By Martin Hardie
There’s nothing quite like the fervour of a frenetic fiddle band to ignite the spirit, and the talent possessed in the bulging ranks of Blazin’ Fiddles is a prime example of Trad done exceptionally well. The Highlands & Islands collective have had their efforts rewarded this month at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Awards in Aberdeen, where they quite rightly picked up the award for Best Folk Band of the Year. They triumphed despite being up against some pretty stiff competition this year provided by the likes of Dallahan, The Tannahill Weavers, and the Iona Fyfe Trio who were all shortlisted for the award.
Congratulations must also be offered to band member Jenna Reid who added to her growing list of Trad Awards honours winning Composer of the Year against a tough all-female shortlist for the award.
Blazin’ Fiddles’ explosive combination of regional fiddling styles has been delighting audiences for the past two decades right across the country from the smallest venues to even the grandest of settings of the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms. The band celebrated its 20th-anniversary last year and look like they are only picking up even more momentum next year when they will go on to perform at Celtic Connections on the 18th of January, alongside the award-winning Dumfriesshire singer Emily Smith.
Blazin’ Fiddles’ return to Inverness will come in the form of a no-doubt rollicking performance at the much anticipated ‘The Gathering’ at the Northern Meeting Park on Sat 30th May 2020. They will be joined by other Traditional behemoths such as Peatbog Faeries, Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Rhythmnreel, Torridon, Trail West and the ever-mighty Wolfstone, who are fresh off their induction to the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame. With a line-up like that, ‘The Gathering’ is sure to be a not to miss date in every Trad enthusiast’s diary for next year.
If you cannot wait ‘til then for your next shot of Trad, founding member of Blazin’ Fiddles Bruce MacGregor is the proprietor of the multi-award-winning MacGregor’s Bar on Academy Street Inverness, where the now legendary Sunday Sessions bring together local musicians for a night of intimate performances and collaborations from the great and the good of talent in the Highlands. Macgregor’s Bar itself has been picking up accolades left and right since opening in 2017, winning titles such as “Best Bar in Scotland” at the Visit Scotland Thistle Awards, “Best Music Bar in Scotland” by the Scottish Licensed Trade Awards, and they were even named the “Best Bar in Highlands” at the Highland Tourism Awards. With this litany of honours festooning their walls, it’s no surprise that MacGregor’s has become the go-to place to experience the best of highland hospitality in Inverness.