Monday, October 26, 2009

Perthshire Amber in the highlands of Scotland, and online

Perthshire Amber is the evocative name of a festival of music that begins on 30 October this year, and runs for ten days. Dougie MacLean, from Dunkeld in the heart of highland Perthshire, started the festival as a day long one off event several years ago. MacLean is a master composer, songwriter, and player, with musical friends the world over, so that idea soon became a festival. This year, performers will include Irish born singer Heidi Talbot, Scottish star Eddi Reader, the always lively band Malinky, highland fiddler and composer Duncan Chisholm, and many others. Venues will include a cathedral, a castle, a crannog -- and your computer. For the first time, this year the festival is offering live streaming of concerts as well as on demand interviews and other video features, for a one off fee which will allow a month's access to all the material.

Dougie MacLean is an internationally renowned songwriter, who began his career with the traditional band The Tannahill Weavers and soon set out on solo work. He is composer of the song Caledonia, which has become the unofficial anthem of Scots everywhere and was used in the advertisement promoting Homecoming Scotland this year. Its lyrics have even found their way on to T-shirts and whisky bottles. MacLean’s music was also used in the film The Last of the Mohicans, and he has an extensive catalog of songs. In fact, that’s one of the reasons the whole thing got started. “There are many of my songs that I don’t get to play often, when I only have two hours at a concert,” he says. This year he’ll be appearing across the ten days. The Festival kicks off with Dougie and Eddie Reader at Pitlochry Festival Theatre and finishes with a gala concert at Perth Concert Hall.

“We are delighted with this year’s line up for what looks to be the biggest and best Perthshire Amber yet.” MacLean says. “Our biggest step is that we are going to hold a major concert in Perth for the first time. The Caledonia Concert will feature wonderful musicians from five different countries who I have had a connection with over the years. I have been lucky enough to have had my songs recorded by some amazing artists and friends. The Caledonia Concert will feature some of these musicians.

“Perthshire Amber 2009 is one of the featured Homecoming Scotland events and the Caledonia Concert will be our key Homecoming contribution. I’m really looking forward to our Perth Concert Hall festival finale!

“I’m also looking forward to playing the Indigenous
album live for the first time,” he continued. ”Our live versions of The Search in the past two years have been real Festival highlights.”

Frances Black and the band Beoga are two who’ll bring an Irish touch to the festival, as will Kildare born Heidi Talbot, now based in Edinburgh. Talbot is known for her stint as lead singer with the top traditional band Cherish the Ladies, and she’s recently been backing up Eddi Reader on tour as well as selling out her own concerts in her native country. She’ll be giving a concert at the castle at Blair Atholl. It’s Talbot’s first time at Perthshire Amber. “I'm really looking forward to the festival. I'm a huge Dougie MacLean fan and I'm really chuffed to be a part of his festival. It's being held in a gorgeous part of the country too. I can't wait!” she says.

There will also be a musical bus tour of highland Perthshire featuring stories and songs from the always engaging Doris Rougvie, as well as workshops, talks, and sessions across the ten days. Festival goers will have a chance to give back, as well, by joining in Amber Harvest through bringing canned and boxed foodstuffs to be given to groups which aid Scotland’s homeless and others needing assistance, and by bidding on a blanket - possibly more than one -- that knitters around the world have contributed to in a project called The Big Knit. The proceeds of the blanket auction will also go to help those needing food and shelter.

you may also wish to see

the festival web site
Perthshire Amber Live! where you may learn about how to sign up for online viewing of the festival

Music Road: heidi talbot: in love +light

Homecoming Scotland: Caledonia

Music Road: Eddi Reader, Emily Smith, Robert Burns

Music Road: season of change: music for autumn where you may learn about recent music from Doris Rougvie, Duncan Chisholm, and others

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds amazing. I was in Perth this summer! Oh, how I'd love to go back!

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer Margulis said...

I wish I could go to this -- it starts today! I've only been to 1 music festival (in the middle of France) and it was so amazing...

2:19 PM  
Blogger Alexandra Grabbe said...

Wow! I have to let my nephew know so he can be there through his computer.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Stephanie - said...

This sounds fabulous! I've never been to a music festival. I will have to change this soon.

12:04 AM  

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