Multi award wining Scottish folk-rock band, Mànran returned to the Strathpeffer Pavillion on the 29th December for their annual festive party with friends, the Peatbog Faeries.

Words and Pictures by  Alan Cruickshank 

My last gig for 2023 was at The Strathpeffer Pavilion on a cold Monday night to catch Mànran & Peatbog faeries.

Peatbog Faeries were first up to a sold out eager pavilion audience who were obviously not content with Xmas celebrations and wanted more, and they go it in spades.

Peatbog Faeries who are based in Skye have been on the go for over (I think) 25 years and fairly recent inductees to The Scottish Traditional Music hall of fame and rightly too, it was great to see quality like this come to the Pavilion. PBF played an hour to a knowledgeable and appreciative audience. It has to be said that due to them being mostly instrumental they create beautiful Celtic soundscapes that the audience cannot help but engage and dance too, it’s almost hypnotic the way the pipes and fiddle combined with the bass guitar beautifully compel their audience to dance, you just can’t help yourself, it was a real pleasure to watch and listen to PBF do their stuff, they have quality in every department, if you get the chance to catch them in 2024 please do, you won’t be disappointed.

For 9 years Mànran have played the week between Xmas and New Year at the Pavilion, effectively using these appearances to build up a local appreciative fan base that were more than eager to dance to Mànran’s particular blend of traditional and Gaelic rock music. It was great to see Gary Innes back on stage with Mànran helping to carry their tunes through with his accomplished accordion skills, couple this with the brilliant driving rhythmic section I knew we were in for a great gig. Every instrument possible to get Celtic blood pumping was used to great effect tonight, from bagpipes to uilleann pipes alongside almost surgical drums, bass guitar and great fiddle work and the beautiful vocals of Kim Carnie all combined to give the Pavilion crowd exactly what they wanted.  Wild Mountain Thyme is a well-known Scottish traditional song and Mànran played their own version of this much loved song to a crowd more than happy to join in not only in this song but every song, Mànran have this effect.

Wishing both Mànran and Peatbog Faeries all the success for 2024, they deserve it.