Media release: Scottish-Nordic festival returns next month

Kata_by_Finnur Justinussen resized

TICKETS are now on sale for an unique festival of Nordic and Scottish music, song and dance based in Edinburgh celebrating its 16th year next month.

Taking place 26-28 April, Northern Streams 2019, features as guests:

  • Kata – a five women group who sing traditional songs based on folk stories and myths from the Faroe Islands in a mesmerising and enigmatic manner
  • Caolmhar – a group of four young people from Sweden that play a range of Nordic and Scottish music and songs. Three of them come from V-Dala Spelmanslag – acknowledged as Sweden’s longest-running student folk ensemble and three-times student world champions!
  • Jocelyn Pettit with Rav Sira and Ellen Gira – Award-winning Canadian fiddler, stepdancer and singer, Jocelyn Pettit, joins accomplished Norwegian guitarist Rav Sira, and seasoned cellist Ellen Gira in an exciting new collaboration. Studying in Glasgow, these top young musicians enjoy performing both Nordic and Scottish music. This is their first headline concert together.

Organiser, Fiona Campbell, said: “I really pleased we’ve been able to invite artists from the Faroe Islands as we’ve not yet had anyone perform at the festival from there. Kata have an amazing, enigmatic way bringing old songs to life with intriguing stories from the Faroese tradition.

“I’m also pleased to have some of the young Swedish musicians who delighted festival audiences last year, returning to play and sing in Caolmhar. And it’s great to be able to showcase the talent that Scotland attracts to study here, especially people who have a shared interest in exploring the Scottish and Nordic traditions with the trio of Jocelyn, Rav and Ellen.”

The festival opens with an evening concert on Friday, then a concert and ceilidh on Saturday – to give you the opportunity to try Nordic dances alongside the Scottish ones you are likely to know already. All dances will be called or demonstrated.

There are workshops during the day on Saturday covering tunes, songs and dances from Scotland, Sweden, Norway and the Faroe Islands.

The workshop period ends with the Sharing Session we recently started where all the invited guest performers and participants get a chance to share what they have learnt from the workshops and performances. A second free open session finishes the festival on the Sunday afternoon. (This session inspired the development of a monthly Nordic on the fourth Sunday of the month which will coincide with the festival in April).

All events take place at the Pleasance, 60 The Pleasance, Edinburgh EH8 9TJ. Ticket prices range from £6 for a workshop – £35 for an all-in-one weekend ticket. Concessions include TMSA members and Young Scot cardholders. See to book online and for other ways to buy tickets in advance including in person. (Tickets are only available at the venue during the event).

For more details of the Northern Streams programme, visit or email: or tel: 0795 191 8366, or Facebook – TMSAEdinburgh&Lothians and Twitter @northernstream1.

Northern Streams is organised by the Traditional Music and Song Association (TMSA) Edinburgh & Lothians Branch. Details about the Branch at: and TMSA –

We acknowledge support from the Tórshavnar Kommuna to cover the flights from the Faroe Islands and donations from other sources.

Notes to editors and listing details:

  • Publicity photos of all the performers are available electronically at the media page on – please tel: 07951 918366 (Fiona) or email: for any queries e.g. if you require any recordings.
  • Photo credit for the photo of the group ‘Kata’ supplied with this media release is for Finnur Justinussen.
  • Described as “…something out of the ordinary” by The Herald, throughout the years Northern Streams has showcased performers often new to Scottish audiences, offering opportunities to learn about different cultures around the North Sea through a mix of concerts and workshops.
  • The Pleasance is a student union complex run by Edinburgh University Student Association (EUSA). Its recent refurbishment has opened up spaces that are a great fit for the Northern Streams Festival and we are pleased to be returning to one of our original venues. A café/bar is available at the venue plus plenty of other options available locally.
  • The Traditional Music & Song Association of Scotland (TMSA) was formed in 1966 as an organisation to promote, present and preserve the traditional music and song of Scotland. Its first events were annual festivals based in Blairgowrie, bringing together many of the finest exponents of the traditions as well as new faces. Current projects include the annual TMSA Event Calendar, an interactive Music Map of Scotland and TMSA Young Trad Tour of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Musician of the Year finalists. For its 50th anniversary, the TMSA worked with Collins to get Norman Buchan’s iconic ‘101 Scottish Songs’ (Wee Red Book) reprinted after 40 years of being out of print as well as being celebrated at the Opening Concert of Celtic Connections 2016. Recently, the Little Book of Scottish Folk Songs (a revised reprint of the Scottish FolkSinger by Norman Buchan and Peter Hall) was launched as a second collaboration between Collins and the TMSA. The TMSA is registered as a Scottish Charity SCO03819 and a company limited by guarantee No: 199976. Registered Office: The Signal Box, Edinburgh EH14 1JL. Website:

