So Fara, so good at Kelso’s fantastic folk music festival

Fara appears on the first night of the Kelso Folk Festival.
Fara appears on the first night of the Kelso Folk Festival.

Borders folk music fans are in for a treat this September, as Kelso Folk and Acoustic Music Club holds its annual festival in various venues around the town centre.

This will be a weekend of folk music with afternoon and evening concerts featuring some of the best acts on the circuit.

There will also be tutorial workshops on guitar and fiddle, the chance to participate in harmony a cappella singing and swing dance, and open sessions, singarounds and open mics where musicians and singers are welcome to join in.

The events are being sponsored by the Fallago Environmental Fund.

Kicking off on Friday, September 6, the first concert features two great acts – The Hannah Rarity Trio and Fara. Hannah was BBC Radio Scotland’s young traditional musician of the year in 2018 and featured as ‘one to watch in 2018’ in the Scotsman.

She has a sublime voice that imbues the music she performs with a depth of emotion that is inimitable, making her one of Scotland’s foremost young singers.

Fara brings together four leading musicians at the forefront of today’s Scottish folk scene – Jennifer Austin, Kristan Harvey, Jeana Leslie and Catriona Price’s three fiddles and a piano produce a fiery sound rooted strongly in their upbringing among the music of Orkney.

On the Saturday afternoon, Viper Swing’s hot string jazz performance promises infectious rhythms, joyful improvisations and gravelly vocals that evoke the swing-era spirit of the 1920s, 30s and 40s.

Their repertoire includes works by legendary gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, songs from the Great American Songbook and original compositions – along with swing arrangements of modern pop songs (Michael Jackson, Abba, and Daft Punk, to name a few).

On the Saturday evening the magnificent Old Blind Dogs come to the fore – one of Scotland’s national treasures and with a long pedigree of playing and recording that have garnered awards and praise galore – for an evening of lively music, no doubt brilliantly performed.

They are supported by Irish multi-instrumentalist Seamie O’ Dowd, a guitarist, singer and songwriter who also plays fiddle, harmonica, mandolin and a number of other instruments. He has travelled worldwide playing music and has shared stages and played with many great musicians and bands.

On the Sunday there is a lunchtime concert that features two young fiddle-guitar duos who are taking traditional music to new levels.

Eryn Rae and Scott Turnbull are both Borders born and play Borders and north of England traditional music, and fiddler/whistle player Rachel Walker and guitarist Daniel Abrahams form two of the three members of the band Dowally, the 2019 Danny Kyle Award winners at Celtic Connections.

Full details of the programme and where to buy tickets for these events can be found at the website www.kelsofolkfest.org