Almost two decades together has brought success after success for Scottish folk band Breabach.
Embarking on their first American tour with 17 dates lined-up, the band have earned their title as one of Scotland’s best folk bands.
The band have countless nominations and wins including five Scots Trad Music Awards, ‘Best Group’ in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and ‘European Album of the Year’ in the Songlines Music Awards.
On top of these accomplishments the band have released eight albums since 2007, their most recent being Fàs, released last year in October 2022.
The band consists of five members, Megan Henderson, James Lindsay, Calum MacCrimmon, Ewan Robertson, and their most recent member Conal McDonagh, who joined in 2020. Together they all write their own music and have performed live to audiences around the world.
After playing in the main auditorium at this year’s Celtic Connections, the band commence their first music tour in the United States, bringing Scottish culture to a wider audience. Their individual talents bring the band together in perfect harmony and create their signature lively and vibrant, yet still meaningful sound.
Double bass player James Lindsay talks about their latest album, ‘Fàs’. In Gaelic, “fàs” means growth, which rightly portrays the theme of the album that reflects regrowth and renewing in nature.
James Lindsay said: “For this one we were looking to the natural world for ideas about regrowth and putting an emphasis on renewable energy.”
One song in particular on the album that has significant importance to the band is one written by guitar player Ewan Robertson which is called ‘Eader an Dà Bhráigh’. This is the third track on the album and in English translates to ‘Between the Two Brays’. This song talks about the regeneration of the Creag Meagaidh National Nature Reserve which is wst of Laggan in the Scottish Highlands.
All the albums released by the band over the past 18 years have taken inspiration from an important topic close to them.
Lindsay explained: “Each album we put out we try and theme it around some kind of topic that’s close to our hearts or has been influential for us.”
It’s clear to see through the amount of success and recognition the band have received over the years that they have had a significant impact on the Scottish music scene. Performing all over Scotland for nearly two decades and now embarking on a tour across America, the band are bringing the culture beyond Scotland and sharing it with others around the world.
The tour sees the band bring their new music to a bigger audience, beyond what most Scottish trad bands have done before. With their growing popularity and energetic stage presence, Breabach’s music is connecting distant cultures and bringing a variety of people together.
Lindsay spoke about past experiences of performing Scottish and Gaelic music outside of Scotland and seeing an audience in a different country who are also interested in the culture and appreciate the music.
He said: “I’m a learner in Gaelic and to me it is all about how the culture, music and the language are interlinked,”
While it’s clear that over the years there has been a serious decline in the use of Gaelic, bands are not afraid to highlight its importance in Scottish culture and use it to give new meaning to their music and portraying the value of the Gaelic language.
Lindsay goes on to explain: “Things like Celtic Connections are really helping to promote the language, I think. It feels nice to be able to present Gaelic music and language on that big stage in a big city, and then to take it to America and find people from around the world with a connection to Scotland or those who just enjoy and appreciate the music is very special.”
Going beyond Scotland and bringing their music to new audiences is what has made the band so popular. With their upbeat Celtic sound and lively stage presence, Breabach has grabbed attention and created a space in Scottish Trad music around the world.
After having to postpone so many gigs due to the pandemic and then catching up throughout 2021 and 2022, this year brings a new start for the band as they break new ground.
He said: “We were doing the gigs that we were supposed to do in 2020. So, this year feels a bit more like a fresh start.”
Their latest performance at Celtic Connections saw the band gain masses of cheers from a hometown audience that has brought them to where they are today.
What better way to start fresh than with their new tour in the States. Performing instrumental classics like ‘Knees Up’ and ‘Western Isles Dance’, to new material from their album that is bound to keep the audience going. From energetic and bouncy to slow and meaningful, the talented members of Breabach are a recognisable force with their unique and memorable sound.