‘Clitheroe has good vibe’

The Peatbog Faeries
The Peatbog Faeries

Bubbling electronica, blazing fiddles, whistle solos, the skirl of the bagpipes…….The Peatbog Faeries are back in town for another dancehall rave of Scottish song.

“We played Clitheroe on St Patrick’s Day last year and it was as good a vibe as anywhere we’d done in Ireland on their big day, the audience really kicked-off to our sound,” said bassist and percussion man Innes Hutton.

“Sometimes you just don’t know when you do a gig, you are walking into the unknown, but the Grand is a place that seems to cultivate its own audience who really warmed to us.

“We probably get as much recognition in England now than we do in Scotland and that’s special.”

Infectious, leap-about fun, The Faeries provide another reminder of the strength and variety of the Scottish music scene, their all-instrumental set a foot-stomping backdrop to a tartan mash-up of sonic sound.

“We try and do different things with it and see what direction it is going, so it’s not a concerted effort to sound Latin or whatever else,” added Innes.

“We’re use fiddles, drums, guitars and bagpipes, but once you start playing all the musical borders disappear.

“We draw from so many musical influences and there’s a huge contrast in our musical likes. I was a huge heavy metal fan as a kid until I moved to Skye and discovered rare Scottish music that I never knew existed.

“Tom, the guitarist, has a Doctorate in African guitar music, having studied in the Congo, while Ross, our fiddle player is a student of the fiddle. Ross was born in the Shetlands Isles, where they are immersed in music, particularly the sound of the fiddle and that tradition is passed from father to son.

“Peatbog Faeries is a giant fusion – but it just seems to work.”

Based in the Isle of Skye, their approach to the different themes could hardly be more different.

“We’ve a track called Folk Police, a song we’ve been playing for a long time and if there was a night we didn’t get an amazing reaction we’d put it in earlier in the set.

“Luckily, that’s never happened. People love it so we keep it for the end of the show and once we added the brass to it a few years ago that gave it a different dimension.

“I like to think that our music is very instinctive and constantly evolving.”

Their progression saw them nominated for the best live act at the BBC Radio Two Folk Awards and their blizzard of electronic-beats and hypnotic work-outs on pipe or fiddle has twice seen them win Scotland’s live performance of the year.

“We just love to be entertainers, and for people just to have a good time.”

The Peatbog Faeries, Clitheroe Grand, November 1. (£15 advance/U16s Free) Standing. 01200 421599.

Tony Dewhurst