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Friday 12 August 2016 @ 09:00pm :  -


Formed in 1990 by musicians from the Scottish Highlands, Orkney and Edinburgh, its bright spark was the idea of fusing traditional and traditional-sounding melodies with the beats and basslines of a mixed bag of more contemporary influences. As happy playing a small highland village hall as they are on a outdoor festival stage playing to tens of thousands, the Shoogles (as they’re known to their fans) have promoted Scottish music all over the world for more than a quarter century.

In 2015 they played venues in Sarawak and Stornoway, Lorient and London, Adelaide and Aberdeen, Bangalore and Bristol, and released their seventh studio album The Untied Knot. This featured the first ever collection of Shoogle songs and introduced their newest member, puirt à beul vocalist Kaela Rowan. It received a 5* ‘Top of the World’ rating in Songlines, among many other favourable reviews. Songlines also nominated the band for Best Group in early 2016. The Untied Knot was nominated for Best Album at ‘Na Trads 2015’the Scottish Traditional Music Awards.

The band’s gig calendar for 2016 includes festivals in The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, India, Austria, Switzerland, England, Denmark, and, of course, Scotland. Also planned is an English tour in September and a Scottish run of dates in December. Shooglenifty will record their 8th studio album in India this October.

Angus R Grant - Fiddle
Shooglenifty’s hirsute and obliquely-spoken fiddler has taken his native West Highland traditions onto a truly international stage, meanwhile hurling them headlong towards the 21st century. Taught since childhood by his father, the renowned left-handed Lochaber maestro for whom he was named, Angus was lured south in the late 80s to join Swamptrash, out of which Shooglenifty was spawned.

Ewan MacPherson - Mandolin/Tenor Banjo
Ewan began his musical career in Wales where he played in heavy metal bands. Eventually he earned enough cash to pay for a haircut and graduated to African Township jive, dance and electronica, and finally traditional and contemporary folk/roots music. A multi-instrumentalist he stepped into the coveted Shoogle mando slot in 2014. It’s a total pleasure to watch as he duels dextrously with Angus, our snake-hipped front man.

Garry Finlayson - Banjo/Banjax
Originally from Orkney, Garry began his musical career at 13 , teaching himself to play guitar from old blues records. On moving to Edinburgh in the late 70s, he discovered the legendary sessions then going strong in Sandy Bell’s bar, where a surfeit of guitarists prompted the switch to the banjo. His often psychedelic improvisations remain rooted in that jam-session dynamic. The banjax, Garry‘s uniquely customised electric banjo was spurred by the urge to boost the instrument’s available warp factor, an ambition brought to fresh heights in the Shooglenifty sound.

James Mackintosh - Drums/Percussion
Hailing from the Scottish Highlands, James’s first forays into percussion were distinctly hand knitted. Fearing for the integrity of her pots and pans, his mother eventually bought him a drumkit for his 15th birthday. Some 30 years later James is widely recognised as one of Scotland’s most innovative drummers, and he is responsible for the deliriously danceable grooves underpinning Shooglenifty’s sound. The Shoogle drummer is much in demand elsewhere: with Capercaillie, Mouth Music, Sola, James Grant, and Michael McGoldrick to name a few.

Malcolm Crosbie - Guitars
Malcolm’s whole life has been governed by serendipity. His journey from 1970s new wave combo Z and the Arabs to Shooglenifty has been blessed by a number of chance meetings, not least the first encounter with his future wife and her adolescent brother, the pot-bashing James Mackintosh. Grabbing a go on his sister‘s guitar inspired him to his first electric instrument and his first homemade amp. His attempts to wire the amp eventually blew it up and filled his parents’ house with smoke. But that’s another story ...

Quee MacArthur - Bass
Quee‘s characteristic funky style and previous experience working with James in Mouth Music and Rhythm Chillun meant he was the no 1 choice in 2002 when the band’s original bass player went on to pastures new. Not only is Quee a fabulous bass player he is also a composer of note recording music and soundscapes for dance and theatre.



