Skye musician ‘At Home’ in Edinburgh Festival showcase

Multi-award-winning Skye piper Brìghde Chaimbeul is one of the stars of the EIF’s At Home programme. Photo credit: Steve Bliss.

Multi-award-winning Skye piper Brìghde Chaimbeul has been chosen as one of the stars of the Edinburgh International Festival’s At Home digital programme showcasing a wealth of talented artists from around the globe.

A native Gaelic speaker from Sleat, Brìghde’s style is rooted in her native language and culture but also takes inspiration from a variety of global traditions – she also plays both traditional Great Highland bagpipe and the revived Scottish smallpipes. 

The EIF commissioned Glasgow-based production company Forest of Black to produce five short films in unique Edinburgh locations, each creating an intimate portrait of an artist featured in this year’s Festival programme.

Brìghde was selected as one of the five artists and her performance was released online on Thursday 11th November and is available to audiences around the world to view for free from the comfort of their home.

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Brìghde Chaimbeul in action. Photo credit: Carl Batson

Speaking to the Free Press, the south Skye star said she was delighted to be able to share her love of old Gaelic songs with a wider audience.

“I was asked to be part of this series of videos which are all three to four minutes long. I filmed a piece in Leith Theatre, where I performed an old Gaelic song Clann Ulaidh.

“I always want to share the tunes that I am playing and the Gaelic connection through the small pipes. A lot of the music I play comes from old Gaelic songs – it is nice to be able to share that section of the music world with people, I was delighted to be able to do the video.

“There is always a good energy with the festival, to be in Edinburgh at that time was exciting. It is nice for Gaelic to be part of it – as there are all different types of genres and musicians taking part.”

She added: “If people ask where you come from and you say Skye, they say, ‘what a beautiful place’ and they are really interested to know more about it.”

Brìghde’s appearance as one of the acts selected for the prestigious At Home programme follows hot on the heels of a performance to remember at this year’s festival, which also saw her played in Australia.

“I was part of the opening show which was called Macro – which is a collaboration between Scottish musicians which included myself, Aidan O’Rourke, and Kathleen MacInnes, and an Australian acrobat group called Gravity and Other Myths, it was a partnership with the Adelaide Festival.

“We went over there in March and performed in the opening concert of the festival there and then performed at the Edinburgh Festival.”

Despite having experienced a busy year so far, Brìghde is firmly focussed on her new project which will culminate in the release of her new album next spring.

Speaking from Ireland last week, where she was due to perform as part of a festival, she told the Free Press: “Hopefully I will have a new album coming out at the end of March or April, I am just working on that at the moment, when that’s out I will hopefully have a gig in Skye.

She added: “It is mainly a solo record, but I have worked with a few other musicians on some of the songs. All the tracks are inspired by folklore and Gaelic stories.

“I am looking forward to sharing that new material.”

As well as the festival slot, last week Brìghde was announced as one of 10 recipients of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards for artists 2022.

The award, in the form of £60,000 over three years, supports artists at pivotal points in their careers – with no conditions regarding how it should be used.

The foundation has recognised a total 337 different artists through the awards since they were established in 1994.

Article by Adam Gordon.