Capercaillie celebrates 30 years in the limelight on BBC ALBA


It is easy to forget that not so long ago, Scotland’s traditional music landscape was in a perilous state.

The 1970s were a period of uncertainty, few children were choosing to learn instruments, folk clubs were a small, niche affair, and it simply wasn’t ‘cool’ to play traditional music.

However, it is against this backdrop, a group of Oban High school pupils decided to combine their musical talents and form a folk band.

Fast-forward through the intervening 30 years and that young school band, Capercaillie, have achieved a position on the global music stage that, at the time of their forming, would have been unthinkable.

BBC ALBA’s compelling documentary ‘Capercaillie@30’ takes viewers on the road, accompanies the band to a selection of their live international gigs and offering a unique glimpse of life on tour. 

The programme – airing on Christmas Eve - sets out to tell two remarkable, parallel stories.

2013 sees Capercallie set out on their 30th year together, a year that was to be full of memorable moments.

The doc follow this year in the intimate company of the band, who paint a candid picture of their life’s work, charting the career and continued success of one of Scotland’s most respected musical outfits. 

Alongside this main narrative, the film interweaves the story of our cultural and musical landscape, from a time of obscurity and decline, up to the present day when, as a nation, we have a renewed confidence and pride in our music and culture.

‘Capercaillie@30’ tells of their growth and not insignificant achievements: to date they have sold over a million albums world wide; they were the first to achieve a Gaelic song in the UK Top 40; their music was the soundtrack to Hollywood blockbuster Rob Roy, and they have performed in over thirty countries including Iraq, Macedonia and the Sudan.

A rich archive of TV and film work illustrates the developing sound of the band, who were never afraid to reinvent their style in order to remain at the forefront of the genre.

Throughout the programme viewers will hear from musical legends including Phil Cunningham MBE, Donal Lunny, Allan MacDonald and Mary Ann Kennedy.

Capercaillie is one of only a few bands, from any genre, who can claim an unbroken 30 year relationship.

Their music has been taken into the hearts of the European audience and blazed a trail for others to follow.

‘Capercaillie@30’ has been produced by Bees Nees Media for BBC ALBA and will be broadcast on Christmas Eve, Tuesday 24th December at 9pm.