Music students return to Plockton for concerts

Plockton’s National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music welcomes back some former students for two concerts next week.

First up, on Monday 21st August, are fiddle and piano duo Sally Simpson and Catriona Hawksworth playing a repertoire from the Scottish traditions alongside new compositions and Peach/Skeoch, the imaginatively named new Scottish accordion/harp duo of Tannara members Joseph Peach and Becca Skeoch.

Sally and Catriona’s music is primarily influenced by Scottish music whilst also incorporating elements of traditions from further afield. Both have played together for many years having coincidentally followed similar musical paths.

Sally and Catriona – Photo: Örjan Hallnäs

Both musicians began playing at a young age, learning classical as well as folk and traditional music. They then developed their playing at the RSAMD Junior Academy, followed by some time studying at the National Centre for Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton.

Sally went on to study Scottish Traditional Music at RCS, graduating with a First Class Honours Degree and Catriona is currently studying Folk and Traditional Music at Newcastle University. Both spent a year abroad in Sweden through the Erasmus programmes at their respective universities, which gives their music a unique edge.

Peach/Skeoch Photo: Sean Purser
Peach/Skeoch Photo: Sean Purser

While Peach/Skeoch’s name may not be creative, the same definitely can’t be said for the music.. Like mischievous siblings, the duo push each other, egging each other on making themselves, their instruments and their music form new ways of working together and create original sounds.

No-one has been able to pinpoint the cause of the eccentric streak which runs through their music, but regardless of where the crazy came from, it’s a feature of Peach/Skeoch. Taking melodies from Scotland, England and Scandinavia, by some of their favourite writers for accordion and harp, and approaching them from their unique viewpoint, Peach/Skeoch are an audience’s delight. Live, the duo are joined on percussion and drumkit by Calum McIntyre.

The duos join forces in Plockton Village Hall from 7.30pm with support from some current students of the music school. The following day (Tuesday 22nd August) Eddie Seaman and Luc McNally will take to the stage at 7.30pm with support from some current students of the music school. The duo first met in Glasgow in the autumn of 2013 in a packed session at the Ben Nevis Bar. A friendship was born and the two of them played their first gig at an opening slot for Brian Peters, held at the Star Folk Club on Waterloo Street.

Eddie and Luc
Eddie and Luc

Piper and whistle player Eddie comes from Edinburgh and started playing the chanter at school at the age of 10. For his final year at school he studied at Plockton, and then went on to spend four years studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Singer and guitarist Luc, originally from County Durham, had been introduced to folk music through his work with Folkestra, a youth project run by Kathryn Tickell. Through Folkestra, he learned a great number of traditional songs from that area. He toured frequently with them and performed at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Both members of the group Barluath, Eddie and Luc talked about the idea of releasing a duo EP of some of the tunes and songs that they had been playing in the Ben Nevis Bar. The result, “Headlights”, was released in late 2014 and was met with a great response. Their first full album, “Tirade”, was released in November 2016.

Entry to both concerts is £8 full price and £5 concessions, on the door.