Three award-wining musicians will bring some Christmas spirit into peoples’ homes during a virtual tour of venues around the country.
Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker and John Doyle have recorded a 45-minute Christmas show to be streamed directly to audiences, with ticket buyers supporting the musicians and venues or festivals.
Having shared stages and recording studios with everyone from Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler to Paul Weller and Joan Baez, the trio decided to make their own Christmas show after a planned series of gigs abroad was cancelled during the pandemic.
They have recorded a mix of classic Christmas melodies, traditional and contemporary songs and tunes and linked with music venues or festivals, including Eden Court Theatre in inverness, the Hebridean Celtic Festival and the Lemon Tree in Aberdeen.
Each show will be different with ticket buyers able to submit questions to the musicians to create a unique event.
Michael McGoldrick said: “We felt we wanted to connect with people at this time of year and had been looking for a way to do this.
“This November we were supposed to be performing in Switzerland and the Czech Republic and John Doyle had flown over from his home in the US. The tour was cancelled at short notice and so we thought, this is our chance to use the time to record something special.”
The shows will run from December 10-30, with an event linked to the HebCelt festival on December 27.
HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said: “We are delighted to be able to bring this fabulous Christmas show to our audience ‘at home’.
“This benefits the musicians as well as HebCelt and we know our loyal audience will support as much as they can.”
Meanwhile, former university students are being paid to take part in a live stream music tour after being affected by the pandemic.
#UHIMusicLive is hosting two music sessions, every Wednesday and Friday night, for four weeks featuring alumni of the University of the Highlands and Islands.
All performers will receive a fee for their 45-minute live set on Facebook, with money donated by individuals and companies.
Pete Honeyman, the university’s creative and cultural industries subject network leader, said: “These are extremely challenging times for the music industry, with live music forbidden and social distancing requirements making it almost impossible for group music-making to take place and we wanted to find a way to support our alumni.
“We’ve creatively combined our skills and resources to design, produce, promote and, importantly, make sure the performers are paid a fee, which has been achieved through the generosity of donors.”
Nicky Murray, an applied music graduate who studied at North Highland College UHI, is one of the alumni performing. He said: “It is very sweet to be invited to play and to still feel part of the University of the Highlands and Islands community. To be looked out for and to be given work opportunities feels very nice.
“Many graduates are trying out their first year of freelance, and to arrive at the world in the state that it is in at the moment has rendered many of these musicians below the poverty line. This is a great help.”