21 Years of the Ceilidh Trail

2020 marked the 21st anniversary the Ceilidh Trail and despite not being able to mark the occasion in the usual style with a summer of musical performances, Fèis Rois released a double album featuring music from former Ceilidh Trail participants.

You can order the 21 Years of the Ceilidh Trail CD at http://feisrois.bandcamp.com/album/21-years-of-the-f-is-rois-ceilidh-trail.

The Ceilidh Trail is a professional development opportunity for young musicians aged 16-25 who are considering a career in traditional music performance. It is also an important cultural tourism initiative.

Fèis Rois was set for a fantastic summer of concerts and cèilidhs throughout Scotland, England, France and Australia to mark the milestone, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisation had to cancel 2020’s programme.

Although we were not able to have musicians out on the road, we were delighted to bring you this very special online concert on 15 August, 2020, showcasing some of the 150+ alumni of this project.

You can watch the concert here and find out more about the artists and check out their websites below the video.

Cèilidh air Chuairt – 21 Years of the Ceilidh Trail

List of Performers

Mairearad Green

Ceilidh Trail 2000-2003
Renowned for her deft and lyrical accordion style, as well as her dextrous piping, Mairearad is in great demand not only as a performer, but also as a composer.
Often seen on stage alongside multi-instrumentalist Anna Massie, composer, Mike Vass, piping supergroup, Tryst and singer-songwriter, King Creosote. 


Rachel Newton

Ceilidh Trail 2000-2003
Singer and harpist Rachel Newton interprets traditional English and Gaelic songs and texts alongside her own compositions. In addition to her solo work, Rachel is a skilled collaborator and founder member of The Shee, The Furrow Collective and The Lost Words: Spell Songs. Her 5th album is due later this year.


Ali Levack

Ceilidh Trail 2010, 2012
BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year for 2020, Ali specialises in piping and whistles and has been immersed in Scottish traditional music since the age of nine when a family friend started teaching him the pipes. Ali spent 4 years at the National Centre of Excellence for Traditional Music in Plockton before attending the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Throughout all of this he maintained close links with the Fèis. He has recently released an album with his trio, Project Smok. 

Chloë Bryce

Ceilidh Trail 2015-2016
Originally from Easter Ross, Chloë Bryce developed her grasp of traditional music through her involvement in the Fèis movement. She went on to study fiddle and Gaelic song at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton. Her music is informed by a deep regard for the old tunes and songs embedded in Highland culture, while also driven by the need to explore her own innate creativity. She has gained repute as a composer and a number of her tunes have come into circulation in the Glasgow session scene.    

Chloë has toured extensively across the UK, with notable appearances at Celtic Connections, Cambridge Folk Festival and Sidmouth Folk Festival. She has also performed internationally at Festival Interceltique de Lorient, Celtic Colours International Festival and the National Celtic Festival of Australia.

Brìghde Chaimbeul

Ceilidh Trail 2015
Winner of the 2016 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, and 2017 Scots Trad Music Awards ‘Up and Coming’ nominee, Skye musician and piper Brìghde Chaimbeul is one of Scotland’s fastest rising stars. A native Gaelic speaker, her style is rooted in her indigenous language and culture but draws inspiration from a variety of piping traditions such as from Cape Breton, Eastern Europe and Ireland. 


Sally Simpson

Ceilidh Trail 2012
Sally’s love of folk music has taken her from the National Centre for Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton, to studying Swedish Folk Music in Stockholm, to playing fiddle in Sting’s musical The Last Ship. At her first Fèis in Ullapool she knew she’d found her people, and has loved working for Fèis Rois in a range of bonkers and brilliant situations ever since partaking in Ceilidh Trail in 2012!


Josie Duncan

Ceilidh Trail 2014
Josie Duncan’s effortless, modern style of songwriting has ensnared audiences the world over, from festival stages in Australia to basements in Glasgow. Her songs have been showcased on Radio 2 and the Janice Forsyth show, and she has been enlisted as a composer and songwriter for a nationwide production developed by National Theatre of Scotland. 
Since being awarded a BBC Young Folk Award in 2017, Josie has toured the world continuously, making appearances at prestigious festivals such as Tønder and Celtic Connections.


John Somerville

Ceilidh Trail 2000
John Somerville, from Abriachan in the Highlands is one of the most exciting instrumentalists on the Scottish music scene. His unique style of accordion playing along with a sense of innovation has seen him gain a reputation for retaining his traditional roots whilst pushing musical boundaries. John is a notable composer, arranger and teacher working with individuals and groups of all ages. He has worked with a host of bands and acts including Treacherous Orchestra, Croft No Five, Babelfish, Cask Strength Ceilidh Band and Lori Watson.  

Kim Carnie

Ceilidh Trail 2013
Kim’s solo career launched in 2017 with the release of her debut EP ‘In Her Company.’ Since then, Carnie, with her ‘velvet voiced authority’ (The Scotsman) has become a regular session vocalist, featuring in Netflix’s Outlaw King (2018) and the computer game soundtrack for Black Mirror (2017). Most recently, Kim has joined multi award-winning Scottish supergroup Mànran as part of their permanent line-up. 


Conal McDonagh

Ceilidh Trail 2011-2013
Conal McDonagh is a piper from Poolewe in Wester Ross. Influenced by both his Scottish upbringing and Irish heritage, Conal plays the Irish Uilleann pipes as well as the Scottish Highland and Border pipes, whistles and flute. He studied at the National Centre for Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton and graduated with First Class Honours from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Conal has performed all over the world with a variety of bands and shows, and he continues to work with both new and established artists, including Duncan Chisholm, Cara Dillon and The Paul McKenna Band. Conal writes and performs with the innovative new band, Inyal.

Iona Fyfe

Ceilidh Trail 2015
Aberdeenshire folksinger, Iona Fyfe, has become one of Scotland’s finest young ballad singers, rooted deeply in the singing traditions of the North East of Scotland. In 2018, Iona became the youngest ever winner of Scots Singer of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards.


Laura Wilkie

Ceilidh Trail 2008
Laura Wilkie is a Fiddle player from Tain in the Highlands of Scotland. She has a unique style which has roots in the Highland fiddle traditions but is influenced by an eclectic range of music from all genres. 
Laura has toured across the world in various different groups of the Contemporary Folk Music Scenes.Including Kinnaris Quintet, guitar-virtuoso Ian CarrRoss AinslieSalsa Celtica, NITEWORKSand with Scots Singers: Claire Hastings and Siobhan Miller. 
As a founding member of Glasgow-based Jazz/Funk/R&B/Synth/Folk Juggernaut, Fat-Suit,Laura has been inspired to play with elements of improvisation in different styles, making her a versatile influence on each project.Collaborations include performing, writing, arranging, Shooglenifty, Man of the Minch, Rachel SermanniThe Elephant Sessions, Paul Towndrow’s Keywork OrchestraFatherson, and the GRIT Orchestra.


Innes White

Ceilidh Trail 2011-2012
Growing up in the Highlands of Scotland, Innes White has been immersed in traditional music from a young age. As well as being a native Gaelic speaker, his early experiences of music through his strong family heritage and the Fèis movement provided the bedrock for his professional career to flourish. White is one of the most sought-after multi-instrumentalists in the UK, having recorded on over 30 albums and toured extensively throughout the UK and abroad playing guitar and mandolin, with occasional appearances on piano, bouzouki and vocals. ​


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