Cultural Commonwealth ties to be marked at HebCelt

HebCelt is one of only two Scottish venues which will host the international cross-cultural concert
HebCelt is one of only two Scottish venues which will host the international cross-cultural concert
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The Hebridean Celtic Festival is to be one of only two venues in Scotland to host an international, cross-cultural concert being held as part of this year’s Commonwealth Games celebrations.

The Boomerang Project is a major feature of the nationwide Culture 2014 programme, which has been supported by Creative Scotland to mark Glasgow’s hosting of the Games.

It is described as a cultural version of a baton relay, thrown from Scotland and returning to its origins via Australia and New Zealand.

It will explore and celebrate links between Scottish, Aboriginal and Maori cultures, through language, music and dance, including ancient bagpipe tunes and Gaelic waulking songs, a newly-written Haka pride chant and pieces for the didgeridoo.

The idea was conceived in Glasgow last year and will be premiered at the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) festival in New Zealand from March 14th to 16th and then travel to the Homeground Festival at the Sydney Opera House from April 5th and 6th.

The musical spectacle will visit HebCelt, which will be held from July 16th to 19th in Stornoway in the island of Lewis, before a major concert is held at Glasgow Green on July 24th as part of the Festival 2014 celebrations for the Commonwealth Games.

HebCelt festival director Caroline Maclennan said: “Boomerang is a major cultural project which will be an exciting addition to the HebCelt programme in this Year of Homecoming.

“We are delighted to be included in Boomerang’s list of high profile events and have this opportunity to promote Scotland’s cultural ties with Australia and New Zealand.”

The project is being produced by Active Events in Scotland, Tihi in New Zealand and the Sydney Opera House, Australia.

Lisa Whytock, the project’s Scottish producer, said: “Boomerang started as an idea between ourselves, the Opera House and WOMAD New Zealand. We wanted to celebrate the similarities of cultures, recognising the indigenous language and traditions of each nation in a contemporary and modern way.

“The artists rehearsed the show in Auckland this January and have written new material which involves dance as well as music,” she continued. “The historic and cultural links between Australia and New Zealand and the Scottish islands makes HebCelt an ideal venue to take this concert.”

Artists taking part include Scottish folk band Breabach, who won the MG ALBA Scots Trad Awards Folk Band of the Year 2012 and Live Act of the Year 2013 awards, and were best group nominees in this year’s Radio 2 Folk Awards.

They will be joined, from New Zealand, by Maori musician and composer Horomona Horo and Moana and TheTribe, one of the leading exponents of Maori music. Representing Australia will be indigenous singer/songwriter Shellie Morris and Casey Donovan, a singer and actress, who won the second season of the singing competition show Australian Idol, as well as Djakapurra Munyarryun, a traditional dance performer and teacher who took part in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, and dancer and producer Tim Bishop.

Horomona Horo, a Maori tradition bearer, and Shellie Morris of the Yanyuwa people from the Northern Territory of Australia, have Scottish ancestry with the Macgregor and Muir Clans respectively.

The 19th HebCelt will feature its biggest ever programme with more than 30 acts and will be headlined by Levellers, Big Country and Donnie Munro. It will also include performances by Cara Dillon, Rachel Sermanni, Duncan Chisholm, Cajun band Magnolia Sisters, from the US, and Canadian outfit Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys.

For more information about this year’s Hebridean Celtic Festival, please visit www.hebceltfest.com