August saw us continue our European adventures round some of our absolute favourite festivals.
First up was a trip home (for some of us) to the Highlands and a performance at the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival. This is an absolutely fantastic event and more than one of us remarked that it would be worth coming back for the craic alone - on the unlikely occasion that we'd ever have that weekend in August free! It's a cliché but there genuinely was something on offer for every taste and age-group from pop-bands to pipe-bands and from puppet-shows to Danny MacAskill's "Drop and Roll" tour. We'll hopefully perform again at Belladrum before too long.
The next day, we played a concert at the lovely Pitlochry Theatre on our way back down the road and caught-up with a few of our "die-hard" followers who had covered some fairly impressive distances to come and see us. You're hardy, the lot of you, and it's always a pleasure to see you!
We managed one day of rest and then it was off to Brittany for the legendary Festival Interceltique in Lorient. This was our second visit, having first played the festival in 2012, and it was every bit as wild as we remembered. With music on every street corner and most of it carrying on well into the balmy summer nights, it's about as intense and as true a celebration of Celtic music and culture as one could hope to find anywhere in the Celtic diaspora. This year it was Cornwall and the Isle of Man's turn to co-host the festival and they did a cracking job of showcasing the best of their culture and talent alongside some of the biggest names in music from all the other Celtic Nations. Their tent was tremendous craic - even rivalling the famous Asturian tent for hospitality and music!
With a few free days at home following Lorient, we knuckled-down to the pleasant task of arranging some of our favourite Runrig songs for the finale concert to this year's Blas Festival. This concert on September 12th will see ourselves, Julie Fowlis, Cathy Ann MacPhee and a young group from various Fèisean perform some of Runrig's greatest hits and also some of their lesser-known material for a night that will explore the full scope of their incredible contribution to Scottish music. Tickets are scarce but still available here: http://www.blas-festival.com/inverness.html It's been great fun putting our own spin on some classic Runrig numbers and we're looking forward to performing them to a packed Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, on the night!
August came to a cracking conclusion with our return to Denmark's Tønder Festival after first appearing there in 2012. This is truly one of the world's great festivals and we once again left inspired after getting to listen to and hang out with some really excellent musicians. It was also great to catch up and share stories and tunes with so many of our pals that we just don't get to see enough of on the road! We tend to spend the summer passing other bands like ships in the night at the various festivals we visit but most bands tend to spend a few days in Tønder making for a magical melting pot of music and craic.
With the most hectic of the summer adventures behind us, we'll now hopefully get plenty time to get cracking on material for the new album whilst also looking ahead to the great gigs we've got coming up over the next wee while.
July has been a cracking month for Mànran! We kicked off the month at Folk am Neckar, a beautifully located festival set in an amphitheatrical grounds of a church in Baden area of Germany. We spent a couple of nights there in glorious weather listening to some nice music, having a few tunes here and there, sampling the local produce, and getting a wee taste of home from our pals at "The Angel's Share", a German Whisky Shop whom we've had the pleasure of meeting at a couple of gigs.
Next up was the more familiar territory of HebCelt in the Isle of Lewis. This was the island festival's twentieth anniversary and they really went all-out with a fantastic line-up and, as ever, a really well-run festival. We were lucky enough to hang about for a couple of days and catch a bit of music and get caught up in the buzz and always seems to be around Stornoway on HebCelt weekend.
Then it was on to the Tiree Music Festival. Word had already reached us in Lewis that the weather had taken a turn for the apocalyptic on the Friday of the festival and there were serious doubts cast over the rest of the weekend's programme. Nevertheless, we hopped on the plane to the "Hawai'i of the North" and were delighted to find that the gales (but thankfully not the Gaels!) had quietened down. On arrival, we were regaled with tales of monsoon conditions the day before but what really struck us was the incredible response of the festival organisers and the local community. That an island of 600 managed to find shelter 1600 festival goers is quite phenomenal! With this resilient spirit of survival now well-engrained, all the revellers set about making the most of the next two days. And, by cracky, they did! We had a superb couple of gigs on the Saturday and Sunday and we hope it's not too long till we're back.
Our next adventure took us to Galicia (in North Western Spain) and Portugal. This was our first ever performance in both places but with the strong Celtic culture of Galicia and, in particular, their love of bagpipes, we had a feeling we might be onto a winner. We played at an enormous outdoor festival on the edge of a forest but what was visible from the stage was only half the extent of the festivities. Under the cover of the trees lay hundreds of little huts and bothies that had been thrown into place by the locals for the weekend and they were a hive of revelry, music and feasting. Some of the band ended up well ensconced in one particularly lively spot and ended up playing tunes till only the thick cover of the trees could add any credibility to the pretence of the night still being on us! A trip South into Portugal followed and we were once again treated to a fantastic festival crowd in the beautiful town of Ponte de Barca.
The month ended much as it started with another great German adventure, this time performing at the Loreley Celtic Night. This was probably the most dramatic setting for a festival yet, situated as it was on a huge amphitheatre perched among the various castles and palaces towering over the Rhine.
Right, August: you've got a hard act to follow!
We are absolutely delighted to announce we will be playing Glasgow's Barrowland Ballroom on December 5th with Donnie Munro and his band. With it being our first ever gig at the legendary venue and Donnie's first Barrowlands performance since 2001, it promises to be a fantastic night so get your ticket orders in early to avoid disappointment!
