anne lorne’s big birthday bash at blas

Monday 20th July 2015

The musical career of one of Scotland’s foremost entertainers will be marked on the opening night of Blas 2015, Friday 4 September, when the festival celebrates the 70th birthday of Anne Lorne Gillies. Anne’s unique singing style combines classical music training with a deep understanding of Gaelic culture and tradition.

Having benefitted from an education at Oban High School with Iain Crichton Smith and the great Gaelic collector, John MacLean, Anne Lorne went on to win the Mòd Gold Medal as a teenager and has gone on from there to sing at venues world-wide and on television singing alongside many of Scotland and Ireland’s greatest folk and Gaelic performers. She has also enjoyed a distinguished career as an academic and author and was the Scottish Government’s Gaelic Ambassador of the Year in 2009-10.

Inverness has a very special place in Anne’s performing history, having paid many visits during her career to Eden Court Theatre with highlights, she recalls, being the John MacFadyen Memorial Concerts, numerous international festivals and performances, Royal National Mòds and even pantomime specials, with one appearance as Mother Goose to her credit!

Anne’s big birthday bash – Moladh Anna (Celebrating Anne) – will be an opportunity for the Blas Festival to celebrate her many musical achievements with the event at Inverness Cathedral being her first appearance at the festival.

Arthur Cormack of Fèisean nan Gàidheal, who will be making a rare Blas singing appearance at the event, said: “We are delighted to be able to celebrate the career of one of our foremost Gaelic singers at this year’s Blas Festival. Anne is a singer who transcends many musical styles but who has done so much for Gaelic language and education through, for example, her support of the Gaelic Playgroups Movement in the 1980s, her academic work on Gaelic medium education and the pioneering ‘Songs of Gaelic Scotland’ collection which is a must-have publication for anyone interested in Gaelic song. We seem to honour people most often after they have left us but I am delighted Blas will celebrate the voice and career of someone still very much with us.”

Anne said: “It would have been impossible to assemble a cast of absolutely everyone I have worked with over the years but the line-up we have brought together is notable for all sorts of reasons and includes Arthur Cormack, Kathleen MacInnes, as well as one of my own relations Angus Macleod from Inverness. I am more than delighted that my daughters Marsali and Raghnaid will be coming from Sarajevo and England to appear alongside me and my accompanying musicians – Allan Kitchen on piano, Duncan Findlay on guitar, Archie MacAllister on the fiddle and John Sampson – are very special friends and talents. We will also have a piper (or two) and my dearest friend Rhona Mackay on the clàrsach.”

In what promises to be a very special evening, Anne will celebrate her glittering musical career with an extensive selection from her magnificent repertoire of Gaelic Songs and also her array of anecdotes about special occasions and people she has performed with over the years.

Moladh Anna (Celebrating Anne) will be in Inverness Cathedral on Friday, September 4, the opening night of Blas 2015, beginning at 7.30pm.

Established 11 years ago as a result of The Highland Council’s desire to create a festival that would match the vitality of Cape Breton’s Celtic Colours, the Blas festival is now an international event showcasing Highland culture and its continuing success has been welcomed by the Scottish Government and Highland Council.

Blas 2015 will take place at venues across the Highlands and Argyll between 4 and 12 September.

Tickets for all Blas events can be bought online, or by phone, with details on the festival’s website where further information is available on the full programme of events.

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