Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Alyth set to ‘Shine’ at hebcelt

Alyth McCormack
Alyth McCormack

Home for Alyth McCormack is two distinct places. There’s Lewis, where she was born and raised, and there’s County Wexford in Ireland, where she has lived with her husband, musician Noel Eccles, for the last three years. Despite having moved to Ireland eight years ago, it’s only since settling in the country, an hour from Dublin, that her native island of Lewis has had a rival for what she regards as “home”.

This development in her life was the inspiration for a new solo album, Homelands, which will be launched on Friday, July 17, during one of her regular pilgrimages to Lewis to perform at this year’s 20th anniversary Hebridean Celtic Festival.

“I don’t think at any point during my life, until I met my husband, did I ever think I would not live in Scotland. It had never occurred to me,” she said.

“What I do is so very Scottish. I had worked for many years building up the network of musicians and friends I perform with, then, on meeting my husband, things changed. Dublin was our first home and it is a great city, but it never really felt home to me. Lewis has always been home and, despite the fact I lived for many years in Edinburgh and Glasgow, too, I still always refer to going back to Lewis as going ‘home’ or ‘home home’.

“But three years ago, my husband and I moved to Co Wexford, and now I have found where ‘home’ is in Ireland. But with all this, and the comfort that brings me, Lewis is still ‘home’, too. When I come back to Lewis, I feel fully myself as if a little part of me is always left there. I can’t really explain it, it is a feeling I have, and I am sure I am not alone. This is where ‘Homelands’ grew from. It’s the feeling of being between two places, having two homes.”

A gifted traditional performer from a young age, Alyth studied classical singing and drama at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She now travels the world as a sought-after soloist and member of a variety of groups, including The Chieftains, with whom she has been singing for eight years.

“In my work with them, I sing Scots Gaelic songs, it’s the reason that Paddy (from The Chieftains) wanted me onboard, as he has a great love for the language of Scotland and its culture, having worked with Hamish Henderson and Sorley MacLean. Over the years, Paddy has asked me to sing other songs that are in The Chieftains repertoire. This is also Homelands, one foot in Scotland, one foot in my new home in Ireland.”

Idlewild will also play HebCelt
Idlewild will also play HebCelt

In recent years, Alyth has collaborated with Nashville country star Trace Adkins; has played lead roles in musicals; performed with the cutting-edge Irish touring project Dán, and sung with The StepCrew, which brings together three dance forms, Ottawa Valley stepdance, Irish stepdance and tap.

Her appearance at HebCelt – her fifth at the festival – will be with vocal and harp group Shine, which she helped form in 1998. Shine combines the distinctive voices of Alyth, Corrina Hewat and Mary Macmaster with two electro-harps.

“Shine is all about singing, harmony and experimenting. We have a very definite sound and approach that is all our own, and that is the biggest draw for me. At times I wouldn’t be able to explain where an arrangement came from; it’s just what happens when Mary, Corrina and I get in a room together, normally Mary’s front room.

“I love being in the centre of the harmonic patterns and journeys we take and feeling the support of the voices, it’s a beautiful sound that can only happen when the three of us are there, augmented by the big, round, warm sound of the harps.”

The HebCelt show will be held at An Lanntair arts centre in Stornoway. “Big concert venues are, of course, exciting or prestigious to play, but in a smaller arts centre you are closer to the audience,” she said.

“It’s more intimate and in Lewis I’ll be tested to my all as it’s my hometown and there are bound to be folk I know in the audience. Nothing makes you feel quite as alive as performing for the folk you know. “

HebCelt takes place on Lewis and runs from July 15-18. Along with Shine, other performers include Idlewild, Afro Celt Sound System, Treacherous Orchestra, the Karen Matheson Band, Shooglenifty, Chastity Brown, Le Vent du Nord, Raghu Dixit and Salsa Celtica. Contact: