Denholm folk jig to Irish tune

Riddell Fiddles kick off the Sunday concert in Denholm Church.
Riddell Fiddles kick off the Sunday concert in Denholm Church.
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The 10th Denholm Folk Festival brought three days of Irish, English and Scottish music to the Roxburgh village’s pubs and hall last weekend.

Friday’s Irish night featured guitar virtuoso Maurice Dickson and Catherine Ashcroft on Uillean pipes and whistles, playing Irish songs with the bouzouki, mandolin and bodhran, plus local Derry musician Paul McGinley, and the Harbour Band from The Irishman Bar, Stavanger, who led the late night session.

The headline act was one of the Emerald Isle’s most successful singer-songwriters, Eleanor McEvoy.

“She went down a storm,” the festival’s Kenny Spiers told us. “She’s just terrific, world class. I didn’t know how we would be able to follow it the next night, but we did.”

On Saturday, English duo Chris Wylie and Julie Matthews followed Scottish singer Tich Frier, who entertained folk ahead of his farewell tour next year.

Sunday’s free concert in the church finished the festival, with the under-16 trophy picked up again by Jedburgh fiddler Erin Rae, and the over-16s prize won by East Kilbride duo Fifty Shades of Blue.

Last year, asbestos was discovered in Denholm Village Hall, forcing the folk festival to Denholm Kirk.

“It was nice to get the hall back in the hub of the village,” Mr Spiers commented, “and so we can run our own bar and make a bit of money. We’re okay financially. This is our fifth year ‘free-standing’ – we pay our own way. The whole village was bustling, and we filled the pubs for the sessions. It’s a big boost to the local economy.”