Karine Polwart - We Were Promised Jetpacks - Anderson, McGinty, Webster, Ward and Fisher – The Loveboat Big Band – Breabach – The Hazey Janes - The Glad Community Choir – Rick Redbeard - Beerjacket - Haight Ashbury - The Music Tapes - Iain Morrison - David Rovics - Alistair Ogilvy - Fake Major – The Little Kicks - India Alba – Jason Singh – I See Hawks in L.A. - Let’s Talk About Space - Esther Sparks - Paddy Callaghan - Rona Wilkie and Marit Fält - Kite and the Crane - Rory Butler - Siobhan Wilson
Karine Polwart is rare talent: a singer with a pure, timeless voice that perfectly conveys the poetry and emotion of her writing and a multi-award-winning songwriter (her debut album Faultlines won three awards at the 2005 BBC Folk Awards, including Best Album). Karine’s music builds on the storytelling tradition at the heart of Scottish folk to give voice to contemporary issues, including injustice, loss and rebellion, with a warm humanity that’s instantly compelling. Her latest album, Traces, was voted Folk Album of the Year by the Sunday Herald and The Guardian, and she received three nominations in the BBC Radio 2012 Folk Awards.
“One of the finest singer-songwriters in Britain today.” – The Guardian
WWPJ are a fast-rising, Glasgow-based indie-rock band who have seen success in the US and the UK. Since forming in 2003 whilst at high school, they have established themselves as a dynamic live act. Their demo recording brought them to the attention of national radio stations, including XFM and BBC Radio 1, which was further enhanced through their 2008 tour with label-mates Frightened Rabbit. Their 2009 debut album, These Four Walls, was warmly received in America and the UK (“one of the best Scottish debuts for years” – Clash Music). The band’s second album, In the Pit of the Stomach was released in 2011.
Not a legal firm, but a five-piece Dundee collective crafting a soulful fusion of funk, folk and hip-hop. AMWWF’s eponymous debut album was recorded live during a three-day recording session in Pethshire, and showcases their multi-instrumental style. Recent live sessions for the BBC and Bob Harris have brought the band to a wider audience, and their status as an impressive live act continues to win critical acclaim.
Sumptuously celebrating the golden age of shipboard romance, while forging full steam into the future, Scotland’s premier swing sensation invite you aboard the ultimate luxury musical cruise. Featuring 11 first-class musicians from a dozen leading Scottish acts, this brilliantly motley crew deliver a fabulously seductive blend of vintage swing classics and contemporary pop hits, all given the unique Loveboat Big Band treatment: lashings of louche, sassy horns, elegant strings, ultra-funky rhythm and voluptuous vocals.
The Loveboat Big Band are performing at the end-of-festival final night party, so in keeping with the maritime theme there’ll be a prize for the best nautically-dressed festival-goer…so bring your pirate costume, sailor’s uniform, Titanic evening attire, or admiral’s cap, and get ready to dance the night away.
“This crème-de-la-crème Edinburgh collective combine the glamour of old-style cruise liners with a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek humour” – The Scotsman
One of the most celebrated and successful Scottish folk bands of recent times, Breabach command the stage with flare, charisma and a sound that is as expansive as it is distinct. Powered by double bagpipes, flute and fiddle, this uncompromising force features the tight groove of double bass, guitar and step-dance. A repertoire that effortlessly fuses the traditional and contemporary underlines their commitment and passion for their musical heritage but also displays a willingness to explore and challenge boundaries.
Recent line up changes have given the band a new edge, energy and focus, and with increasing popularity and fast growing international recognition it is little wonder Breabach received nominations for ‘Best Group’ at both the 2011 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and the Scots Trad Music Awards simultaneously.
“Tempos are often exhilarating, & the ensemble interplay is fiery. The colours & textures are beautifully layered but spaciously uncluttered lending the Breabach sound a depth & definition that only strengthens its impact.” – Songlines magazine
Indie-pop band The Hazey Janes have travelled widely since the release of their 2004 mini-album: recording follow-up LPs in Spain and New Jersey; performing at the SxSW festival in Texas, and touring in the UK supporting bands including Snow Patrol, Elbow, Idlewild, Brakes and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. Their third album, The Winter That Was – recorded in their hometown of Dundee – was released in 2011, and in the following year they toured across Europe and produced an EP with legendary singer and songwriter (and also father of two of the band members) Michael Marra.
