FORGET Sir Tom Jones, will.i.am, Jessie J and Danny O’Donoghue.
Blas 2013 offers its own version of The Voice, or An Guth as part of the festival which begins tonight, as festival director Donna Macrae pointed out.
"Long before Sir Tom and the others took to our screens with the BBC programme The Voice, Blas has been promoting event that feature the unique voices of some of our best Scottish, Canadian and Irish singers," she said.
"We are delighted with the line-up we have this year for An Guth and this really is one of the highlights of the Blas programme. Some of the artists appearing will also be going on to the performances across the Highlands so, even if folk cannot get to Inverness, there will be opportunities to hear them."
The mid-week performance of An Guth, where the focus is on the musical quality of performers’ vocal talents, is a well established part of the Blas Festival.
The 2013 concert will take the stage at the Empire Theatre, Eden Court, Inverness on Thursday, and features some of Scotland and Ireland’s leading singers and musicians, as well as the distinctive delivery of Skye poet Aonghas MacNeacail.
Also appearing is one of Irish traditional music’s brightest stars in Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh.
A fiddler and the lead vocalist for the Irish traditional band Altan, which she co-founded with her late husband Frankie Kennedy in 1985, Ní Mhaonaigh released her first solo album Imeall. She is recognised as a leading exponent in the Donegal fiddle style, and she is often considered as one of the foremost singers in Irish Gaelic.
For Thursday’s show she will be accompanied by Manus Lunny, who is making the first of two visits to Eden Court that week. The following Saturday, 14th September, he will be back on the Empire Theatre stage with Celtic supergroup Capercaillie for the Blas Grande Finale.
Adding to the Irish contingent on Thursday will be Grainne Holland from Belfast, who recently released her debut album "Teanga na nGael". She makes her Blas debut along with her band Donald O’Connor, Tony Byrne and John McSherry.
Acclaimed Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes from South Uist, who recently launched her latest CD "Cille Bhrìde" and sang on the soundtrack to the Ridley Scott film "Robin Hood", will be leading the Scottish home team, which also includes the renowned Inverness Gaelic Choir under the leadership of musical director Mary Ann Kennedy.