Published: 08/05/2014 00:30 - Updated: 07/05/2014 09:39

Inverness band win HebCelt appearance

Ho-ro at this year's Celtic Connections Festival.

A YOUNG Inverness band formed by chance just over a year ago will join international stars at this year’s HebCelt Festival on the Isle of Lewis.

Hò-rò beat competition from all over the UK to win the One Step Further contest, held annually by the Hebridean Celtic Festival to find the best young acts.

The group will now perform on Saturday 19th July on the main festival stage which will also host headliners Levellers, Big Country and Donnie Munro.

It comes after the four-piece, described as a contemporary trad/Gaelic and Celtic group, won a Danny Kyle Open Stage at Celtic Connections award in January. The band have also recently secured slots at two Celtic music festivals in Italy.

Hò-rò comprises 21-year old Sean Cousins from Inverness (guitar/percussion); 16-year old Calum MacPhail from Fort William (accordion); 21-year old Lucy Doogan from Ballachulish (vocals/fiddle); and 20-year old Crisdean MacDonald from South Uist (Border pipes/Highland pipes/bodhran).

At HebCelt the line-up will also include 15-year-old drummer Rory Grindlay, from West Calder, who has been making a name for himself on YouTube after posting drum covers from a range of different music styles.

"Winning the One Step Further competition is a huge deal for us because this festival has hosted so many amazing bands/ musicians over the years, some of which are idols of ours," Cousins said.

"It gives us the opportunity to show what we are about to a large audience and we are so grateful that we are able to do this. The festival has always received amazing reviews and has always been at the top of our list of places we want to play."

Hò-rò, was formed as a three-piece last March when Cousins was working as a waiter in a hotel.

His boss needed entertainment for a dinner party and Cousins got a few friends together for what was expected to be a one-off concert.

"But the feedback we received was amazing so we couldn’t just leave it", he said.

"Before we knew it, we were playing full time as Hò-rò."

HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said: "Hò-rò is a worthy winner of the contest. The standard this year was again extremely high, but the group’s energy and musicianship stood out and I think it will be a big hit with our audience."

The 19th HebCelt Festival will be held from 16th to 19th July and will also include performances by Cara Dillon, Rachel Sermanni, Duncan Chisholm, the Magnolia Sisters and Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys.

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