Independence rocks

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One of the most vibrant cultural events to burst from the Borders this summer – Shoogle Aye! – takes place on Saturday.

Held at the MacArts Centre, Bridge Street, in Galashiels, the event boasts an exciting line-up of musicians and spoken-word performers, headlined by techno-ceilidh band Shooglenifty, an internationally-acclaimed six-piece band who have performed for world dignitaries such as Nelson Mandela and Emperor Akihito of Japan.

Shooglenifty’s fiery and infectious blend of Celtic traditional music and dance grooves has created a fan base across the globe since they formed in 1990.

Shooglenifty will be joined by the rock and blues sound of upcoming duo The Weight, the acoustic talents of local legend Neil ‘Cowboy’ Macleod and the Scottish charm of traditional fiddle, song and guitar from Jennie and John Borthwick.

And local actor Matthew Burgess, who has performed several lead roles with the Rowan Tree Theatre Company and Shakespeare-at-Traquair, will also take to the stage, joined by Vanessa Rosenthal, whose career spans theatre, TV, radio and film. Together they will perform Words for the Heart – a rousing selection of poems, lyrics and words from Scottish poets, including John Barbour, Hugh MacDiarmid, Kathleen Jamie and Robert Crawford.

The event is organised by a group of pro-independence artists.

Spokeswoman Lisa Cowan said: “Following the success of Rock Yes! we’re thrilled to announce Shoogle Aye! as our next pro-indy cultural event.

“It is a colourful tribute to Scotland’s artistic past and present as we approach the possibility of an exciting new future.”

Nick Murray, one-half of The Weight and a first-time voter, is thrilled to be part of the occasion.

He said: “We jumped at the chance to perform at Shoogle Aye!

“Not only do we get to share the stage with so many outstanding performers, we’re supporting an event we really believe in.”

Shoogle Aye! is billed as family friendly.

“Everyone is welcome,” said Lisa. “whether you are voting yes, no or you’re still to decide. It’s a celebration of Scottish creativity and artistic talent. We’re expecting a full-house so come early to make sure you’re part of this electric night.”

Shoogle Aye! will be compered by author and BAFTA award winning filmmaker Robert Sproul-Cran and also features the Mighty Oak Soundsystem.

They promise the chance to dance late into the evening to ‘heavy-weight roots reggae and dub-wise selections’.

Saturday’s event starts at 7.30pm. There will be a licensed bar and entry is free, but donations are welcomed.