Congratulations to Saltfishforty who have been nominated in Album of the Year sponsored by Birnam CD in the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2017. Vote now!
We asked Brian Cormarty of Saltfishforty the following questions.
Tell us about yourself
Saltfishforty are a fresh and dynamic duo hailing from the Orkney Islands in the north of Scotland. Douglas Montgomery (fiddle/viola) and Brian Cromarty (songs/guitar/mandola) combine the rich traditional music of Orkney with original compositions. The duo have four previous albums to their name: LIVE (2013), Netherbow (2010), Orkney Twister (2005) and Goose Music (2003).
The powerhouse partnership have won a devoted following throughout the UK and beyond, brilliantly transcending the duo format's conventional confines. Linchpin figures in the currently flourishing revival of Orkney's traditional music, they unite these deep-rooted sources with an exhilarating breadth of influence and expertise, catalysed by a creative empathy born from decades of friendship. The result is a sound of equally thrilling raw attack and multi-dimensional richness.
A partnership forged back in 2002 – more by accident than design – the two knew each other since primary school, and played together in sessions and various bands, until they were booked in a four-piece for a charity gig, and only the two turned up: “We decided to go on and just make as much noise as two people possibly could – which is kind of how it's been ever since” they say.
Years later, Saltfishforty have delighted audiences at many of the world's top folk festivals including Celtic Connections, Cambridge, HebCelt, Shetland, Lorient in Brittany and Canada's Celtic Colours, as well as touring to the US and throughout Europe. Their focus on Orkney music takes in traditional, contemporary and original material, boldly cross-fertilised with influences from Americana to East European folk, plus a high-octane whiff of heavy metal.
Why are you involved in Scottish music?
The music is in our blood, and the scene is full of fantastic, hardworking, talented folk.
Any particular career highlights?
Saltfish@forty was great, where we celebrated our 40th birthdays with three different collaborative gigs between Celtic Connections, Orkney Folk Festival and the St Magnus Festival. Guests included Greg Lawson, Tim O'Brien, Eamonn Coyne, Rick Taylor, Julie Fowlis, Esko Jarvela plus a whole host of fantastic Orkney pals including Erik Laughton, Andrew Gifford, Jenny Keldie, Kris Drever, Fionn MacArthur.
What are your plans for the future?
Aside form the day jobs, we're putting together a busy schedule for 2018 at the moment, which kicks off with an appearance at the Celtic Connections 25th anniversary concert. We're collaborating with a couple of Scandinavian bands – Frigg and Basco in Jan and Feb. A few gigs around Scotland and England, hopefully a trip to Germany, and some summer festivals are in the pipeline too.
If you would like to come along to the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards in Paisley’s Lagoon Centre call 0300 300 1210 or to buy online visit www.paisley2021.co.uk/events/the-mg-alba-scots-trad-music-awards. Tickets can also be purchased via Paisley Arts Centre. Bands performing on Saturday 2nd December include Elephant Sessions, The Shee Big Band, Siobhan Miller, Tidelines, Paisley Fèis, Snuffbox, The Seamus O’Sullivan Experience, Lori Watson, Jenna Reid and Harris Playfair, Songs of Bàrd Phàislig (featuring Gillebrìde MacIlleMhaoil, Sìneag MacIntyre, Màiri NicAonghais, Seonaidh MacIntyre, Ewan MacPherson, Mhairi Hall, Màiri Nic a Mhaoilein and more to be announced. There will also be a late night ceilidh after the Awards till 1am.