The Islay Sessions Traditional Music Festival continued its success at the second weekend of November, and after three successive years it is now a firm fixture in the Islay calendar. Three days of great music were provided by some of the best traditional musicians in Scotland. For the first time, the Islay Sessions weekend started with an evening ceilidh at Laphroaig Distillery. This was a lovely opening to the weekend and the performances of the talented youngsters of FÃ¨is Ã’igridh ÃŒle agus DhÃ¬ura playing alongside some of the big names of the trad music world was the perfect example of what the Islay Sessions is all about.
Workshops the following morning continued the Islay Sessions tradition of giving opportunities for aspiring musicians. It was great to see musicians of all ages playing together, and their work was rewarded when they came together to give a beautiful performance after only a few hoursâ€™ practice.
The highlight of the weekend was undoubtedly the grand concert at Bruichladdich Hall on the Saturday night. With four acts of the highest quality, it was an incredible evening. Daniel Thorpe played with elegance, panache and unstoppable energy. Accompanied by Islay favourite, Innes Watson, the former Young Traditional Musician of the Year set the pace for the rest of the evening. Daniel was followed by a set of beautiful tunes sung by Hannah Beaton, with Innes providing the perfect guitar performance to support to her rich voice. Continue reading....
After the break, the remarkable Ross Couper and Tom Oakes took to the stage. Rossâ€™s fiddle playing was breathtaking and was matched in style and excitement by Tomâ€™s exceptional guitar playing. The Jarlath Henderson Band brought together an eclectic mix of styles with Hamish Napier on keyboards and Euan Burton on double bass. Jarlath led the band through a wealth of memorable tunes, demonstrating why he is a three times â€˜All-Ireland Championâ€™ Uilleann piper.
The weekend was rounded off with some fantastic sessions in the Bridgend and Port Charlotte Hotels, and promises from everyone to come back for more. So the fourth Islay Sessions is already being planned, to take place from the 7th to the 9th of November 2014. Definitely a date for the diary.