The Glad Cafe is a new cafe/venue in the south of Glasgow; operating as a social enterprise, it uses its profits to fund affordable music tuition – you might remember them running the lovely cafe venue for us in 2011 onsite at Wiston. But much more than that, it’s a vibrant community hub offering music and writing workshops, delicious food, seminars, film and meeting space, whilst supporting local up-and-coming talent. The Community Choir is an outreach project involving local people of all ages and levels of experience, who meet to enjoy making and performing music.
For a special set at Solas, the Choir will perform a selection of Moondog songs. Moondog – the ‘Viking of 6th Avenue’ – was a blind musician and poet, whose home on the streets of New York inspired his avant-garde musical creations.
Rick Redbeard is the solo musical alias of Rick Anthony, singer from acclaimed Glasgow sextet The Phantom Band. Born and raised in the Aberdeenshire wilderness, Anthony began using the Redbeard name for his solo material sometime around 2006-7 after swindling it from a pirate. He has performed sporadically around Scotland since then. His debut album, No Selfish Heart, was released this year.
“Breathlessly simple yet poignant; minimal but bursting with excess.” 4* – Album review in Drowned in Sound
Peter Kelly, aka Beerjacket, is a singer-songwriter and guitarist. He started performing his own material almost 10 years ago, and has carved a solid reputation as a musician and solo performer; his pared-down, unpretentious lyrical style has been compared to that of José Gonzales and Elliot Smith.
Listen to tracks from the album The White Feather Trail on Beerjacket’s Bandcamp page.
Glaswegian trio Haight Ashbury are named after a district in San Francisco, and there’s certainly a strong 60s, psychedelic, ‘Frisco Bay influence in their sound; many of their songs invoke the experimentation and scope of the era. The band’s debut single Freeman Town brought them to the attention of BBC Radio 6, leading to a high-profile UK tour with Scottish indie band The Vaselines. Their third album is due for release this year.
“The two female singers, backed by a talented male guitarist, are like a new and improved version of a psychedelic Abba. The lyrics are great, the vocals are haunting, the timing is impressive and they fill the stage like a bigger, much fuller band.” – The Sunday Herald
The Music Tapes is an experimental pop music and performance art project of Julian Koster (also of the Elephant 6 collective and Neutral Milk Hotel). Known for their unique live performances – previous tours have been based around carols and lullabies – unconventional instrumentation and unusual recording practices (using vintage and home-made recording equipment, in locations ranging from tents to cupboards), the band have released three albums.
“…the rare case of a record that literally sounds timeless, or not of a specific era. With liberal use of banjo coupled with the tones of the singing saw and the intimacy of a lo-fi or field recording, Music Tapes comes across like a sweeping summation of the history of 20th century American white-boy music.” – album review in Pitchfork
Lewis-born Iain Morrison could rightly claim to be one of the originators of the current Scottish nu-folk trend; grounded in the traditional piping techniques of the Western Isles, Iain was the writer and singer with the indie band Crash My Model Car. The winner of Composer of the Year at the Scottish Trad Awards 2010, Iain has released four solo albums.
‘Morrison is from the Outer Hebrides and his atmospheric songs are awash with the bleak beauty of the region. A remarkable slice of rural folk.’ – R2 Magazine
David Rovics is an American indie singer-songwriter, essayist and leftist political peace activist. Starting out as a full-time busker, David’s music has its roots in the streets -”it’s to communicate on an emotional level”, he says – and covers issues from US foreign policy to workers’ rights, with recent emphasis on the Middle East and Palestine. But this isn’t just a role-call of polemics; in the vein of Billy Bragg and Pete Seeger, there’s warm humour, irony and an infectious optimism that will have you bringing on the revolution.
Go to David Rovics’s website.
A folk singer and songwriter, Alistair has collaborated with many of the big names in traditional Scottish folk music, and has been nominated for awards including BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year in 2011 and 2012; he was named the FATEA male vocalist of the year in 2012. Alistair’s recently-released debut album, Leaves Sae Green, presents traditional songs and ballads to a new audience.
“Wonderfully characterful, minutely-nuanced Scots singing…” – The Scotsman
Although Fake Major’s list of band members is only two names strong, their music sounds like anything but the work of a simple four-armed singer songwriter. Richard Ferguson and David McGinty have been successfully producing well-crafted pop music throughout their youth, and now with their new project, Fake Major, they present their writing in its most instinctive form. Their debut album, Have Plenty of Fun, was released in April.
