Lori excited for festival return

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Innerleithen is the place to be for Borders tunesmiths this weekend as it stages its annual music festival.

The town will host a diverse range of artists and guests from all over the world, offering an exciting programme of music.

Organisers hope Hurricane Bertha has well and truly left the building by tomorrow night as the festival is set to get off to a cracking start with a performance by hugely popular folk duo Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham.

And they won’t be taking to the stage alone – they will be joined at their 7.30pm concert by special guests Sophie Dyer and Seaoras Dyer.

The three opening acts will pave the way for a weekend of high-calibre music that continues on Saturday with a concert featuring the Robyn Stapleton Band, the Merlin Music Academy, Fiona Black and one other performer who should be well known to the Borders audience – Birgham fiddle player Lori Watson.

Lori has performed at the music festival once before but this year she will form half of a duo alongside Fiona.

The talented pair have only been performing together this year, but have already had gigs at an international film festival in Madeira, in Sweden, and slightly closer to home, in Glasgow.

Fiona hails from the Highlands but has a great reputation on the music scene throughout Scotland, which is how Lori came to hear her.

She revealed: “As soon as I heard her fantastic accordion playing I knew I wanted to work with her.

“We had to wait a while for us both to be free, but then a window opened up and it’s working out really well.

“Our debut together in Madeira was fantastic. One of the organisers of the film festival was from Berwick – small world – and we were booked to play at a Scottish ceilidh there.

“It was a great night. There was a man there who said he’d never danced with his wife before but he did that night. We’re changing lives all over the world!”

As well as enjoying her newly formed musical partnership with Fiona, Lori has a number of other projects she is working on, including one with two musicians in Norway who she first met during a trip in 2005.

“The geographical distance makes things a bit tricky – rehearsing over email isn’t so easy,” she joked.

Lori went on: “We’ve only performed a few gigs so far. We tend to just rehearse in the lead up to which ever event we’re playing.

“They are great musicians and it would be fantastic to bring them over here – they need to play Innerleithen some time.”

The festival is an event Lori holds in high regard as both a performer and fan.

She told us: “It’s one of a really good festival network in the Borders, which is important in providing a focal point for the local music scene and its performers, and also in bringing in inspiration for the musicians with bigger named acts.

“It might only be a relatively small festival, but Innerleithen attracts some big musicians and the programming is always top class.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing Aly and Phil, The Shee and Robyn Stapleton – she’s a fantastic singer.”

Saturday’s concert will begin at 12.45pm and the evening concert featuring The Shee and Boys of the Lough will start at 7.15pm. Sunday’s lineup includes The Ladykillers, Kirsty Law and The Fisher Lassies.