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Best traditional Scottish music? Your recommendations please!

laretourlaretour VisitScotland Contributor ✭✭
edited January 29 in Arts and Culture
We've all heard the iconic bagpipes, but what happens when you fuse traditional Scottish music with more modern inspiration?

On Saturday I went along to a Celtic Connections show at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow called 'Bothy Culture and Beyond' (for those who don't know, CC is an annual festival of traditional music). This huge show which, along with an insane Skye-inspired set, featured famous trials cyclist Danny MacAskill performing alongside the Grit Orchestra. The musicians were playing songs from Martyn Bennett's albums such as Bothy Culture and Grit.

The music was AMAZING <3  If you could bottle what being in Scotland feels like, convert it into sound... Well, you're halfway there. I've been listening to Bennett's albums ever since on Spotify and I'm a little bit obsessed!

SO... I need some more recommendations! Trad music fans, what are your favourite bands, singers, musicians?

I'm also a big fan of Skerryvore (who are great live) and Ryan Young (a VERY talented fiddle player who grew up just down the road from me!).

Comment below - I need to get some gigs in my calendar for 2018  :)

Laura x

P.S. If you don't know who Danny MacAskill is and where cycling fits into it... Watch this!

All images my own. 
Stories from Scotland.
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  • Samantha_GrantSamantha_Grant VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    I love Skerryvore too
    I'm a Scottish travel blogger and freelance writer with an extensive knowledge of travelling in Scotland.  I'm always on the road exploring my wonderful country.  I love remote places, history and the great outdoors. 

  • JemyJemy Member ✭✭
    I went to Celtic Connections as well and loved it! GRIT and Niteworks were both really good. I loved it when they had the dancers aerial dancing!

    Best of the west was really good last year, really scenic setting too! 

  • laretourlaretour VisitScotland Contributor ✭✭
    @Samantha_Grant Skerryvore, was! I will need to look and see where they are touring next :) 

    @Jemy those dancers were brave eh?! 
    Stories from Scotland.
    instagram | twitter | facebook
  • SuleskerrySuleskerry Member ✭✭
    @laretour Martyn Bennett was a legend and unfortunately taken from us far too soon, what he did with music was amazing and really ground breaking at the time. I went to the first Grit Orchestra concert at CC in Jan 15 and it was incredible, Martyn would have been so proud. Unfortunately missed this one, but its being broadcast on BBC2 tonight so I will be cranking up the volume on the TV and having a dance!

    Other music that I like that fuses traditional with other styles - Treacherous Orchestra, Peatbog Faeries, Manran, The Chair and Salsa Celtica for a bit of latin/scottish fusion.
  • LochgmarcpLochgmarcp VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭
    Great thread Laura! Love Skerryvore too, always put on a great show whenever I have seen them! 

    Heading to Knockengorroch World Ceilidh this weekend and can’t wait! Line up looks amazing and the forecast (I don’t want to say it too loud and scare it away) is looking brilliant! 

    Im sure I’ll share some of it here when I return, it may be something you’ll want to visit when it’s next on.. @lochgmarcp
  • AlistairHorneAlistairHorne Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭
    Lovely shots Laura!
  • VisitScotlandAmandaVisitScotlandAmanda Member, Administrator, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Hi @laretour! I recently found out about Tide Lines - worth checking out! 
    Kiwi gal, relocated to Scotland. 
  • FullStopNextChapterFullStopNextChapter VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭
    I discovered Elephant Sessions a couple of years ago when we spent Hogmanay in Inverness. 
    I've seen them a few times live since then and they know how to get a party started and certainly get your toes tapping and head bobbing! haha
    Join in my new chapter over on the blog. Discovering all things that make Scotland the place everyone wants to visit. 

  • LochgmarcpLochgmarcp VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭
    So I recently went to Knockengorrach World Celeidh Festival in Galloway in search of a weekend of Trad music and wasn’t disappointed! 

    Just off the Galloway Coastal Route, a stunning drive through the south west of Scotland, this festival brought together Trad music acts from all over the uk and further afield as well as an eclectic mix of festival goers! 

    This World Ceilidh event caters for people of all ages, young and old and even allows dogs to come along, a rarity for festivals these days! With five main event stages, there is a style of music to suit everyone as well as workshops throughout the day specialising in traditional crafts, music and wellbeing! The history of the Knockengorrach site is at the forefront of the festival, the site was once the feudal seats of the Clans macAdam and Clan macMillan and you can sense the history as you walk through the festival! 

    All ages can enjoy what is to offer at the festival.. 

    Particular highlights, other than the best weather I’ve seen in Scotland for a long time and a haggis pizza, was listening to traditional storytelling at The Longhouse, an amazing fireshow by Pyroceltica and Trad music by Awry.. to mention just a few! So many brilliant acts playing on the various stages you’re sure to find something you like! 

    Awry playing some Trad music..

    Sunday saw the the main event for me, the Knockengorrach Ceilidh! It was amazing to see well over 100 people dancing and enjoying some classic traditional Scottish Ceilidh music, despite the scorching temperatures! People young and old joining hands and dancing the afternoon away to the sounds of bagpipes and fiddles was the perfect way to spend the day! 

    Even the dogs seemed to be doing the Highland fling.. 

