Catch them if you can!
“The Unusual Suspects are the best thing in Scottish music since the Celtic Connections festival itself.” So they say. That’s good. We started the big band (we being myself and David Milligan, piano wizard) only because Colin Hynd, then director of Celtic Connections, offered us the main stage to ‘create our dream’. So we asked all the amazing musicians we loved to come and play in our big band. We rehearsed for 2 days, all 31 of us. It was mental. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing!! Neither did David. We’d met in Leeds College of Music studying a Jazz degree. And he’d had a lot more experience than me at working within big bands. Anyway, it rocked. It was recently named by the Scotsman newspaper as one of the top 20 gigs of all time. And we we lucky enough to have the support from Folkworks who then organised a tour for 22 of us the following year. (22 was the smallest we thought we could be…) Folkworks are based in the Sage Gateshead now – check them out. They are good friends.
We have now just come back from touring with our new commission The Lorient Suite. Although the bands lineup is ever-evolving, it consistently features the cream of Scottish talent I promise you. The 22-piece (which is our normal touring size, although we did go down to 17 for this last tour. There’s just not enough room on the bus!) includes members of Blazin’ Fiddles, Salsa Celtica, Peatbog Faeries, the Battlefield Band, La Boum, Bachue, Mystery Juice and the Anna Massie Band. The brass section features the best players in the business, working with the likes of the Gil Evans Orchestra, George Michael, Robbie Williams, Ray Charles and Elton John.
We did have a manager, and he was great. It gave David and myself a little more time to be musicians rather than administrators/managers/secretaries/md’s but he has moved on to other things. Ah well. You want to manage a big band? We’re very good, just a tad on the expensive side. but worth it!
Visit Unusual Suspects website
grace, hewat, polwart
harmony goddesses, that’s us
The distinctive voices of multiple BBC Folk Award winning songwriter & guitarist Karine Polwart, Unusual Suspects co-director & harper Corrina Hewat andpiper/whistler extraordinaire Annie Grace perform vibrant and innovative harmony arrangements of Scots dance songs, lullabies and laments, tales of the supernatural and spiritual, and striking original compositions.
This unique vocal combination has sold out every gig they’ve ever done. Much in demand individually for live and recording projects, THEY ARE booking well ahead, seeking live work for autumn 2008 and into 2009 to coincide with a debut album release. With their combined experience of vocal and instrumental teaching, composition, musical collaboration and musical direction, the trio bring added value to festival events. GHP is actively interested in exciting collaborative and cross genre live and recording projects.
corrina hewat band
I have had this in my head ever since Bachue split. I have been searching out my best ever band members these last few years. Trying them all on for size. It will have juicy Scottish songs, my own songs, dance songs, tunes old and new, probably full of weird time signatures. Hey it’s bound to be funky though.