Aberdeen’s The Little Kicks have been something of a well-kept secret, but the release of their second album, The Little Kicks, brought them national broadcast and print media attention as a hotly-tipped band to watch.
“They generate effortless waves of breezy and witty indie pop, that is instantly accessible and has hooks, melodies and genuine warmth in abundance….These guys should be happily rubbing shoulders with FM radio stalwarts Elbow etc.”
**** 4/5 – reviewed in Is This Music?
India Alba are a collaboration between two Indian and two Scottish musicians showing there are no boundaries between them. Since their debut album Reels and Ragas, they have developed a sound which reflects the broad common ground between their traditions. Many raga gats (themes), particularly those from the borders of the Himalayas, have close relatives in the melodies of the Scottish highlands and islands, and for both of them the drone sounds of the bagpipes or the tampura play an important part in the music. Recent performances have included the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow, Delhi International Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Indian Music Conference – Goa and the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
Jason Singh is a multi-disciplinary artist who creates and facilitates work via the media of sound, photography, music, poetry and moving images. Jason’s work as a composer has included a collaboration with Nitin Sawhney and works for theatre and film, along with running music workshops for adults and young people; he is a notable beatboxer and sound artist, and works internationally with a broad range of organisations to promote beatboxing as a form of musical expression. He has completed artistic residences in the UK, India and Australia, and is an associate lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Jason will be performing with India Alba in a special set for Solas Festival.
I See Hawks have been re-imagining the alt-country/rock genre for over ten years, becoming one of the best-known country acts in their native California. The band have collaborated with renowned artists including The Byrds’ Chris Hillman, and have pioneered a rootsy, cosmic, uniquely West Coast country sound. Lyrically, theirs is a wide-open, sun-drenched vista of sierras and highways, leavened with wry wit, social conscience and a little daftness; sit back and enjoy the ride.
Along with a lively passion for space science (and you can catch their educational show as part of the Children’s Programme), Let’s Talk About Space are talented multi-instrumentalists who have performed with the likes of Ladytron and Sebastien Tellier. This year sees the release of their new album, which includes tracks written in collaboration with New York-based electro pioneers the Silver Apples.
Hailing from the west of Scotland, but now based in Colorado, Esther is a folk singer and songwriter. Established as a solo performer, Esther joined up with Darren and Melissa Thornberry in 2012 to form Esther Sparks and the Whiskey Remedy, a collaboration that has yielded a critically-praised new single, Back to Life.
Go to Esther Sparks’s website.
Glasgow-based multi-instrumentalist Paddy Callaghan is the winner of the BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2013. Glasgow-born, Paddy is a development worker with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, a non-profit organisation that preserves and promotes traditional Irish music; he has a regular DJ slot on Celtic Music Radio and is a member of the rockabilly/cajun band The Chichuahuas.
Rona and Marit blend their Scottish Highland and Scandinavian musical heritage, combining the traditional fiddle and Gaelic singing with Norwegian cittern and låtmandola. Winners of a Danny Kyle Award at Celtic Connections 2012 (Rona also won BBC Scotland’s Young Trad Musician of the Year last year), the duo have garnered critical acclaim this year, and we are delighted to welcome them to Solas.
Kite and the Crane are singer-songwriter Hannah Kitchen and percussionist Niki Dunne. Together, they make beautiful, innovative indie-folk featuring harmonies and poetry, tambourines, glockenspiels, guitar and wooden box drums.
Listen to a sneak preview on Kite and the Crane’s Bandcamp page.
Singer-songwriter and guitarist Rory has been with Solas from the beginning, and is a firm festival favourite. Drawing on classic inspirations including Nick Drake and John Martyn, Rory won a Danny Kyle Open Stage Award at Celtic Connections 2012, and is currently working on the follow-up to his highly-praised 2011 debut album Naked Trees.
Listen to tracks from Naked Trees via Rory Butler’s website.
Siobhan’s musical journey has taken her from Scotland to France and the United States – and from classical to jazz and blues – and has brought her back to Scotland as an accomplished and sought-after solo artist, and a pillar of the Glasgow music scene. Her 2012 EP, Glorified Demons, is a rich collection of lyrical gems; charming and melodically engaging with a darker, edgier thread running through. Siobhan gave a poised, understated and truly stand-out performance at last year’s Solas, so don’t miss her.
Listen to Glorified Demons on Siobhan Wilson’s Bandcamp page.