SHOOGLENIFTY had an exotic start to their silver anniversary year.
The band, who evolved from the ashes of Edinburgh group Swamptrash back in 1990, ushered in the Hogmanay Bells at the Woodford Festival in the forest of Queensland, Australia.
In the months that followed, the band have popped up at venues and festivals as diverse as the Rainforest Festival in Boreno, the Lorient Celticv Festival in Brittany, Celtic Connections in Glasgow and HebCelt on the Isle of Lewis, with a visit to Inverness for this year’s Blas Festival lined up for Saturday.
"This year we thought it would be nice to do some of our favourite gigs," drummer and founder member James Mackintosh explained.
"So we drew up our wish list and we’re having a really good year,"
"It’s unusual for us to have such forward planning, but we also have an album out for our 25th anniversary year, The Untied Knot, and it’s been really well received."
The new album marks a new addition to the Shoogle family — but not MacKintosh’s — in the presence of singer Kaela Rowan.
Although the band have worked with guest vocalists in the past, including Rowan, after quarter of a century as an instrumental band, this is the first time that they have recruited a vocalist — and they did not have far to look.
"She’s actually my wife," Mackintosh pointed out.
"She’s contributed harmonies in the past, but we thought that since we’d made seven instrumental albums, how about we venture into the world of songs?
"And it’s been really good. It changes the focus a little."
Rowan joins a band that created not just its own musical style, but it own musical genre — acid croft.
"One of the band — I think it might have been Iain Macleod, our mandolin player — coined it, just as a cheeky riposte to the whole acid jazz and acid house thing that was going on at the time," Mackintosh said.
"We thought ‘acid croft’ and it kind of stuck. It was around the time Martyn Bennett and the Peatbog Faeries were starting and people were asking how to describe this music and it seemed to fit.
"Still haven’t managed to get it into the record shops — I’d love to see an American tourist go into a shop and ask for the acid croft section."
• Shooglenifty are joined by Niteworks and Ho-ro at The Ironworks, Inverness, on Saturday 5th September as part of this year’s Blas Festival.