Early-bird tickets are available now by clicking on the poster above or via THIS LINK HERE, at a special price for a limited time only!!
June was definitely a month to remember with a whole pile of very enjoyable English dates, our first ever gig in Wales, our debut appearance at Glastonbury and a gig in the Borders for good measure.
The first jaunt South of the border saw us enjoy some fantastic weather on the South Coast, take in the cracking scenery (and hospitality!) of the Cotswolds, get lost in the fields beside Southwell Racecourse taking a shortcut to the festival site and sample the delights of North Boarhunt. Great gigs, every one, and a lot of very nice people along the way. In fact, we found ourselves giving away CDs as a reward for "general niceness" everywhere we stopped for lunch on that trip...
Next up was a gig in Crawfordjohn as part of the "Wee Gig" series. This is a brilliant initiative that manages to bring a load of top acts to the "Nine Villages" area and we hope it continues to go from strength to strength. After a cracking night, we had to start making tracks for Glastonbury but we managed to fit in a nice gig at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury on the way South. For those yet to experience the festival, Glasto is impossibly massive and yet still manages to maintain a friendly, relaxed, community feel - no mean feat! We had the pleasure of playing the Avalon stage on the Sunday afternoon to a crowd who's stamina is a credit to them. We're not sure how they were all still dancing and clapping with such vigour after days and days at the World's biggest greenfield festival. Hardy! The whole Glastonbury experience was amazing and will last long in the memory, especially seeing "The Who" headline the Pyramid Stage - true legends showing us all how it's done.
Glasto done, it was nearly time to head for home but not before we called into Abergavenny for our first ever gig in Wales. We enjoyed a sun-soaked day exploring the bonnie town and it's vast array of cakes before playing a really nice gig in the Borough Theatre. Our first trip to Wales was magic so, hopefully, it'll not be too long before we're back. Now, it's onwards to the Summer festival season proper and all the adventures therein!
We're looking forward to commencing our Adastra tour next month!
Links to tickets for all the gigs listed in the poster below can be found on the 'GIGS' page of our website.
We've freshened up our website a wee bit so, please, have a rake around and make yourselves at home. The sheet-music section is also nearing completion so you'll be able to find "dots" for all just about all our tunes there now.
Tha sinn air beagan ùrachadhadh a thoirt air an làrach-lìn againn 's tha sinn an dòchas gun cord e ruibh. Cha mhòr nach eil a h-uile gin de na puirt againn a-nis ri fhaotainn an seo cuideachd, nach feuchaibh orra?
For a while now we’ve been inundated with requests for sheet music for our own tune compositions so we’ve created a section for them on here. Go to “Promo” then “Sheetmusic” on the menu bar and have a browse through our scribblings. There are more to be added over the coming weeks but, for now, happy playing!
We’re just after completing a fortnight’s touring all over Germany and what a cracking tour it was! We’ve had the pleasure of playing at a few German festivals over the last couple of years but this was our first blast at playing concerts all over the country. As part of the Irish Heartbeat tour which celebrates the festival of St. Patrick for a few weeks every March, we covered a fair amount of autobahn touring mostly around the South and West but we also managed a few days in the East and the North. We would like to thank all the brilliant crowds that came out to see us along the way and all the team who worked on the tour for giving us such a warm welcome and for making sure everything ran so smoothly. Special mention also goes to our companions on the tour, Dermot Byrne and Floriane Blancke and the Bernadette Morris Band, for some quite amazing craic and tunes along the way! Gura math agaibh ‘s tha sinn an dòchas gum faic sinn a-rithist sibh a dh’aithghearr.
Our concert at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival, due to have been taking place in the Arches on January 31st, has been moved to the O2 ABC on Sauchiehall Street in order to meet the very high demand for tickets. This means that tickets are once more available from the Celtic Connections website below.
Dèan cabhag, ge-tà! You’d better be quick: they’re selling out fast again!
Bliahdna mhath ùr dhuibh uile!
A Happy New Year to one and all!
We’ve been quietly recovering after an exhausting but brilliant fun tour of the Highlands and Islands. Starting in Ullapool, then taking in Kyle of Lochalsh, Inverness, Portree, Stornoway and South Uist, it was a fairly intensive six days of travel drama, late nights, hectic PA set-ups, laughs but most importantly, great gigs! Thanks a million to all of you who came to see us along the way and helped make it so memorable. It’s now time to get stuck into some rehearsals before premiering some new material at our SOLD-OUT Celtic Connections gig in the Arches at the end of the month.
After a great year hanging-out with a lovely film crew, the Mànran documentary is now ready and set for broadcast! The hour-long programme “Mànran” will be shown on BBC Alba at 10pm, Christmas Day, followed by a half-hour long programme showing highlights of our gig at Fèis na Mara in Mallaig back in October. Why not kick-back with a mince pie and enjoy an hour and a half of Mànran festive fun?
As dèidh bliadhna sgoinneil a’ dol mun cuairt le criutha camara gar leantainn, tha an aithriseachd “Mànran” a-nis deiseil! Bidh dà phrògram sònraichte ri fhaicinn air BBC Alba Latha na Nollaige a’ tòiseachadh aig 10f le “Mànran” fhèin ‘s an uairsin aig 11f bidh na pìosan as fhèarr bho consairt bheòthail a rinn sinn ann an Malaig ri fhaicinn anns’ a phrògram “Mànran bho Fèis na Mara”. Abair Nollaig Chridheil air BBC Alba!