High-energy music straight from the Highland will be on offer this Friday, Feb. 23, as “Gaelic Supergroup” Dàimh makes its rocking bagpipe-and-fiddle return to the Lincoln City Cultural Center.
Dàimh, which, in keeping with Gaelic’s devilish trickiness, is pronounced “dive,” translates roughly as “kinship.” And that kinship will be on display when the award-winning group steps on stage, armed with guitar, pipes, whistle and mandola.
The instrumental force of the band resonates from Angus MacKenzie on bagpipes and Gabe McVarish on fiddle, accompanied by Ross Martin on guitar and Murdo “Yogi” Cameron on mandola and accordion. Sweet vocals are delivered by rising Gaelic star Ellen Macdonald. Together, they produce authentic Gaelic music with a modern edge and wide range of expression.
Recent accolades include last year’s award for the “Best Folk Band in Europe” at the prestigious Folkherbst competition in Germany and, most recently, winner of “Folk Band of the Year” at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards.
One of only three Oregon gigs on this tour, Friday’s show is Dàimh’s first appearance in Lincoln City since their sold-out concert in February 2017.
Angus MacKenzie, a Gaelic-speaking piper from Canada’s East Coast has spent the past 19 years living on the Isle of Skye and plays Highland pipes, Border pipes and whistles for the band. His piping style draws on his strong South Uist roots along with the dance-influenced rhythms of Cape Breton music. In 2012, he and his brother Kenneth were nominated for Roots Traditional Recording of the Year at the East Coast Music Awards for their album “Pìob is Fidheall.”
Fiddler Gabe McVarish hails from Northern California, where his family settled after emigrating from Morar, Lochaber. McVarish travelled to his ancestral homeland of the Scottish Highlands at the age of 17, where he spent a year studying music under the tutelage of fiddler and tradition bearer Angus Grant Sr. After completing a degree in Scottish music he released solo album “Eclection,” a culmination of fiddle styles and repertoire from both sides of the Atlantic.
Playing mandola, mandolin and accordion is Murdo Cameron, who comes from a long line of traditional Gaelic singers and grew up in Glenelg, a stone’s throw from the Isle of Skye. Cameron started out as an accordion player and piper, and in the past few years has become a busy guitar accompanist and stringed things enthusiast.
Vocalist Ellen MacDonald is fast finding a flock of fans and followers with her natural, smoky voice and individual interpretation. Born and raised in Inverness with strong maternal ties to the language and songs of North Uist and Scalpay, MacDonald studied at Scotland’s only dedicated Gaelic language college, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on the Isle of Skye. Her acting skills have seen her nominated for Best Performance at the FilmG awards for her role in a Gaelic short film “Briste” and landing a key role in the BBC’s new Gaelic drama “Bannan.”
Guitarist Ross Martin has toured Europe and the US with Irish singer Karan Casey. His unique style of guitar accompaniment has him in demand for numerous projects including Dual, a collaborative exploration of traditional Gaelic music of Scotland and Ireland by Danù singer Muireann Nic Amhlaoimh and “Brave” singing sensation, Julie Fowlis.
Friday’s concert will begin at 7 pm at 540 NE Hwy. 101. Tickets, $25 in advance, $27 at the door and $10 for kids aged 18 and under, are available at the box office or online at lincolncityculturalcenter.org.
Soft drinks, sweet treats and snacks, along with Northwest beer and wine, will be on sale before the show and during intermission.
If you go
When: 7 pm, Friday, Feb. 23
Where: Lincoln City Cultural Center, 540 NE Hwy. 101
Cost: $25 in advance, $27 at the door