The guitar's the star as folk season begins

The guitar's the star as folk season begins

Edinburgh Folk Club begins its autumn programme with visits from two of Europe's foremost acoustic guitar pickers.

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Vienna-based Dutch blues guitarist, singer and songwriter Hans Theesink opens the season on Wednesday September 17, followed by Wizz Jones, an influence on Eric Clapton, Ralph McTell and a legion of others, on September 24.

Also featuring at the weekly sessions in the Pleasance Cabaret Bar are singer Mick West and his band, Bronx-born Appalachian specialist Bruce Molsky and imminent inductees into the Scottish traditional music hall of fame, The Whistlebinkies.


Preston pulls the heart strings

Ayrshire-based pioneer of the integrated percussive style of acoustic guitar playing, New York-born Preston Reed, has inspired guitarists all over the world via his YouTube videos.

One of these is Usman Riaz, from Pakistan, who has gone on to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston and whom Reed will meet again when he visits the college on his imminent US tour to play a concert and give a masterclass.

The pair previously met in Edinburgh two years ago and the YouTube video of their duet has now been viewed 1.7 million times.

Before flying to the US, Reed plays his annual Fringe concert at the Acoustic Music Centre @ St Bride's this Sunday.


How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline has announced its programme of jazz, folk and roots music for this autumn. Celtic Connections 2104 hits, Pennsylvania's Stray Birds appear on September 10, followed by leading Irish traditional music bands Altan and Lunasa, jazz drummer Ollie Howell and pianist Philip Clouts with their respective bands, and Shetland-Scandinavian fiddle trio Nordic Fiddlers Bloc.

New Jersey singer-songer Greg Trooper, Austin, Texas-based country singer Zoe Muth and old-time Americana-meets acoustic psychedelia band the Wiyos also feature.


All eyes on Skye Book Festival

Even as the Edinburgh one packs up its tents, the Skye Book Festival will be gearing up to kick off, running September 4 to 6.

Two local books will be launched at this year's event: Norman Macdonald and Cailean Maclean's Great Book of Skye, and Scenery of Dreams, by Morag Henriksen. The Great Book of Skye is the most comprehensive study of Skye people ever attempted, compiled almost entirely through research from original sources.

Scenery of Dreams is a poignant collection of short stories and illustrations, illuminating life in the Highlands and Islands.

The author of Scenery of Dreams, Morag Henriksen, will also sing at the Skye Book Festival's opening event, a guided tour to commemorate Màiri Mhòr nan Òran. Màiri Mhòr was a nurse from Skeabost, Skye, and a prolific and politically significant songwriter, writing songs of exile, praise, hope and protest.