On the eve of their second album launch, Heisk put on an energetic and memorable performance at Tramway in Pollokshields, Glasgow. Demanding the audience’s attention with not just their music but their band’s look, with bright and colourful outfits to match their powerful vocals and musical talents.
With not just one but two acts to warm up the crowd, Heisk were welcomed by a very inviting audience who had just witnessed musical stylings by Càrnan and the Calum Stewart Band. The up-and-coming Scottish indie folk group Càrnan warmed up the crowd with their fresh and vibrant take on trad music. Joined by Kenneth Macfarlane for the night to spice up their usual performance, bringing a fresh take on the band’s music. With lively accordion player Louden Mackay and energetic guitar player Arthur Young, the duo became a lively trio for one-night-only.
Next act for the night was Calum Stewart, the award-winning Uilleann Piper and flautist, joined by Luc McNally on the bouzouki, a popular Greek instrument, and Ross Saunders on double bass. Not only did this unique blend of instruments get the audience’s attention, but the band were then joined by Sophie Stephenson who danced on stage along to the music and got the crowd going. Stephenson performed her Scottish step dance and brought a whole new level of energy to the stage.
Heisk came on to end the night with their lively, energetic tunes and left the crowd on a high. And of course, in Heisk fashion, they had the outfits and eye-catchingly colourful instruments to match their unique style of music. Mid set-list they welcomed the talented Josie Duncan to the stage to join the band in singing ‘Tutti Frutti’, a recent collaboration between the band and the singer for Heisk’s sophomore album Headstrong. Another collaboration meant to take place on the night was with the lovely Ada Francis, who unfortunately couldn’t make it to the performance.
Overall, the night was a perfect example of what Celtic Connections represents. The fusion of traditional Celtic music with contemporary elements was evident throughout the evening. Càrnan, a young and talented band, brought a fresh and modern twist to traditional music. The collective energy between the Calum Stewart Band and Sophie Stephenson elevated the performance to new heights. Feeding off each other’s energy and engaging with the audience created an immersive experience. Personally, I only ever see these types of on-stage connections at Celtic Connections. It’s more than just about connecting cultures and people, but music to those who can relate to or enjoy what they’re hearing.
But it wasn’t just their musical talent that made the performance so memorable. Heisk’s stage presence and ability to engage with the audience added an extra layer of excitement and connection. The audience was swept up in the infectious rhythm and energy of Heisk. They were dancing, clapping, and fully immersed in the music, creating a joyous and celebratory atmosphere.
Heisk’s performance was the perfect conclusion to a night filled with Celtic music at its finest. It encapsulated the spirit of Celtic Connections, showcasing the diversity, innovation, and sheer joy that this festival is known for.