The Islay Sessions is a folk festival based on the Isle of Islay, featuring a weekend of concerts from some of Scotland's finest traditional folk musicians. We are delighted to announce that this year's Islay Sessions will take place from 26th to 28th November in the Port Charlotte Hotel and Bruichladdich Hall. All concerts will also be available to view here, live streamed.

26th Nov 7:30pm GMT

Friday Concert

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27th Nov 7:30pm GMT

Saturday Concert

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28th Nov 7:30pm GMT

Sunday Concert

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The Concerts

Artists

Rura

Rura

“One of the most exciting bands on the Scottish folk scene” (Songlines, ★★★★★), RURA are a multi award-winning act, and one of Scotland’s most popular folk-based bands. The quartet’s compellingly fiery, rugged yet refined and progressive instrumentals on fiddle, Highland pipes, flute, guitar, keyboards and bodhran has placed them firmly at the forefront of 21st century Scottish folk. RURA celebrated their tenth anniversary in 2020 with the release of their hotly anticipated live album, Live at the Old Fruitmarket - recorded in front of a capacity crowd in February 2020 at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival. Their debut live record follows three critically acclaimed studio releases – most recently, 2018’s lauded In Praise of Home, inspired by themes of belonging, heritage, and a sense of place. In their decade together, Jack Smedley, Steven Blake, David Foley and Adam Brown’s entrancing, euphoric live shows have been a main stage highlight of many of the world’s leading folk festivals – including Cambridge (England), Tønder (Denmark), Woodford and (Australia), WOMAD New Zealand, Edmonton (Canada) and HebCelt (Scotland), amongst countless others across more than 20 countries. Television audiences alongside have been in their millions, including BBC1’s Hogmanay Live, broadcast live to the world over New Year 2016/2017 from Glasgow’s iconic Old Fruitmarket - where they returned to record their five-star live album. “the perfect soundtrack to a Scottish summer” The Skinny “RURA are one of the most dynamic bands in Celtic music, at the very leading edge of Scotland’s traditional revival.” Irish Music Magazine “genuinely stirring stuff… there’s something very exciting about RURA” Fatea “a brilliant fusion of the old and the new” The Herald

Jenn Butterworth

Jenn Butterworth

Jenn Butterworth is one of the most notable folk guitarists in the UK acoustic music scene.  She currently holds the title ‘Musician of the Year’ from the Scots Trad Music Awards, and was nominated for the same title in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.  An excellent collaborator, she has been a key member of a range of high profile folk music projects, including Ross Ainslie and Ali Hutton’s SYMBIOSIS Big Band, award winning folk powerhouse Kinnaris Quintet, three Celtic Connections New Voices, four years on the BBC Hogmanay Live show as a member of the All Star House Band and recently a member of folk supergroup ‘Songs of Separation’ involving an array of prominent folk artists including Eliza Carthy, Lady Maisery and Karine Polwart.  The Songs of Separation album, conceived, arranged and recorded in just 7 days, won the title of ‘Best Album’ at the Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2017.

Based in Glasgow, Scotland, she is a lynchpin of the vibrant and thriving Scottish folk scene, performing regularly with a wide range of artists including her own projects ‘Jenn Butterworth & Laura-Beth Salter’, ‘Kinnaris Quintet’ and experimental folk-jam group ‘The Blas Collective’.

In recent years she has performed on a host of award winning and nominated studio albums, including Kinnaris Quintet’s ‘Free One’, which was longlisted for Scottish Album of the Year in 2019.  Kinnaris Quintet was also nominated for Folk Band of the Year at the 2018 Scots Trad Music Awards, and the Horizon Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

Jenn works as regular accompanist for acclaimed fiddle player Ryan Young; they were nominated for Folk Band of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2018, and are the only UK act to have been selected to perform at Womex 2019 in Tampere, Finland.

Jenn is also a highly recognised teacher with a wide range of teaching experience, and was recently awarded ‘Tutor of the Year’ at the 2015 Scots Trad Music Awards.  She is Lecturer in Practical Studies in the Traditional Music Department of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, is a regular member of the teaching staff for Glasgow Fiddle Workshop and has recently taught for Fèisean nan Gàidheal, the National Youth Folk Ensemble (EFDSS), Halsway Manor & Burg Fürsteneck (Germany).

Rachel Hair

Rachel Hair

Maeve Mackinnon

Maeve Mackinnon

Her voice has been described by Mark Radcliffe (BBC Radio 2) as “exquisite”, and Songlines magazine described her 2018 release as, “an album of stunning Gaelic songs delivered by an equally stunning Gaelic voice”. 

 

Amidst award nominations and wins, Maeve has released three solo albums in 10 years to critical acclaim. In 2015 she was the featured soloist in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo playing to capacity crowds of 3000 per night. Between albums, Mackinnon has toured internationally as well as at home with her own band, as well as with renowned groups such as The Stepcrew, Salsa Celtica and McFall’s Chamber. 

 

She appears at the Islay Sessions with the fantastic “young team”, Luc McNally (guitar) and David Foley (flute).

David Foley & Jack Smedley

David Foley & Jack Smedley