Scotland’s links with Canada to be celebrated at this year’s HebCelt

The Lumber Jills will be at HebCelt this summer.
The Lumber Jills will be at HebCelt this summer.

The strong bonds of history and culture that link Canada to Scotland will be embraced through music at this year’s Hebridean Celtic Festival.

The award-winning HebCelt is hosting three acts from New Brunswick, one of the country’s smallest provinces, to strengthen traditional ties during the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.

The confederation was the process by which the British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were united into one Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. Many of the early Canadian settlers emigrated from Scotland, including the Hebrides, and that heritage is still celebrated in songs on both sides of the Atlantic.

Singer-songwriter Tristan Horncastle, female fiddlers and dancers the Lumber Jills and children’s music act Shelley Bean & The Duckety Muds will perform at HebCelt, which is being held from 19-22 July and will be headlined by The Waterboys, Imelda May, Dougie Maclean and Lucy Spraggan.

This year’s Canadian invasion has its roots in meetings HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan had while attending the East Coast Music Week (ECMW) in Sydney, Nova Scotia, last April.

She said: “The event was a real eye opener on the wider Canadian east coast music scene.

“We know of and have hosted at HebCelt artists from Quebec and Cape Breton over the years, the latter with whom we Hebrideans have a natural affinity.

“The opportunity to showcase artists from New Brunswick is very welcome and I’m convinced that those we have chosen this year will not only add to the variety of our programming but will be embraced by our audiences.”

Since releasing his first EP in 2011, Tristan Horncastle has shared stages with the likes of Travis Tritt, Dean Brody and LeAnn Rimes. In 2015 he was nominated in the Canadian Country Music Association Awards’ Rising Star category and the Canadian Radio Music Awards for Best New Group or Solo Artist in the Country category.

The Lumber Jills are all aged under 20, but have won multiple awards for their heritage music and dancing. They are making their first visit to Scotland, having promoted their culture across Canada and Ireland, as well as Belgium and France.

Shelley Bean has been working with children for over 20 years, mixing traditional music, dance and entertainment.