They will visit the county to perform just one concert – in Stromness’ Town Hall on Saturday, September 12 – as part of a 13-date UK tour. Tickets for the gig will go on sale this Saturday, August 15.
The Glasgow and Edinburgh based five-piece last visited Orkney three years ago, for the 30th anniversary Orkney Folk Festival. Since then they have become a must-see live act and, according to leading world music magazine, Songlines; “one of the most exciting bands on the Scottish folk scene”, appearing at festivals and venues the length and breadth of the country.
Support on the evening will be provided by award-winning local duo, Gnoss – Graham Rorie and Aidan Moodie – who are both students of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, in Glasgow.
RURA’s appearance in Orkney has come about through their Orcadian manager, Craig Corse – and prompted by the sell-out success of two gigs with Blazin’ Fiddles, who are also on his roster, next week. He said: “I’m delighted to be bringing RURA to Orkney in a few weeks’ time – it’s going to be a great night.
“The band has had a fantastic year, everyone’s talking about them – from the folk glossies and national press, to festival directors bowled over by how much sound just five guys can make, to unsuspecting audiences who have never heard of them before and then find themselves jumping around like a nutter in a rammed tent. They are genuinely a fantastic act, very much carving out their own path in the well-trodden folk scene – and I can’t wait to bring them back.”
The band’s second album, Despite the Dark was released in April this year to unanimous critical acclaim – including a handful of five-star reviews – and since then, the guys have barely stopped to catch their breath.
Highlights over the last six months include: a three week Canadian tour, including the prestigious closing set of the Winnipeg Folk Festival; the two main stages of the Cambridge Folk Festival – where they sold the most CDs of any artistes (a line-up featuring, amongst many others, The Proclaimers, Joan Baez and Passenger); festivals throughout Europe, including flying visits to Malta, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, as well as the more mainstream Belladrum; and a month-long April tour supporting their CD’s release – a run which culminated at the Shetland Folk Festival.
Such wide-ranging demand comes from a powerhouse mix of Highland pipes, whistle, fiddle, guitar, bodhran and flute, provided by Steven Blake, Jack Smedley, David Foley and Adam Brown, matching singer/songwriter Adam Holmes’ haunting songcraft. With the addition of effects pedals, the quintet far transcends the conventional boundaries of “folk” music – and to evidently winning effect.
“I’ve wanted to bring them up for a few years now,” Craig explained, “but with five in the band plus an engineer, van hire, accommodation etc, the costs quickly rack up. It was a fairly substantial risk to commit to bringing Blazin’ Fiddles up, but the speed at which both their gigs – totalling well over 400 tickets – sold out was unbelievable, and so we’ve been encouraged to include Orkney on this run.
“In one way or another the guys have ended up visiting each other’s home areas this year, and it was actually them as much as me that wanted to come north – so that I could be included in that as well. No pressure, then…!”
He continued: “They went down a storm at the folk festival a few years back, and so where better to return to than the Stromness Town Hall? I’ve every faith in the Orkney folkies giving them a cracking night once again. They have loads more coming up, this year and well into 2016, that we can’t yet reveal – this is a band, and night, not to be missed.”
RURA’s guitarist, Adam Brown said: “We’re all really pleased to be coming back to Orkney – and not just to keep the manager happy! I’ve actually visited a few times, with different bands, and there’s something very special about audiences there that makes you want to come back – a genuine warmth and enthusiasm, that makes you feel really welcome. There’s also a great sense of pride in what’s going on locally, and so we’re looking forward to having the Gnoss lads opening the night.”
Gnoss’ fiddle and mandolin player, Graham Rorie added: “We’re very much looking forward to supporting RURA in Orkney. We see them around in Glasgow a lot, the last time being when they played a blinder at their packed out album launch earlier this year – it was some night. Orcadians should expect nothing less here; a guaranteed great night in store!
RURA’s performance in Orkney has been made possible through sponsorship from The Orcadian. Craig added: “I’d like to thank Leah, Mervyn and everyone at The Orcadian that has helped to make the night possible. I’ve always found the paper to be hugely supportive of live music in the county, and so to have the team involved in bringing one of this year’s must-see bands is fantastic – and genuinely invaluable. It wouldn’t work without them.”
Tickets for RURA’s concert in the Stromness Town Hall go on sale this Saturday, August 15. They will be available from JB Rosey and Grooves, or online, at www.eventbrite.com – while stocks last.