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Bothy Culture

2018 Playlist #12


From folk-infused classical music to avant-garde Egyptian electronica, sample the folk and Celtic music throughout this year's programme. 

That first blast of sampled fiddle in Martyn Bennett's "Aye?" is a great soundbite for the folk music that appears at the International Festival this year - it is traditional mixed with contemporary, experimental with traditional roots, Celtic but also international (in Bennett's case, Islamic music heavily influenced his album Bothy Culture). The folk musicians in our programme showcase the genre's continuing versatility today - not least Greg Lawson and the GRIT Orchestra, who return to the International Festival with a stirring orchestration of Bennett's second album on 21 August.

Scottish folk artists Lau will host a special International Festival edition of Lau-Land on 18 August, when they will gather artists that have inspired them for a day of performances, talks, and workshops. They are joined by Nadah El Shazly, who draws partially from classic Egyptian music to create her avant-garde electronic compositions, the avant-folk artist Alasdair Roberts, and the self-described “folk-trance” outfit James Holden & The Animal Spirits. 

Celtic Connections celebrate both the local and global strands of folk music at its curated evening on 13 August with the Scottish Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, who famously captivated the world on the soundtrack for Disney's animated film Brave, and Le Vent du Nord, a Francophone Quebecois band known for their foot-stomping stage presence. 

Also joining the Light on the Shore with Edinburgh Gin Seaside programme are Karine Polwart, who shifts from her usual traditional Scots sound to pay tribute to Scotland's rich pop tradition on 16 August, and King Creosote on 9 August, the Fife-based creator of wistful folk-rock who last charmed the International Festival in 2012 with his soundtrack to the film From Scotland With Love.

Folk influences also find their way into the classical music and theatre programmes. On 11 August, the Takács Quartet play Dvořak’s E flat Quartet, Op 51 - often nicknamed the "Slavonic Quartet" for its roots in the folk traditions of Dvořak’s home country Bohemia - and on 6 August the Dover Quartet play Bartók's String Quartet No 2, which draws from Hungarian peasant music to evoke the genre's improvised spirit. Meanwhile in Geoff Sobelle's HOME, the singer-songwriter Elvis Perkins conjures the troubadour personality with a contemporary mix of Americana and indie rock. 

Other news


National Theatre of Scotland join the 2019 programme with work by Jackie Kay

Red Dust Road, an adaptation of poet Jackie Kay’s memoir, will be premiered at the 2019 International Festival.


Sir Ian McKellen returns to the International Festival

Sir Ian McKellen will return to the International Festival with a new production that celebrates his 80th birthday. Tickets on sale from March 2019.


Francesca Hegyi OBE appointed as Executive Director of Edinburgh International Festival

Having previously studied and worked in Edinburgh, Francesca returns to the city to join the International Festival in February 2019.


Get to know Aidan Oliver, Chorus Director of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus

Aidan Oliver answers some quickfire questions as he prepares to lead the Edinburgh Festival Chorus