Islay Sessions

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This year’s Islay Sessions kicks off from November 17-19, with Tannara, Joy Dunlop, Jenn Butterworth and Laura-Beth Salter lined up to play at the Saturday night concert.

Scottish four-piece Tannara play contemporary Scottish folk music: considered, complex, arrangements that surround original tunes, modern tunes and traditional ballads. Nominated Up and Coming Artist at the 2016 Scots Trad Music Awards, the band’s debut album Trig was produced by BBC Radio Folk Award winner Rachel Newton, and released in 2016.

Crowned Traditional Singer of the Year and Traditional Dance Champion at the 2015 Pan Celtic Festival, Joy Dunlop is a Gaelic singer and step-dancer from Argyll. Her singing career is the result of a lifelong fascination with Scotland’s traditional music and has led her all over the world, from major Celtic festivals to touring the UK, Europe, Canada and New Zealand.

Joy Dunlop

Through her singing, she showcases Gaelic music and song in a contemporary way that always remains true to its roots. Nominated as Gaelic Singer of the Year 2016, 2011 and 2010, she has also won both the coveted Royal National Mòd Gold Medal and the Oban Times Gold Medal.

Jenn and Laura-Beth have each been a presence on the UK folk scene for a number of years and released their debut album Bound in 2016. They were brought together by the close-knit and progressive Glasgow folk music community, spending lots of their time jamming an eclectic mix of folk music from across the globe, particularly the UK, Scandinavia and America.

Following the Islay Sessions’ successful Concerts in the Conservatory in 2016, this year’s festival will kick off with an intimate acoustic gig in Port Charlotte Hotel’s conservatory with Adam Sutherland and Marc Clement.

Adam hails from Errogie on the south shores of Loch Ness, and is one of Scotland’s most exciting fiddle players and composers. Joined on this occasion by fellow Session A9 member Marc Clement, Adam will showcase his fine talent with music from his debut solo album Squall and his upcoming second album.


Sunday’s Conservatory Concert will give listeners a rare chance to see multi-instrumentalist Innes Watson perform solo. Innes has carved himself a deep groove in the face of contemporary and traditional folk music of Scotland, which lead to him being awarded Instrumentalist of the Year at the 2009 Scots Trad Music Awards.

Alongside these concerts will be informal folk sessions in the Port Charlotte Hotel bar, including a ‘slow session’ for beginners and improvers of all ages on Saturday afternoon. A whisky tour of Islay will also be running over the weekend.

Workshops for musicians of all ages will take place Saturday morning, and the participants of this will also gain a performance opportunity with the band at the night time concert in Bruichladdich.