Glasgow-based five-piece and worthy winners of the BBC Radio 2 Horizon Folk Award Ímar, are headlining the opening night of Yn Chruinnaght The Celtic Gathering – on 11th July 2018.

It is poignant that Ímar – with two of its band members being at the forefront of the modern Manx music revival in the Isle of Man are returning (award in hand) to showcase their new sound on the opening night of the five-day Celtic music festival, which this year celebrates a special 40 years.

Imar

Ímar’s sound is a synergy of each member’s personal connection with their traditional roots and musical past – bringing together Irish, Scottish and Manx music in a distinctive sound.

We hear from Manx fiddler Tomás Callister and bouzouki ace Adam Rhodes (who are also members of Mec Lir and guest musicians in Angelo Kelly’s band) on their #IOMstory and what festival-goers can look forward to.

What’s your IOM story?

Tomás: I wasn’t born here but have lived here since I was small and it’s my home place. My family are from the Isle of Man, all lived and died in Peel and Patrick since the 1500s... maybe Callister’s didn’t like exploring!

Adam: I moved to the Isle of Man when I was just 8 years old and soon became interested in the Island's traditional music and dance. I remember getting my first penny whistle in soon after joining primary school, and learning Cur dty vainney! It was also at school that I was lucky enough to be offered violin lessons by the fantastic peripatetic teacher Ms Shallcross, and that changed everything.

How has the Isle of Man inspired the music you make in Imar?

Tomás: Mixing Manx tunes and influences with tunes from the rest of the Celtic world and adapting both to compliment the other is a big part of the band. People who aren’t Manx or didn’t grow up on the Island playing Manx music always seem to give it a new spin!

Adam: Right from the very beginning, when we were coming up with the idea of starting a new band, the others were very interested in the music of the Isle of Man that myself and Tom brought to the table. They'd never heard any of it before, and they loved the similarities that some of the Island's tunes had to slides and polkas usually only found in parts of Ireland.  Seeing as two thirds of the band are Manx it makes sense that Manx music would play a big part in the repertoire!

What can fans expect from your opening night performance at Yn Chruinnaght Celtic Gathering?

Tomás: Good tunes, great fun and a good laugh… maybe some dancing? 

Adam: Epic tune-sets ranging from energetic fast paced reels to heart felt slow airs, hilarious stories and general good craic and banter! The band not only consists of award winning musicians from Ireland Scotland England and the Isle of Man, but some budding comedians too...

Which three words would you use to describe the festival?

Tomás: Music, language, culture or Guinness, Bushys, Okells!

Adam: Friendly, welcoming, good-music (cheating slightly...)

Are your bandmates looking forward to visiting the Isle of Man?

Tomás: Always! We had a great show last time.

Adam: They can't wait to come back! Last year we played in Peel and gave them a brief introduction to the Island.  Hopefully we'll be able to show them some more this time.

Will you be giving them an Island tour? If so, where will you be taking them?

Tomás: There’s an outrageous amount of natural beauty spots and amazing attractions on the Isle of Man - it’d take 50 more trips to see half of it! Steam railway, trams, Laxey Wheel, Peel Castle are all the top of the list. The inside of the White House pub too, of course!

Adam: Yes they've already been well and truly introduced to the Whitehouse in Peel, and also Davisons Ice Cream.  Hopefully we'll have time to show off a few more attractions this time, although we've an early start the day after our gig as we're flying to Galicia!

What would be your top tip for visitors coming to the Isle of Man?

Tomás: Get to the west side and travel the length of it, it’s stunning and there’s plenty to see and do. Peel is a great place to start - beaches, ice cream, and a couple of great museums - not to mention the massive beautiful castle in the bay! Round the back of the castle by one of the wall supports is a letter D that my Great-grandad carved into the castle walls in the 1800s. He was seen and chased off before he wrote his whole name. See if you can find it!

Adam: Make sure you get away from just the towns. Go walking, explore some of the glens, get the steam train down south, get the electric tram up north.

Peel Panorama

Celtic Gathering takes place from 11th – 15th July 2018 but lunchtime gigs start at Noa Bakehouse as early as 9th July. For the full line up and to buy tickets visit www.celticgathering.im.

Ímar will be performing at Yn Chruinnaght Celtic Gathering on Wednesday 11th July, an evening sponsored by Thornton Associates Limited. Find out more about Ímar at www.imarband.com.

Where To Stay
The festival is centred around the thriving historic fishing town of Peel where you’ll find a choice of guest accommodation and B&B’s, some with captivating sea views of Peel Castle and the bay and within easy walking distance to the festival venues. Search accommodation in Peel and The West.

The town is located 20 minutes from the capital and sea port Douglas, served by a regular bus service and a 25 minute drive from Ronaldsway airport.

Peel at Dusk

Free Time?
Take a Manx Sea Life Safari to the picturesque Niarbyl Bay, uncover the Viking past of the ancient fortress of Peel Castle on a dramatic audio tour, or marvel at the famous Peel P50 mini car at the Manx Transport Heritage Museum.

If time allows, take a trip to nearby St. John’s to visit the historic landmark Tynwald Hill and the Culture Vannin Tynwald and Cultural Exhibition Centre. The gift shop is packed with books and CDs relating to Manx history and culture – with specialist publications on Manx language and music.

Yn Chruinnaght Celtic Gathering is grateful to its main sponsors Culture Vannin, the Isle of Man Arts Council, Year of Our Island, Thornton Associates Ltd, Culture Ireland, and the Malcolm Scott Dickinson Charitable Trust.

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