Where did spring and summer go? I for one have absolutely no idea- and seem to be at the stage that I need to look in my calendar app to remind myself far too regularly!
Its been a wonderful mix of gigs this year. From Celtic Connections, Globalfest, Temple Bar Tradfest, and a lovely tour with the tremendous Duncan Chisholm throughout the spring, promoting his new album, Sandwood.
I also got to Geek out with Uilleann piping weekend in Edzell, organised by pipemaker Iain Kinnear. Pipers look out for this one, Ill be back at it again in the same beautiful location over the last weekend of March 2019.
I had the Pleasure of doing two gigs with English Folk Singer Sam Lee, with his ‘Singing with Nightingales’ Project. They were just lovely- so different!
In late February the Jarlath Henderson band embarked on its first Irish tour- it was great to get back and do some great bands with the full band. Here’s to the next one! Earlier in the month we got to perform a truly special gig in the Guildhall in Derry that went out on BBC Northern Ireland. This was part of Embolc festival- a truly great thing! We were performing with none other than the Ulster Orchestra, conducted and orchestrated by the amazing Paul Campbell. It was definitely a once in a lifetime gig!
I got to spend an amazing week composing music on the Isle of Eigg as part of the Bothy Project. I love Eigg, and really like going there to get away and get ideas out. Great for the soul!
Hamish Napier and myself spent a few weeks in Ireland teaching and composing in Donegal. We were asked to compose a piece for the Inishowen Band Cineal; some absolutely lovely young adults- and seriously talented!
I then ran off to play in the house-band for Soma festival. Some lovely memorable gigs with the Amazing Cathy Jordan, and Dublin Legend, Damien Dempsy. It’s just so much fun to spend your summer working on so many differing projects with amazing folk!
This was followed up with a few Fleadh tv performances; Ross Ainslie and I got a chance to roll back the years and perform with Paul Meehan at the Ulster Fleadh in Castlewelan. Then I did a song-based performance with my sister Alana at the All-Ireland Fleadh in Drogheda. It was so great to get back to a Fleadh!
The Juggernaut that is The Atlantic Arc Orchestra performed at the international Festival of Voice in Cardiff. It was great to collaborate again with Sam Lee, as well and Lisa Jen, and Julie Fowlis. Just amazing vocal music!
I was speaking earlier of once in a lifetime gigs…. well this summer I had another!! I was asked to do the first Folk Prom! It was off to the Albert Hall for a truly special evening of performances with the BBC Concert Orchestra. WooHoo! It was amazing! What an experience!
Then it was a trip over to the Guinness Irish Festival in Switzerland. Perhaps one of the most spectacular sights I’ve seen this summer. Special thanks to Tom Sherlock for dealing with the travel issues- on both the way out- and on the way back!!!!
September so far has consisted of a weekend at the Schotts festival in Belguim, performing with Ross Ainslie and band. We love it here, and Rik and the amazing team are old friends.
And then, a first for me- a weekend at Ceol Cholasa- the Colansay Music Festival. This is without a doubt one of the most forward thinking and diverse music festivals. A really great, unexpected line-up. The organisers really are entertaining and challenging the audience- and they love it!! A real spectacle of creatives and artists. Just amazing!!! I also got a cold Atlantic swim and an encounter with a large whale.
Throughout this crazy year, I’ve managed to revalidate as a doctor and continue to work as a doctor. It’s so good for the head and the soul.
I have also been in the studio recording a really ‘different’ album to the last one. It’s tune-based and acoustic- a mix of self composed tunes and traditional, recorded and played with Duncan Lyall, Innes Watson and Hamish Napier. Aaaand there may be a song or two going on there too. Its refreshing to just play tunes!
What about now. Well… right now, I’m en-route to the US of A for a trio tour with Pablo Lafuente and Hamish Napier with some guest appearances with Utsav Lal. We’re touring in America for the whole month and have some really fun gigs ahead!
After a few small America trips, this is my first big US tour with this album. It’s going to be good to see a bit of the country and meet people. I’m intrigued and excited. Check the dates below and tell your friends! It will be lovely to see you all. And I’m gonna try and send a few blogs when I’m out there.
Hope you are all well, and thanks for getting to the end of this; one of the longest things I’ve written in ages!!!