A Scots band has said that using Gaelic in everyday life is 'essential' to the survival of Scottish culture.

Playing at this year's HebCelt festival on the Isle of Lewis, Tide Lines joined headliners KT Tunstall and The Shires in a weekend of live music.

The four-piece, who formed in 2016, returned for their third-consecutive appearance at the festival - the first time any band has done so in the show's history.

And they performed a stellar set of original songs from their first album, which contains a mixture of songs sung in Gaelic and English.

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“We always make sure there are Gaelic songs in our set, no matter where we are in the world, but particularly when we come to the Hebrides,” explains lead singer Robert Robertson. “Having said that, our own songs are mainly written in English but with very strong Highland themes.

“We write about where we were brought up, the people who surrounded us, and I think Gaelic is prevalent in a thematic sense in our songs.”

The band have travelled throughout the UK and Europe, and always make sure they have several Gaelic songs to play on set.

“It makes people interested – they always come up to us after a gig, and ask if we’re native speakers,” adds guitarist and piper Alasdair Turner.

“We get emails every week asking if we have the translation, and if they can have the lyrics – people would like to see it written down so they can hear the song and have the words there, to have a greater understanding of what the song is about.

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“A lot of people say that some of the Gaelic songs on the album are their favourites, but they’re sad because they don’t know what the song is about. When they have a translation and the lyrics, I think it allows them to become more part of the music that they really like.”

Although none of the boys speak Gaelic natively, all have a connection to the old Scots language and make it their mission to keep it prominent in their music.

They released their first album, Dreams We Never Lost, in 2017, which features a mixture of songs in both English and Gaelic.

And they found that even hosting a meet and greet prior to their headline slot at HebCelt brought them straight back to their Gaelic routes.

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“Some of the really young kids were coming up to us and talking in Gaelic, which was just brilliant,” Robert explained. “There are generations who did not have the language at all, so it’s great to see younger people being encouraged to take it up.

“To me, it shouldn’t even be a question. It is so important. It’s such a large piece of our heritage and culture.

“It’s easy to say that a language is always just a means of communication, but I would just hate to think that all the music and songs that have existed and survived over hundreds of years which are being passed down orally through the generations, will one day still survive but nobody would understand it.”

Although hailing from different areas of Scotland, Robert says playing the main stage at HebCelt 'feels like home'. 

“From us as outsiders, it’s amazing to see the posters in shop windows and have the whole island involved in such a feel-good thing,” he explained. “There’s something really special about coming back to the highlands, and it feels like we’re doing a home gig in a way.”

Tonight, Scots singer KT Tunstall is set to take to the stage in a headline performance to thousands in the 24th year of the festival.