Published: 11/03/2014 11:38 - Updated: 11/03/2014 11:48

HebCelt Festival celebrates Commonwealth connections

The multi-national cast of The Boomerang Project.
The multi-national cast of The Boomerang Project.

STORNOWAY’S Hebridean Celtic Festival is to be one of only two venues in Scotland to host an international, cross-cultural concert being held as part of this year’s Commonwealth Games celebrations.

The Boomerang Project is a major feature of the nationwide Culture 2014 programme, which has been supported by Creative Scotland to mark Glasgow’s hosting of the Games, and will explore and celebrate links between Scottish, Aboriginal and Maori cultures, through language, music and dance.

It combines ancient bagpipe tunes and Gaelic waulking songs with a newly-written Haka pride chant and pieces for the didgeridoo.

The idea was conceived in Glasgow last year and will be premiered at the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) festival in New Zealand this weekend, 14th to 16th March, and then travel to the Homeground Festival at the Sydney Opera House on the 5th and 6th April.

The musical spectacle will visit HebCelt, which will be held from 16th to 19th July on the island of Lewis, before a major concert is held at Glasgow Green on 24th July as part of the Festival 2014 celebrations for the Commonwealth Games.

"Boomerang is a major cultural project which will be an exciting addition to the HebCelt programme in this Year of Homecoming," HebCelt festival director Caroline Maclennan said.

"We are delighted to be included in Boomerang’s list of high profile events and have this opportunity to promote Scotland’s cultural ties with Australia and New Zealand."

Lisa Whytock, the project’s Scottish producer, said: "Boomerang started as an idea between ourselves, the Opera House and WOMAD New Zealand. We wanted to celebrate the similarities of cultures, recognising the indigenous language and traditions of each nation in a contemporary and modern way.

"The historic and cultural links between Australia and New Zealand and the Scottish islands makes HebCelt an ideal venue to take this concert."

Artists taking part include Scottish folk band Breabach, who won the MG ALBA Scots Trad Awards Folk Band of the Year 2012 and Live Act of the Year 2013 awards, and were best group nominees in this year’s Radio 2 Folk Awards.

They will be joined by Maori musician and composer Horomona Horo and Moana and The Tribe, one of the leading exponents of Maori music. Representing Australia will be indigenous singer/songwriter Shellie Morris and Casey Donovan, a singer and actress, who won the second season of the singing competition show Australian Idol, as well as Djakapurra Munyarryun, a traditional dance performer and teacher who took part in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, and dancer and producer Tim Bishop.

Horo and Morris both have Scottish ancestry.

Other acts taking part in the 19th HebCelt Festival include The Levellers, Big Country, Donnie Munro, Cara Dillon, Rachel Sermanni, Duncan Chisholm, Cajun band Magnolia Sisters, Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys from Canada and Edinburgh Americana band The Wynntown Marshals.

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