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Inverness and Thurso band Gabbro picks up festival slot at CalMac Culture Music finals


A five-piece band, with members from both Inverness and Thurso, has taken one of CalMac Culture Music's hotly-contested festival slots.

Founded earlier this year by fiddler and singer Rachel Campbell, Gabbro - named after a type of igneous rock found prominently in The Cuillins - will play at Inveraray's Bluebell Festival.

CalMac Culture Music began last year and aims to find new and rising talent - the prize is a dream slot on one of a number of festival line-ups. Last year alone, Caledonian MacBrayne helped support 100 events around Scotland's west coast, a community commitment which is very important; the CalMac Culture competition has helped to introduce a new audience - both young and older - to the islands and what the thriving cultural scenes there have to offer.

As well as 24-year-old Rachel from Inverness, the band members are vocalist Kerrie Finlay, 33, and drummer Andrew Davidson, 29, also both from the Highlands' capital, and guitarist and vocalist Andy Williamson, 25, and 30-year old bass guitarist Richard Moncur, both from Thurso.

Gabbro performed songs written by both Rachel and Kerrie at the final to net themselves the coveted slot.

"We had a ball at the final," said Rachel. "It was a great experience. We are delighted that our has been music enjoyed as we had such a great time performing it."

The band members came together for the first time in November 2014 to play at a special concert called CRY Out for a Ceilidh (also starring Donnie Munro and Calum MacDonald from Runrig) organised by Rachel in memory of her friend Andrew MacLeod. They enjoyed the experience so much that Gabbro was launched in January this year. Though Kerrie is the only Gaelic speaker in the band -fellow vocalist Rachel is learning and drummer Andy learnt a little at school - their material includes a cross section of material sung in both Gaelic and English.

"CalMac Culture Music has become a firm calendar favourite after just two years," said CalMac's marketing manager Peter Griffiths. "Congratulations to Gabbro on securing one of the five festival slot prizes - their performance at the final was absolutely fantastic and the judges clearly thought so too.

"We have been working very closely with the festival organisers and King Tut's to make this competition Scotland's premier contest for rising musical talent and we are really happy that it is thriving and drawing entries of superb quality - the decision-making process has been extremely difficult at every stage.

"If some bands and singers were unlucky this year, we would encourage them not to be disheartened and to enter again next year."

Footage from the finals can be viewed on the CalMac Culture YouTube channel.

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