The multi-million-selling singer songwriter KT Tunstall and award-wining duo The Shires are the latest headliners to be announced for the Hebridean Celtic Festival this summer.
Eight years after last appearing at the internationally-renowned festival, KT Tunstall will top the bill on the Friday of HebCelt week, which runs from 17-20 July in Lewis and Harris.
The Shires will headline the Saturday programme of the event, which is being held for the 24th consecutive year.
HebCelt also confirmed eleven other acts, including Newton Faulkner, one of the UK’s most successful singer songwriters. They join the previously announced Tide Lines, Talisk and FARA in a strong and diverse line-up that showcases the vibrant Scottish traditional and contemporary music scene.
Weekend tickets for this year’s festival also went on sale today from www.hebceltfest.com
KT Tunstall’s career was launched in 2004 with the release of her debut album ‘Eye to the Telescope’ which went on to sell over five million copies. The following year she outsold every other female artist in the UK and went on to be nominated for a Mercury Prize, BRIT Award for Best British Live Act.
In 2006, she won an Ivor Novello best song award for ‘Suddenly I See’ and in 2007 ‘Black Horse and the Cherry Tree’ earned her a Grammy. She relocated to California in 2012 and was accepted as one of six annual fellows for the Sundance Film Institute’s Composers Lab (hosted by George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch in Northern California) and has since scored music for short and feature films.
KT is currently on tour following the release last year of her sixth album ‘WAX’, the second part of a ‘spirit, body and mind’ trilogy.
She said: “I can’t wait to come back and play HebCelt. It’s an excellent festival with a great vibe. A real diamond of the summer.”
The Shires were formed in 2013 when Ben Earle made a plea on Facebook for a female singer with a mutual love of country music. A year later, he and Crissie Rhodes signed for Decca Records and have gone on to play Glastonbury, tour with Irish chart-toppers The Corrs, present awards at the C2C (Country to Country) awards and release two gold-certified albums.
The Shires also became the first UK act to win a prestigious CMA Award, the Jeff Walker Global Artist Award, which recognises achievements from artists outside the US.
Their third album, ‘Accidentally on Purpose’, released last year, was made in Nashville where the duo have made a name for themselves in the home of country music. It features a track, ‘Stay and Night’ which was written by Ed Sheeran who is one of the many leading writers who are fans.
They said: “We are both so excited to be playing the festival. Looks like a magical place to play, and Scottish audiences are always amazing.”
Festival director Caroline Maclennan said: “KT Tunstall is one of our greatest singer songwriters and a brilliant live performer. Many HebCelt fans will remember her wonderful show here in 2011 and we are very excited that she will be back in Stornoway this summer.
“We are also thrilled that The Shires have joined our line-up. They are outstanding artists who have rightly won acclaim, both here and in the US, and we look forward to seeing them on the HebCelt stage.”
Celebrating a decade in music, Newton Faulkner has sold more than 1.5 million records, with 180 million streams, making him one of the UK’s most successful singer-songwriters this millennium. Last year he took to the stage in Jeff Wayne’s UK Arena tour of The War of the Worlds.
He comes to HebCelt as part of a major UK tour in the spring and releases a 31-track album ‘The Very Best of Newton Faulkner…So Far’ next month. It will feature fans’ favourites, new songs and some newly-recorded live versions of iconic songs, including Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
The HebCelt line-up so far looks like:
Thursday - Tide Lines, Mànran, Kim Carnie, Beinn Lee.
HebCelt favourites Mänran are one of the best-loved Scottish bands on the scene today. Their 2011 debut single ‘Latha Math’ began their meteoric rise which saw them playing many of the most prestigious festivals in Europe a few months after forming. A multi-award-winning debut album followed and the band have not stopped since, with appearances across Scotland and Europe.
Acclaimed contemporary Gaelic singer Kim Carnie has many other strings to her bow. She is the voice of THQ Nordic’s ‘Black Mirror’, the first videogame to feature Gaelic song, and also appears on the second, ‘The Bard’s Tale’, a live premiere of which was performed at Celtic Connections recently.
A law graduate, she has soundtrack and on-screen appearances in Netflix’s ‘Outlaw King’ and is also a sought-after Gaelic TV presenter.
Kim released her debut EP in 2017, featuring some of the best names in the folk scene, and has since performed across Europe and made eight appearance at last year’s Celtic Connections, including with Niteworks, with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, as part of an ensemble of Gaelic singers and in two sold-out shows with her own band.
Six-piece traditional outfit, Beinn Lee, from Uist, released their debut album ‘Osgarra’ last year and will issue a new single this spring.
Formed in 2013, the band’s combination of accordion, fiddle, pipes/flute, guitar, piano, drums and vocals have made them increasingly in demand at festivals, including HebCelt and Celtic Connections, and they have also supported artists such as Sharon Shannon.
Friday - KT Tunstall, Newton Faulkner, Fara, Breabach, Roseanne Reid and The Youth And Young.
The multi award-winning contemporary folk band Breabach continue to build their reputation of being at the forefront of the UK’s world and roots music scene. Last year they performed tours in Australia, Canada and Europe and released their sixth studio album ‘Frenzy of the Meeting’.
The success follows the band picking up Best Folk Band and Best Album titles at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards in 2016, as well as nominations for Best Group at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and European Album of the Year in the Songlines Music Awards.
Edinburgh singer songwriter Roseanne Reid was nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 2015 and in the same year was selected by Steve Earle for a scholarship at his song writing camp in New York. He selected her for a scholarship again the following two years.
Her debut album was recorded in Brooklyn and features a duet with Steve Earle, who described her as an outstanding songwriter.
Last year her song ‘Amy’ helped her win the Lyrics Only category in the prestigious International Songwriting Competition, where the judges include Lorde andTom Waits.
The Youth And Young are an eight-piece band from the east coast of Scotland who play “panoramic indie-folk”. Formed in 2012, they released an EP and single the following year and in 2016 issued their debut album ‘Gestures’. They are currently recording a new record and their HebCelt appearance will be one of few 2019 live performances.
Saturday - The Shires, Elephant Sessions, Talisk, Jake Morrell, Awkward Family Portraits and Keir Gibson
Elephant Sessions, who exploded onto the indie folk scene in recent years, will release their third album next month, ahead of visits to the US and Australia and a welcome return to HebCelt during a UK tour.
Having appeared at some of the world’s most notable festivals, they notched up a number of accolades last year including winning Album of the Year at the Trad Awards, being shortlisted for Best Group at the BBC Radio 2 Awards and collecting the first Belhaven Bursary for innovation in music. They were also shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year and performed at the Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations.
Jake Morrell, from Norfolk, came to attention after featuring on Dermot O’Leary’s Radio 2 Show. One influential listener was Glastonbury boss Emily Eavis, who asked Jake to perform at the iconic festival.
His debut single ‘Wire and Thorns’ reached No.2 in the iTunes country charts on the first day of release and led to Jake being invited to perform at the C2C festival.
Glasgow-based Awkward Family Portraits have been playing roots music to the streets of Glasgow since 2016 and Keir Gibson, from Fort William, got his start in music by uploading cover versions of his favourite artists to Facebook which led to an invite to play the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival last summer. A debut single is due for release in early 2019.