Draft outline programme

All events take place at the Pleasance, 60 The Pleasance, Edinburgh EH8 9TJ

Friday 26 April: Evening concert @ 7.30-10pm Tickets: £12/10.

CaolmharHannah Sundkvist (fiddle, mandolin, voice), Kristian Hodén (accordion), Mattias Walla (viola, fiddle) and Mattias Hammarsten (guitar) associated with V-Dala Spelmanslag – Sweden’s longest-running student folk ensemble and three-times student world champions, perform a range of Nordic and Scottish music and songs.

Jocelyn Pettit (fiddle, stepdancer, singer) with Rav Sira (guitar, bodhran, vocals) and Ellen Gira (cello, vocals) – award-winning Canadian fiddler, stepdancer and singer, Jocelyn Pettit, joins accomplished Norwegian guitarist Rav Sira, and seasoned cellist Ellen Gira in an exciting new collaboration. Studying in Glasgow, these top young musicians enjoy performing both Nordic and Scottish music. This is their first headline concert together.

Sat 27 April: Northern Streams Workshops Tickets: £8/6 per workshop.

There are two options per time slot. Each workshop is 1.5 hours long. Children aged nine+ are able to attend workshops, as long as they are at the level specified and accompanied by an adult.

10.30am-4.30pm – the six 1.5 hour-long workshops are:

  • Norwegian tunes and accompaniment
  • Swedish songs
  • Faroe Islands songs
  • Cape Breton-Scottish tunes, connections and accompaniment
  • Swedish tunes and accompaniment
  • Scottish/Cape Breton step dance and playing for dancing


Sharing Session with all invited guest performers and participants to get a chance to share what they have learnt from the workshops and performances. (Free with any workshop or concert ticket).

Sat 27 April: Evening concert and ceilidh @ 7.30-11pm Tickets: £12/10

Kata – Singers Greta Bech, Guðrið Hansdóttir, Arnfríð Lutzen, Eyð Berghamar Jacobsen and Unn Paturson from the Faroe Islands, use mesmerising harmonies to perform old songs based on folk stories and myths.

The Northern Streams Ceilidh Band (Scotland/Norway/Sweden)

Created from our festival guest musicians, the Northern Streams Ceilidh Band, will be giving you the opportunity to try out Scottish and Nordic dances – which will be called/demonstrated – during the extended second half of our concert or you can just sit and listen to the great sounds!

Sun 28 April: Afternoon Free ‘Scandi/Scottish Music Session @ 1.30-4.30pm Free and open to all to take part or come along and listen.

Bonus extra! We are planning a concert up at the Wighton Centre in Dundee on Thursday 25 April depending in funding – details will be confirmed soon hopefully!

Artist biographies 2019

Caolmhar – Sweden

Caolmhar is a Swedish quartet that interprets and performs traditional Scottish and Nordic music. The group performs the music with a mix of tradition, effects and improvisation to create a unique sound.

Their name comes from an appearance in a 19th century poem, which seems to be a misprint of ‘ceolmhar’ which means ‘musical’ rather than the possible other option of meaning ‘cheesy’!

The band members are:

Hannah Sundkvist (fiddle, mandolin and voice) is the leader of the folk-band ‘V-dala Spelmanslag’ who performed at the Northern Streams Festival in 2018. It is considered the world’s oldest student folk music orchestra founded in 1961.

Kristian Hodén (accordion) – another member of ‘V-dala Spelmanslag’ and has spent quite a bit of time in Scotland as a student learning Scottish music from the source.