    So I would definitely recommend Knockengorrach World Ceilidh for next year, so much to see and do, and such a friendly and welcoming atmosphere! Set in a beautiful Glen in a stunning part of Scotland, surrounded by history it is sure to give you an amazing experience and tick all the boxes for those in search of a Trad music experience.. until next year Knockengorrach, thank you! 

    Sunset over Knockengorrach.. @lochgmarcp
  • VisitScotlandLiamVisitScotlandLiam Member, Administrator, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    @Lochgmarcp Looks like you had a quality time!  Got anything else lined up for the summer?
    Lead vocalist & rhythm guitarist for The Bright SkiesTwitter, Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube.
  • LochgmarcpLochgmarcp VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭
    It was great thanks @VisitScotlandLiam good start to the festival season! I’m at Oban Live this weekend, Argyll’s largest music festival and then HebCelt on Lewis in July, can’t wait for that one! How about you? @lochgmarcp
  • VisitScotlandLiamVisitScotlandLiam Member, Administrator, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    @Lochgmarcp My band are playing at Youth Beatz Festival in Dumfries on the 1st of July, then I have TRNSMT, then I'm, going to Sunday Sessions at Dalkeith Country Park in Edinburgh!
    Lead vocalist & rhythm guitarist for The Bright SkiesTwitter, Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube.
  • LochgmarcpLochgmarcp VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭
    Another weekend and another music festival.. this time I was heading to the beautiful Argyll town of Oban!
    This busy coastal port and gateway to the islands was playing host to Oban Live, Argyll’s largest traditional music festival! I had wanted to attend for a few years as it’s close to where I stay so was excited when I finally got the chance.. Needless to say, it did not disappoint... 


    Oban Live 2018 saw some of the biggest names in modern traditional  music coming together to celebrate the infectious West Coast spirit and welcomed people from all over Scotland and beyond, sharing their music to a crowd of thousands and of all ages, definitely encompassing a Year of Young people who didn’t hold back from dancing and singing their hearts out to their favourite bands.. 

    With music from the likes of Tide Lines, Heron Valley, Peatbog Faeries and Trad Music heavyweights Skippinish and Skerryvore (two of my personal favourite bands) it was impossible not to dance and get involved! Such a friendly atmosphere at this event and really nice to have a crowd so passionate about this genre of music! 
    Oban High School Pipe Band even joined in with Friday headliners Skippinish and Saturday headliners Skerryvore, and put on a thrilling performance that made the crowd go wild!

    Skippinish and Oban High Pipe 

    It’s so good to see so many young people gravitate towards Traditional Music again and really enjoy being a part of it! 

    Skippinish headlining Friday night 

    There is is plenty to do in Oban too, prior to the event there are lots of shops and cafe with live music on, and Oban has some of the freshest and best seafood in Scotland so plenty of restaurants to dine out before the event!
    But for me, I just couldn’t wait to watch more of the amazing live music.. 

    #YOYP2018 enjoying the music

    Skerryvore headlining Saturdays Oban Live 

    Oban High School Pipe Band put on a jaw dropping performance alongside Skerryvore, the whole crowd was stunned by their set which included an amazing light show! 

    So if modern trad music Played at the largest event in Argyll sounds like something you might like, Oban Live is definitely the music event for you!
    I had the most amazing time, shared laughs with a friendly and welcoming crowd and danced all night long to some of the best Trad Music bands Scotland has to offer.. 

    Heron Valley

    Tide Lines

    Peatbog Faeries

    I cant wait for next years event already.. will you be heading along too? 

    #tradmusic #YOYP2018 #ObanLive2018 @lochgmarcp
  • LochgmarcpLochgmarcp VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭
    edited July 31
    My penultimate Trad music festival saw me travelling to the stunning Isle of Lewis for HebCelt! I had been looking forward to this festival all year and it certainly didn’t disappoint! 

    HebCelt festival site

    Set in the heart of Stornoway, in the grounds of Lews Castle, HebCelt saw some of the biggest names in Scottish music coming together to perform for a huge crowd from not just Scotland but all over the world! 

    During the day, a walk around Stornoway meant I could catch some of the many fringe events taking place! Live music from some local bands, highland dancing performances to attract the crowds and intimate Trad music performances certainly kept me and the crowds entertained! 

    Seeing as as though I was on the island, when I wasn’t taking in the music performances I travelled around the island a little, there are so many stunning beaches and heritage sites to visit that you can really make attending HebCelt into a mini vacation! A perfect weekend getaway! 

    The highlights for me, was watching Eddi Reader, Deacon Blue and the trad music giants Skipinnish, Blazin’ Fiddles and Tidelines perform, as well as a great band called Niteworks from the Isle of Skye, a great fusion of Trad music and electronica.. perfect act to dance the night away to! 

    The friendly atmosphere of HebCelt, mixed with the amazing music made it one of the best festivals I’ve attended this year! It was so nice to see the younger generation getting into traditional music and really enjoying themselves! Plus meeting music lovers from all over the world who travelled to Lewis just for the festival was really cool.. 

    A few of my favourite moments from HebCelt..

    Skipinnish piper opening their show 

    Deacon Blue put on an amazing show

    The young crowd really getting into the Trad music performances #yoyp2018

    Did you attend HebCelt this year? Or any other trad festivals? Let me know.. planning for next years Trad music festivals has already begun.. 

    #hebcelt #yoyp2018 #tradmusic #isleoflewis @lochgmarcp
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