of the tracks will be included in their live sets – offering audiences the first chance to hear their new material, before the CD release.

The four-strong group have also played a handful of summer festivals this year, however the November tour is their first concentrated run back together.

Looking ahead to the dates, Sally said: “I can’t wait to get back on the road with The Poozies. I loved being on The Voice, and was gob-smacked when Universal offered me a record deal afterwards, but the terms meant that I wouldn’t have been able to tour or record with The Poozies – so I declined, and opted to stay with the girls. With the new album coming out in the spring, we’ve exciting times ahead!”

The Poozies’ tour kicks off in Kendal, at the Brewery Arts Centre, on Thursday 13th November, followed by The Tolbooth in Stirling on Friday 14th and then Peebles’ Eastgate Theatre on Saturday 15th.

The following week they play Sally’s hometown of Leicester, on Monday 17th, at The Musician, then move on to mac in Birmingham on Tuesday 18th, before heading south to Bridport Arts Centre (20th), The Spring in Havant (21st) and Newbury’s Arlington Arts Centre (22nd). The tour concludes on Sunday 23rd, at the Sage Gateshead.

Highly regarded as masters of intricate arrangements – and boasting a powerful combination of rhythmic, punching acoustic guitar, the growling electro-harp, dexterous fiddle and accordion, and spine-tingling songs in four-part harmony – The Poozies draw material not only from a multitude of genres; their own compositions, the rich vein of traditional Scottish Gaelic culture, contemporary folk and pop, and, in their words, “any enticing genre”.

Whilst Sally has played a number of summer dates opening for Sir Tom Jones – her mentor on The Voice¬ – as well as touring as a solo artist, her back catalogue features tours with Robert Plant and Bob Dylan. Of her band mates; Edinburgh-based Mary Macmaster has appeared with Sting, Eliza Carthy and June Tabor, amongst many others, whilst younger members Mairearad Green, from Achiltibuie, and Eilidh Shaw, from Taynuilt, boast a back catalogue including Tony Christie, Karen Matheson, Eddi Reader and Karine Polwart.

Reflecting on the band’s current position, Eilidh said: “Although the band has been going for a long time, everything feels really fresh, and something very exciting is happening – like we are on the crest of a wave on the sparkly sea!”

ENDS

For further information, images, or to arrange an interview with any member of the band, please contact:

Craig Corse, TwentyTwo Promotions
craig@twentytwopromotions.com – 0777 555 6813

Full listings:
13 November (Thursday) – Kendal, Brewery Arts Centre – www.breweryarts.co.uk / 01539 725 133
14 November (Friday) – Stirling, Tolbooth – tolbooth.stirling.gov.uk / 01786 274 000
15 November (Saturday) – Peebles, Eastgate Theatre – www.eastgatearts.com / 01721 725 777
17 November (Monday) – Leicester, The Musician – www.themusicianpub.co.uk / 0116 251 0080
18 November (Tuesday) – Birmingham, mac – www.macbirmingham.co.uk / 0121 446 3232
20 November (Thursday) – Bridport, Arts Centre – www.bridport-arts.com / 01308 424 204
21 November (Friday) – Havant, The Spring – www.thespring.co.uk / 023 9247 2700
22 November (Saturday) – Newbury, Arlington Arts Centre – www.arlingtonarts.co.uk / 01635 244 246
23 November (Sunday) – Gateshead, Sage Gateshead – www.sagegateshead.com / 0191 443 4661

WOMEX

October’s been a fairly mental month – as well as a hop over to Canada, we’ve just returned from WOMEX, the World Music Expo, which, this year, was in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia.

RURA had been invited by Creative Scotland and the British Council to showcase on the offWOMEX stage – a slot they absolutely nailed – and so Agent Craig had to duly follow. Tough break…

Over just two and a half days at the conference, we met loads of new festivals, promoters and artistes, from around the world – leading to many interesting, and potentially very exciting conversations. We’re still working our way through the contacts and information to hand – with Cape Breton’s last and Galicia’s first flights just 39 hours apart, there’s a wee bit of a backlog…

Celtic Colours

Craig (Agent Craig) is over in Cape Breton, at the fantastic Celtic Colours festival.

The 10-day event is very similar to the Orkney and Shetland Folk Festivals at home, in that events are spread out throughout the Island – often with in excess of an hour’s drive from the central Baddeck/St Ann’s base. Also local, Cape Breton music is very much at the heart of the programme – alongside the national or international artists that have travelled from afar.

Craig’s staying at the Silver Dart Lodge in Baddeck, until Sunday 19th – if you’re around, be sure to say hi. Email craig@twentytwopromotions.com, or tweet @TwentyTwoPromo

New website!

Hello, and welcome to the new TwentyTwo Promotions website!

We’ve redesigned the site from the inside out; it hosts roughly the same features as before – tour dates, availabilities, artiste biographies, clips, samples – alongside new sections on TTP projects, outside the agency.

Crucially, though, as well as a nice shiny new look, the crux of the redesign was making it more friendly on the inside, to update. Therefore, yearlong waits for news – which certainly haven’t been through having nothing to say! – are now a thing of the past.

There will still be a few tweaks here and there, but, for now, come away in…