Lewis duo Eleanor Nicolson and Iain 'Spanish' Mackay are set to release their debut EP as they take to the HebCelt stage this summer
The multi award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival has confirmed an international line-up for its acoustic stage which will again promote links with its local university.
For the second successive year, Lews Castle College UHI, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, is sponsoring the stage to strengthen its cultural, artistic and educational ties with HebCelt.
And in a new move this year, the Year of Young People, festival goers will be able to use QR codes on posters to access information about some of the college’s courses.
Assistant Principal Professor Frank Rennie, said: “Lews Castle College UHI is delighted to be sponsoring the HebCelt acoustic stage again this year and we look forward to supporting another exciting and vibrant series of acts.
“Our partnership with HebCelt is a natural extension of the courses that we provide in Applied Music, Gaelic in Scotland and Sustainable Development.
“Our students and staff greatly appreciate this annual burst of traditional culture and its impact on the economy of this island, and it’s good to be involved.”
The acoustic stage was added to the festival’s main arena in 2014. So far, seven acts from home and abroad have been confirmed to appear this year.
The line-up features Eleanor & Spanish who are Eleanor Nicolson and Iain ‘Spanish’ Mackay, from Lewis, who have played HebCelt separately before, but have been playing together as a duo for four years.
Their debut EP will be released to coincide with this year’s HebCelt performance.
HST (Highland Soles Trio), is a family group based in Boston and Maine, with a strong Scottish/Cape Breton feel to their music.
Ed Pearlman, a fiddler/dancer, is a regular visitor to HebCelt where he helps with Highland tourism tours and is joined by fiddler/dancer Lilly Pearlman, and pianist/stepdancer Neil Pearlman.
Josie, Mischa & Ceitlin, are a trio of young Lewis singers brought together for this one-off appearance at HebCelt, stemming from their collaboration on the Blasta project.
Josie Duncan is a young singer-songwriter and Celtic harpist who has recently completed her studies in Scots song, Gaelic song and harp at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Last year Josie, together with guitarist Pablo Lafuente, were announced as BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winners, which led to several summer festival outings, an appearance at the BBC Proms in the Park from Glasgow Green and a new album.
Mischa Macpherson has already scooped several major awards, including Gaelic Singer of the Year at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music awards and BBC Radio 2’s Young Folk Award; while Ceitlin L R Smith’s accolades include a Gold Medal at the Royal National Mòd in 2014 and a Celtic Connections Danny Kyle Award.
Bermuda-born and Quebec-based singer-songwriter Lindsay Ferguson has recorded three albums and several EPs of her own songs in the last decade, acting as her own label, manager and booking agent.
She tours extensively across Canada and Europe and has won many international songwriting awards. Her latest project, recorded live in Switzerland, will be released in the spring.
Prince Edward Island songstress Meaghan Blanchard joins the HebCelt acoustic stage bill this year
Also on stage will be award-winning singer-songwriter Meaghan Blanchard, from Prince Edward Island, who is regarded as one of Canada’s finest roots acts; and London-based Pilgrim's Dream, the project of former Royal Marines Commando Rob Ouseley, who is receiving critical acclaim for his music which is influenced by bands such as Fleet Foxes and The Beach Boys.
And Rosie Sullivan, a 16-year-old singer-songwriter based in Lewis, has already been gigging for four years and has recently released an EP.
HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said: “We are extremely grateful again to Lews Castle College UHI for its support for the acoustic stage which offers us the opportunity to promote and support a range of visiting and local artists.
“We have brought together another really interesting mix of artists and we look forward with great excitement to sharing this with our festival goers.”
The 2018 HebCelt, which will run from July 18th to 21st, will be headlined by Deacon Blue, The Fratellis, Eddi Reader, Skippinish and Roddy Woomble.
Last week HebCelt was named Best Cultural Event or Festival at the prestigious Scottish Thistle Awards, its fifth major award in five months.
Day tickets are available exclusively from the festival website at: www.hebceltfest.com