Mattias Walla (viola and fiddle) – also a member of ‘V-dala Spelmanslag’

Mattias Hammarsten (guitar)

At Northern Streams we are looking forward to hearing their mix of repertoire from around the North Sea as well as being able to teach Swedish dances, songs and tunes.

Links to examples: (Facebook-page) (live from this week concerts) (Soundcloud)



Uppsala Music Lovers: (review)

Jocelyn Pettit, Rav Sira and Ellen Gira – Scotland/Norway

This trio are all currently based in Glasgow, pursuing advanced studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The three musicians are excited to fuse their influences to create a dynamic and textured sound. Together, they present a lively and soulful performance of music, song, and stepdance from Canada, the USA, Scotland, Ireland, France and Scandinavia.

For the Northern Streams Festival they will be concentrating on presenting their Scottish and Scandinavian repertoire and will be the first time they headline an event as a trio.

From the west coast of Canada, Jocelyn Pettit is an award-winning fiddle player, stepdancer, singer, and composer. With grace and passion, she has performed across Canada, and toured in the USA, the UK and Europe. She has been featured on Canadian national television and radio, and shared the stage with The Battlefield Band (Scotland), The Chieftains (Ireland), and Carlos Núñez (Spain). As a recording artist, Jocelyn has two self-produced albums, both nominated for multiple awards, including ‘World Artist of the Year’ at the 2017 Western Canadian Music Awards, and at the 2016 Canadian Folk Music Awards. FolkWorld Magazine described Jocelyn as “A top-notch musician, and major emerging talent.”

Rav Sira on guitar, bodhran and vocals hails from Norway. He is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist who has performed in Scandinavia, Europe and South America, including Festival Brocante in Italy, and Sentrum Scene in Norway. He has pursued World Music studies at Codarts University for the Arts in Holland, and spent a year studying Latin American music in Salvador, Brazil.

Ellen Gira on cello and vocals is a seasoned performer who has appeared at special events and prominent venues throughout the USA and the UK, including The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and Cadogan Hall in London, England. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Scottish Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Cello Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music (Cleveland, Ohio, USA).

KATA – Faroe Islands (Denmark)

Kata was originally founded in 2006 by Faroese singers Anna Katrina Petersen and Anna Maria Olsen and joined by Unn Paturson and Eyð Berghamar Jacobsen, inspired by Bulgarian vocal groups and choirs, especially choir Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, and sung together for four years.

In 2013, the group was re-founded and now consists of five members: Greta Bech, Guðrið Hansdóttir, Arnfríð Lutzen, Eyð Berghamar Jacobsen and Unn Paturson. Rógvi á Rógvu (percussion) and Lasse Thorning Jæger (electronics) occasionally join the group for concerts.

Lately, they have been working with Faroese songs, found in the books of musicologist Marianne Clausen (1947-2014). Clausen’s books contain the notations of old Faroese tunes and variations of tunes, that have been found on recordings dating back to 1902 (done by Hjalmar Thurén) and to this day. The tunes are kvæði, vísur, skjaldur and folksongs, that have been in the Faroese culture for centuries and have evolved through the times and from one village to another and even have changed between singers.

The lyrics feature mythical heroes and folk figures, trolls, witches, giants, slayers and, always in the middle, vulnerable women and cautionary tales of injurious traditions and social mores, as codified in folk stories handed down for generations. Some of the stories are kind of fairy-tales, or from fictitious places, some are more like nonsense-e nursery rhymes, and some of are more dramatic epic tales.

The songs that are presented on their CD Tívils døtur are mostly tunes that have been forgotten in the Faroe Islands, mostly tunes that no one uses anymore. The arrangements of most the songs have been made by Unn Paturson, but Eg átti mær eina húgvu and Grímur á Miðalnesi are made by Greta Bech. The CD was recorded in the oldest church still in use in the Faroe Islands (from approximately 1250), Ólavskirkjan, located in Kirkjubø, as it was felt it would fit well into the mood of their music.

Kata perform at various events from local cultural days at museums to the Faroe Music Awards in 2017.

At Northern Streams, we are looking forward to hearing their ethereal tones live as well as seeing examples of the Faroese song dance tradition.

Live at the Faroe Music Awards 2017

Video for ‘Risin og moyggin’ is

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Contact: Fiona Campbell
Phone: 07951918366