Every year a host of top musicians and acts descend upon Edinburgh as part of the annual Fringe Festival. With so many artists of all genres and styles to choose from it can sometimes be an overwhelming challenge to skim through and find the ones you like. Luckily, we have taken that challenge on so you don’t have to, and picked out some of the acts we are most looking forward to.
Adam Holmes and friends
Adam Holmes is one of those rare talents that just seem to have ‘it’. Without getting into a debate as to what ‘it’ is exactly, lets break down his achievements, keeping in mind that he is still only 23. He began his song writing career at the age of 15, and in 2009 was a finalist in the 2009 Celtic Connections Young Traditional Musician of the Year competition. In 2011 he was nominated for Best Newcomer at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and two years later was nominated for Best Up and Coming Artist at the 2013 Scots Trad Music Awards. He is a singer-songwriter that draws upon a bank of hidden meanings and lyrical substance, and channels that emotive power through the strumming of his acoustic guitar. He is just as assured when it comes to live performances, where he lets his reserved and dry humour stumble out. Playing live once he asked the audience, “does anyone here like singing?” to which he was greeted by the customary cheer. “Well don’t,” he quipped, “you’ll ruin the song.”
Dates: 9th and 16th August
Venue: Gilded Balloon
Antonio Forcione is an award winning guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and composer who hails from Italy. He has released 17 albums, opened for the likes of Phil Collins, Bobby McFerrin, Jools Holland and Van Morrison, and played in countries all over the world including Australia, China and Lebanon. He is known for his inventive techniques on guitar, and for mixing up a vast range of styles like jazz, Spanish and improvisational. For anyone who plays guitar or has an appreciation for the instrument, this intimate show will blow your mind.
Dates: 8th – 17th August
Venue: Assembly George Square Studios
Bhundu Boy Rise Kagona
To many John Peel is the grand master of music, an introducer of bands and influencer to so many artists and fans, so when a performance moves him to tears, then you know the performer must be special. When Peel first saw Rise Kagona’s band Bhundu Boys that’s exactly what happened. The Bhundu Boys toured the world in the 80’s and 90’s, pioneering the ‘Jit’ style that came out of their native Zimbabwe, that includes rock, pop and country influences in its sound. The band fell on hard times though, and guitarist Rise Kagona went from supporting Madonna and playing to over 200,000 people, to finding himself homeless in Edinburgh. His story is inspirational and incredible, and frankly his music is too.
Dates: 9th, 10th, 13th August
Venue: The Jazz Bar
Edinburgh’s own Broken Records (see video below) will return home amidst a buzz of activity surrounding their recently released third album Weights & Pulleys. The 7 piece alternative folk rock outfit were crowned with the slightly heady title of being Britain’s answer to Arcade Fire by the Guardian. They will be joined on the night by special guests including another Edinburgh favourite Kid Canaveral, as well as Book Group.
Dates: 2nd August
Venue: The Queens Hall
Kenny Young and the Eggplants
Kenny Young and the Eggplants have a sound as weird as the name suggests, actually perhaps even weirder. The trio come from Brooklyn, but are no strangers to Scotland having won a Herald Angel at a previous Fringe Festival outing. They have also won themselves a famous Scottish fan in the shape of author Alexander McCall Smith who said “The Amazing Kenny Young and the Eggplants are a very well kept secret. But now the time has come for everybody to know the Eggplants are the most amusing, wonderful, whacky band in this or any other town.” Their songs include topic matters such as giant squirrels and malevolent washing-machines, so expect a show not entirely rooted on the serious side of reality.
Dates: 21st – 24th August
Venue: Acoustic Music Centre @ St. Brides
RM Hubbert with Emma Pollock
Scottish Album of the Year 2013 winner RM Hubbert brings his emotional and innovative acoustic sound to this year’s Edinburgh Festival. He’ll be joined by some-time collaborator Emma Pollock, who made a guest appearance on his award winning album Thirteen Lost & Found. The Scottish singer-songwriter has been prolific of late, and released another album Breaks and Bone at the tail end of 2013. He also dropped by Tenement TV HQ for a session, which you can watch here.
Dates: 20th August
Venue: The Queens Hall