Who are these guys?

SIAN brings together 3 of the best Gaelic singers in the business with a focus on performing songs by female Gaelic bards.

Eilidh Cormack has somehow managed to stand out against a strong lineage of Gaelic singers, having won the Ladies Gold Medal at the Mòd and been a semi finalist in BBC Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year. For the next year she takes on the responsibility of Gaelic Ambassador, something she will no doubt excel at.

As a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, winner of the Traditional Gold Medal at the Royal National Mòd and with a Danny Kyle award under her belt,  Ceitlin L R Smith has a wealth of experience performing all over the world as an ambassador to Gaelic song. She has performed nationally and internationally at renowned festivals including Celtic Colours, Festival Interceltique de Lorient, Milwaukee Irish Fest and Celtic Connections.

And 2019 will be a welcome return for one Ellen MacDonald. She graced our wee stage a couple of years back with Gaelic juggernaut Dàimh and what a show it was too! Dàimh keep Ellen pretty busy, but she also has time to perform with Niteworks, act in Gaelic shorts (Briste), act in Gaelic TV dramas (Bannan) and of course perform with SIAN.

Accompanying will be Innes White on guitar. He should be familiar to you if a) you have your finger on the pulse of emerging talent in the trad scene, or b) you read our previous post about Assynt. Yes, Innes will be performing with the newly crowned ‘Up and Coming Band of the Year’, but he will also be lending his considerable talent to SIAN, playing delightfully sympathetic accompaniment on his guitar.

Check out their music (and their stunning collaboration with Niteworks) on their website.

Why bring them to Colonsay?

Gaelic is at our core. Our name is Gaelic, our motto is Gaelic. And so it follows we seek out the best the Gaelic music world has to offer for each running of the festival. This leads to us SIAN. That’s what you get when you bring 3 incredible talents together… the best in the business.

However, that’s not enough for us. Reputation is one thing, but we needed to see if these girls really matched up to the hyperbole. So we planted a mole. One of our own. An inside (wo)man….

On a recent tour of the western isles we had our very own Caitlin McNeill don a fiendish disguise and take over guitar duties. Her skills are such that no one suspected a thing and she was able to gather some impressive intel. Each night she would play a set with Hecla, rush off stage to a secret location, apply the fake beard, glue on the wig, slip into a shirt and tie and take to the stage just feet away from her targets. Incredible dedication to the cause I’m sure you’ll agree.

After an exhaustive week her report finally landed on the desk of Festival Towers. In it she simply wrote: ‘BOOK THESE GUYS, BOOK THEM NOW!!’ So we did. I just hope she remembered to let Innes out of that cupboard….

When can I see them?

The usual disclaimer about the running order not being set in stone applies, but you can likely catch SIAN on Saturday evening. And we would highly recommend that you do.

How do I get to see them?

By purchasing a ticket of course!  Festival passes for Ceòl Cholasa 2019 are £80 and can be bought online (just follow the link). The pass gains you entry to all the concerts in the hall, the stomping late night Ceòl Ceilidh and the workshops. It also entitles you to a seat at hotel gigs (though this is strictly first come, first served).

Remember, Ceòl Cholasa is a limited, bijou event. It’s best to purchase your ticket as soon as possible as then you can rest assured that you will be one of a maximum of only 250 people attending the best wee music festival in the west!