New album showcases students’ musical talents

A new album showcasing the music of University of the Highlands and Islands students and alumni has been launched at Celtic Connections. ‘The Musicians’ Nest’ (Nead nan Ceòladair) features tracks from artists who crafted their skills at the Benbecula campus of Lews Castle College UHI.

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Celtic Connections students

It includes tunes donated by award winning musicians such as James Duncan MacKenzie, a piper with Breabach, Seonaidh MacIntyre, a multi-instrumentalist from Trail West and Robbie Greg, winner of the 2017 Neil Gow Scottish Fiddle Award.
The album was launched at a University of the Highlands and Islands’ concert at the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow on Saturday 3 February. Stòras Uibhist Sealladh na Beinne Mòire Community Fund supported the development of the CD as well as the production of short films showcasing Uist as an attractive place to live and study in. The clips were played at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall during the festival. 
Anna-Wendy Stevenson, programme leader for the university’s BA (Hons) applied music, said: “Many of today’s top names in Scottish traditional music spent their formative years honing their craft on music courses at Lews Castle College UHI on the Islands of Uist. They forged friends, made memories and learned from inspiring musicians and tradition bearers in a beautiful and nurturing environment rooted in Gaelic culture. This 18 track album showcases a sample of current and alumni students, many who have made their names as award winning musicians performing on national and international stages as well as those who will go on to do so in future.”
Award winning singer and multi-instrumentalist Julie Fowlis graduated from the University of the Highland and Islands in 2011 and was named as the university’s alumnus of the year in 2013. She welcomed the album saying: “Having been brought up in Uist in a community steeped in Gaelic culture, it gives me great pleasure to see so many musicians having the opportunity to experience this wonderful place surrounded by beautiful landscape and inspiring educators at Lews Castle College in Benbecula.
“‘The Musicians’ Nest’ is an impressive snapshot of the talent nurtured on these courses - many of whom have become well respected and successful musicians in their own right and, as a performer, I have now seen many of these musicians on the stage.”
The Musicians’ Nest is available on Amazon as well selected record shops. You can find out more about the music courses offered in Benbecula and around at the University of the Highlands and Islands partnership at