News

Caledonia’s Dougie MacLean to perform at 2018 festival

“Scotland’s pre-eminent singer-songwriter and a national musical treasure” (SingOut USA), Dougie MacLean will return to the Orkney Folk Festival in May 2018.

Originally famed for writing the much-loved anthem, Caledonia – MacLean has, over his 40-year career, developed a unique blend of lyrical, roots based songwriting and instrumental composition.

He has built a phenomenal international reputation as songwriter, composer and extraordinary performer, which has led to concerts and festivals all over the world, whilst his performance during the Closing Ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (alongside Kylie Minogue and Lulu) was viewed by a television audience of over a billion people worldwide.

MacLean’s songs have been covered by hosts of diverse artists, including Paolo Nutini, Amy MacDonald, Ronan Keating, Mary Black, Frankie Miller and Kathy Mattea. His breakout song, Caledonia – from his 1978 debut album, has become one of Scotland’s most popular contemporary songs, whilst his instrumental music has been widely used throughout TV and film – including the soundtracks of Last of the Mohicans and T2 Transpottingng.

Across his career, he has received numerous gold discs for album sales, two prestigious Tartan Clef Awards, a place in the Scottish Music Hall...

Six of the world’s finest fiddlers, String Sisters heading to O.F.F. 2018

Featuring six of the world’s top fiddlers, from Shetland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and the USA, the phenomenal String Sisters will appear at the 2018 Orkney Folk Festival.

Joined by a peerless quartet of piano, guitar, bass and drums, the String Sisters blend Nordic and Celtic traditions into one glorious, enthralling sound. Formed at Celtic Connections in 1998 by Shetland fiddler Catriona Macdonald, the group are rarely seen live – but theirs are thrilling performances, and very special occasions.

The band combines the astounding collective talents of fiddlers Annbjørg Lien (Norway), Catriona Macdonald (Shetland), Emma Härdelin (Sweden), Liz Carroll (United States) – whose first visit to Orkney was just in 2015, where she appeared at the festival, exclusively, from Chicago – Liz Knowles (United States), Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh (Ireland), alongside Tore Bruvoll (Norway) on guitar, pianist Dave Milligan (Scotland), Conrad Molleson (Scotland) on bass and percussionist James Mackintosh (Scotland).

Following a barnstorming reunion in 2015 at the Celtic Colours International Festival, in Cape Breton, Canada, String Sisters played their only 2016 gig at Denmark’s legendary Tønder Festival. Their limited time together in 2017 was spent recording a new album – Between Wind and Water – which will be released through a handful of live dates in January 2018, including a return to...

Newfoundland’s The Once to appear in 2018

Multi-award winning indie folk trio, The Once, from Newfoundland, will appear at the 2018 Orkney Folk Festival

Renowned for haunting interpretations of traditional music and a thoughtful, playful assembly of songs, presented within a distinctly modern sound and artistic freedom, the union of lead vocalist Geraldine Hollett, and vocalist-instrumentalists Phil Churchill and Andrew Dale has collected a trio of Canadian Folk Music Awards, numerous ECMA awards, earned two JUNO nominations for best Roots/Traditional album, and were named Artist of the Year by the Newfoundland & Labrador Arts Council.

With their roots firmly in hand, The Once’s most recent release – 2016’s We Win Some We Lose – saw the trio enter a new era of creativity with a honed creative vision, having spent much of the preceding years in a whirlwind of worldwide touring and recording with English chart-topper Mike Rosenberg, aka Passenger – who they met entirely by chance, in Glasgow.

Throughout their extensive travels, however, the trio’s Newfoundland origins have remained at their very core. Not only does their moniker instigate conversations of home at every gig – “the once” is a common phrase within the Newfoundland vernacular, meaning imminently whilst...

Duncan Chisholm heading to Orkney Folk Festival 2018

Our first artist announced for the 2018 festival is the incomparable Duncan Chisholm.

One of the most accomplished and authentic interpreters of traditional Highland music, Duncan’s music is elegant, trancelike and tender, laced with strokes of genius. The correlation between music and the natural world lies at the heart of what inspires Duncan, and the elements that make the Highlands of Scotland such a unique canvas have been the main force and motivation behind his music in recent years.

Duncan has enjoyed many Orkney Folk Festival appearances with other musicians and bands, however his performances at the 2018 festival will be the first presentation of music from his solo suite of recordings.

The set list will present music from Duncan’s new album – Sandwood – which is inspired by the bay that rightfully lays claim to hold the finest yet least accessible beach in Scotland. Sandwood is situated within the far reaches of the north west coast of Sutherland, and is a natural masterpiece; a true paradise that sits within a basin of peatlands waiting to be discovered by those willing to trek wild. Two years of imagining, writing and production have resulted...