Hogmanay Hootenanny

Emily Smith sitting on a chair in a barley field
Emily Smith sitting on a chair in a barley field

The Land, The Light, The Locals has announced its programme for Hogmanay 2013/14.

The Border music festival opens with the Emily Smith Band on Sunday, December 29, in Denholm Hall.

Hailing from Dumfriesshire, Emily won the 2002 BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year, and went on to be voted Best Scots Singer at the 2008 Scots Traditional Music Awards. Last year she received two nominations in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

Emily is described as ‘one of Scottish music’s most distinctively sublime voices’, with a love of traditional song.

Her promoter writes: “Emily’s gift for finding a personal connection in these passed-down, anon-penned words is still at the heart of her craft,.

“Her face has been all over the telly thanks to BBC Four’s Transatlantic Sessions, BBC One’s Songs of Praise, Scotland’s Hogmanay Live, BBC Ulster’s Santer and an exclusive performance for Sky Arts Channel.”

Emily and her band will be ably supported at the opening concert by Selkirk’s own Gael Force.

The Gordon Arms Hotel in the Yarrow Valley is the venue for the free lunchtime session the following day, when Shankend Mac and Tommy Roseburgh will host the first traditional session.

Later in the evening, local charity Hawick Sings are the hosts for a concert in the town’s Burns Club, putting a tremendous array of local talent on display.

Tuesday, December 31, is Auld Year’s Day, and the lunchtime session as always will be in the Jedburgh’s Royal Hotel, hosted by the inimitable Les Sneddon and Wattie Robson.

Then it’s back to Denholm School in the evening for the showcase event, the Hogmanay Ceilidh, where revellers can dance through the bells to the Jock Thompson Band.

Festival organiser Kenny Spiers said: “The Scots have always seen the 31st and 1st as the most important days of our calendar, a time for reflecting upon the year that has passed and for looking forward to the year to come.

“Here, we always begin with our New Year’s Day walk, a great way to blow away the cobwebs and to remind ourselves of how lucky we are to live in such beautiful surroundings.

“Then all roads lead to Ashkirk Village Hall, where you will be served a traditional Herd’s Supper, and treated to some of the best entertainment the Borders has to offer, led by hosts John Nicol and Hilary Bell.

“Finally, for those left standing, there will be an evening session at Denholm’s Fox and Hounds Inn.

“Our farewell session will be once more at the Denholm Meet, where host Simone can offer you Italian cuisine while you listen or join in with our local musicians.

“Our final destination is The George and Abbotsford Hotel, Melrose, for our Survivors’ Concert with Real Time, featuring Eilidh Grant, andspecial guest Kieran Halpin.

“We have managed yet again to hold the festival ticket price at an incredibly low £55, so hopefully you’ll come and join our traditional Hogmanay celebrations at the friendliest wee festival around.”

Details are available on thelandthelightthelocals.co.uk or by calling 01450 870664. Emily Smith and Hogmanay Ceilidh tickets are also available from www.borderevents.com/boxoffice