On New Year’s Day, Louis (AF) and I will be appearing at Scot:Lands, a series of performance events happening throughout Edinburgh as part of its Hogmanay celebrations. The afternoon features dozens of artists across ten themed stages around the city. Ours is ‘Heart:Land’, presented by Roddy Hart:

“Curator of the famously fabulous and ongoing “Roaming Roots Revue”, Roddy Hart, one of Scotland’s key (musical) players assembles a stellar line-up of brilliant and emerging home-grown musicians playing both material inspired by a place and paying homage to the great songs that connect them to their Scottish roots. An afternoon of hope and nostalgia, a unique journey into the Heartland of Scottish contemporary music.”

Featuring Roddy Hart & The Lonesome FireWithered Hand, Andrew Mitchell & Alice Marra (Hazey Janes), Louis Abbott & Sarah Hayes (Admiral Fallow) and Tommy Reilly.

Celtic Connections 2015

The Celtic Connections train has begun its rumblings. Always an exciting time of year! I’ll be playing three concerts in different guises throughout the festival…

23rd January, Tron Theatre: Inge Thomson‘s Da Fishing Hands is a beautiful collection of songs and instrumentals inspired by Fair Isle and the sea. Inge has also recently been nominated for Composer of the Year at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards! tickets

24th January, Glasgow Art Club: This will be the debut outing of a duo with fiddler Fiona MacAskill; our Wildings bandmate Jen will be away on three month Live Music Now residency in Mumbai, so she gave us her blessing! We’ll be supporting the wonderful Finlay MacDonald & Chris Stout. tickets

29th January, Oran Mor: A solo show, with Adam Cohen headlining. tickets

‘Woven’ recording

I had a great time at Gran’s House Studio last week, recording my Celtic Connections New Voices composition, Woven. Big thanks to Phil Hague (drums and percussion), Ali Hutton (guitar), James Lindsay (bass) and Angus Lyon (engineering and patience) for their sterling efforts laying down the ‘engine room’ of the album. I’ll be back in the studio early next year to add the rest of the parts, along with Fiona MacAskill (fiddle) and Mairearad Green (accordion): can’t wait! The recording project has been made possible by an Emerging Excellence Award from Help Musicians UK, for which I’m very grateful.

Next couple of weeks

I’ve been enjoying the opportunity to play in some classical music settings recently, and the challenge of getting my flute chops up to scratch! Following on from Northern Lights Wind Quintet’s Saturday lunchtime performance at St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee, I’ve two more concerts coming up in October. Flutes en Route is an ensemble that started life while its members were all students at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). I joined the quartet in 2010, and since then we’ve had lots of great times from recitals to community concerts and the development of a musical storytelling project in conjunction with Live Music Now. We’ll be playing a varied programme at Stranraer ‘Music For All’ (St John’s Church, Stranraer) on Friday 3rd October at 7.30pm.

October also sees the launch of The Glasgow New Music Expedition, a group I’m very proud to be part of. The ensemble performs music by living composers, and will open its concert season at the Arches, Glasgow, on the 17th. Our Artistic Director, Richard Greer, has been working hard to organise it all: no mean feat. GNME now needs an extra boost to its infrastructure to ensure that everything runs in a smooth and professional manner, doing justice to everybody’s hard work so far. If you’re interested in giving the group a hand, take a look at GNME’s kickstarter campaign here. Earplugs at the ready, I’m off to practise the piccolo now…

I’ll leave you with this fascinating video – discovered by accident this morning – reminding us all that everything has its purpose and part to play in a bigger system.