"It was wonderful to feature Shooglenifty in the Auckland Arts Festival. The energetic and dynamic musical offering that the band generously gave to our Auckland audiences was full of joy and delight." ~ Carla van Zon - Auckland Arts Festival

"We can’t wait to see you return to Bluesfest…… fact, we are counting the days." ~ Peter Noble - Byron Bay Bluesfest

"Shooglenifty were a great fresh way to start Bluesfest 2016 Day 4. Their Celtic flavours are not often heard at Bluesfest. A great contrast and way to refresh the ears, kind of like sniffing a coffee bean in between wine tasting. With a fiddle, banjo, mandolin, drums, guitar and bass these guys from Scotland had the audience experimenting with their best River Dance impersonations and moving in energetic ways that are not your usual Bluesfest hip swinging standard. With beautiful tunes, jigs and reels that branched out to sound almost middle eastern and esoteric at times, this band can really get you dancing." ~ Wanda Hill - Live Music Media, Australia

"Legendary Shoogle fiddler Angus Grant – boasting one of the most recognisable beards this side of hipsterdom – wasted little time announcing they were “gonna play some dance tunes to keep you warm.” And keep the audience toasty they did, serving up a slew of fast-paced ‘nifty tunes that had many gasping for air (or was it whisky?) Whatever the case, the Edinburgh acid-crofters both rounded off 2015 and kick-started 2016 in true, shoogling style." ~ Barry Gordon - The Scotsman

"Only recently I’ve started appreciating the amazing creativity of others of who have found a way of blending tradition and the new in their own unique way. I’m glad I came at it this way though, because it gives me a deeper understanding of how what I’m hearing came together and I must say, having gone through the back catalogue on Spotify I think The Untied Knot is my favourite! James [Mackintosh]’s drumming in particular is completely immaculate and I count him as one of the very best drummers in the country (a really rare thing indeed). The grooves he provides and the tempos etc. are always spot on." ~ Griogair Labhruidh - GhettoCroft

"Shooglenifty were one of the taste-makers and boundary-breakers of the Scottish trad music scene of the 90s and were one of the acts that helped give Scotland a powerful voice on the world music scene, from the early days right up to the present day. Venus in Tweeds remains one of my all-time classic albums and it always delights me to know that the legendary Grant fiddlers – Aonghas and Angus R. – can count one of Gaeldom’s ultimate tradition bearers and one of the Shoogle creators of ‘acid croft’ as father-and-son. Just as it should be – roots and futures as one." ~ Mary Ann Kennedy - Musician and broadcaster

"Still sounding fresh and innovative, and a great way to close any festival." ~ Eddie Barcan - Cambridge Folk Festival

"Shooglenifty were fantastic on the Saturday and had a hugely appreciative and happy crowd – one of many highlights from the weekend." ~ Rory Haye - Doune the Rabbit Hole

"Shooglenifty invented a totally new and spellbinding way of playing ultimately Highland music as a modern groove-based entity. Along with Martyn Bennett they transformed this ancient music with respect and vision. 25 years on they continue to blaze a trail of ‘acid-croft’ that no others can touch." ~ Aidan O’Rourke - Lau

"Shooglenifty keep pushing the boundaries of ‘Scottish’ music, and we were proud to be able to bring them to work with Lebanese and Iraqi musicians in Lebanon in 2011. The Shoogle sound is unique, but it taps into the universal urge to dance!" ~ Dan Gorma - Highlight Arts | Reel Festivals

"Shooglenifty are the leading lights in Scotland’s inventive music scene. From the early nineties to current day they have led the pack with innovative arrangements, brilliant tunes and true worldwide appeal." ~ Simon Thoumire - Creative Director, Hands Up for Trad

"They are the nicest and gentlest of people, and then they go on stage to become monster musicians. It is always a joy and pleasure to work with them and to have them. They have been to Malaysia several times now – star performances each and everyone." ~ Jun-Lin Yeoh - Artistic Director, Rainforest World Music Festival

"I can still remember the deep shock (and seething indignation!) I felt when I discovered that traditional music could be funky. It was nearly 25 years ago and I was trying to look inconspicuous, hiding at the back of a dark, dank cellar in Edinburgh as Shooglenifty took to the stage. Until this point I’d had a very narrow view of folk music and was expecting some kind of Jimmy Shand with a drum machine routine. But it wasn’t like that. The Shoogles started with a soulful Celtic techno rumba and I watched in horror as my feet started to move spasmodically and my knees, normally so reliable, began to vibrate wildly. (This was before Riverdance.) I grudgingly realised that resistance was futile and within ten minutes I was in front of the stage, doing what could loosely be descrbed as dancing and grinning like an idiot. I’m sure Shooglenifty have performed this service for many more people over the years and I, for one, would like to thank them." ~ Andy Levy - Dolphin Boy