“Nothing prepares you for the high octane music of the Peatbog Faeries. Powerful melodies are dextrously pumped out with a smart degree of techno attitude, while cross-rhythms ricochet over a heavy bass that hits you forcefully like a massive heart beat.”
Peatbog Faeries – three decades at the forefront of Scottish music…
Hailing from the Isle of Skye, the legendary Scottish trailblazers have created a glorious mixture of traditional sounds and dance-floor grooves that have been embraced worldwide. Drawing upon a dazzling myriad of influences from jigs and reels through Dance Music, Jazz, African, and more, they bring the sound of Scotland fresh-faced and breathless to the new audiences around the world. Their mainly instrumental music allows the band to develop exciting themes and soundscapes, as well as locking into their trademark hypnotic sound that no-one can resist dancing to!
From the moment they take to the stage, the mood is set for a no-nonsense feel-good atmosphere – each number sounding like an encore in itself. They tease unlikely combinations from the familiarity of instruments such as fiddle and highland pipes – blending with techno rhythms and soaring sounds and take this to another plain. The traditional styles that influence the musicians are still to be heard – and when an unexpected drop-down to those glorious core melodies sneaks in – the result is spine-chilling! In short, it rocks – and the audience becomes part of the experience.
The band is made up of Peter Morrison on pipes and whistles, Ross Couper on fiddle, Innes Watson on acoustic guitar, fiddle and vocals, Tom Salter on guitar, Norman Willmore on keyboards and sax, Innes Hutton on bass and Stuart Brown on drums.
A little bit about the Peatbog Faeries’ colourful history…
The bands first performance under the name Peatbog Faeries took place in “An Bothan” in the Skye village of Edinbane on the 31st of May 1991. Peter and Innes are the only remaining original members. The other three founding members were Davie Tait, Alan Edmunds and Ali Pentland.
During the next five years the band went through a period development and personnel change, with the short term involvement of several Skye based musicians including Lorraine Marshall, Alasdair Cadona, Jenny Booth and John Lamont until it’s first recording, a limited edition cassette called “The Great Ceilidh Swindle”. The line-up by this stage, as well as Peter and Innes, were Didi Findlay on fiddle and vocals, Ali Pentland on guitar, Dave Bagley on keyboards and Willie Molleson on drums.
In 1996 the band were signed by the record company “Greentrax” and recorded their first commercially released album “Mellowocity”, which was to remain a Greentrax top 10 seller for nearly 15 years. By this stage Ben Molleson had replaced Didi on fiddle, Norman Austin had replaced Dave on keys and Iain Copeland took over on drums from Willie Molleson, with this now more recognisable Peatbog line-up going on to record the critically acclaimed album “Faerie Stories”.
The next significant change came in 2003 when Roddy Neilson took over from Ben on fiddle, present guitarist Tom Salter replaced Ali Pentland and Leighton Jones assumed the keyboard role from Norman. This line-up recorded the album “Welcome to Dunvegas”
2005 saw a change of direction from the band with the addition of a three-piece brass section. We were incredibly fortunate that world class brass musicians, trombonist Rick Taylor and saxophonist Nigel Hitchcock moved to Skye. Along with trumpet player Paul Spong the band found themselves touring with a brass section that had worked with names such as Elton John, Tom Jones and many other. Our first album in this format saw present keyboard player, Graeme Stafford, replace Leighton and Adam Sutherland replace Roddy on fiddle.
This line-up stayed constant for three albums, “Croftwork” in 2015, “What Men Deserve to Lose” in 2007 and the Peatbogs first live album in 2009.
With Adam moving on in 2010, Peter Tickell took over responsibilities on the fiddle and Stu Haikney joined the band shortly after, replacing Iain Copeland on drums. By this stage we had recorded three albums and toured for six years with the brass section and even though they featured on much of the 2012 album “Dust” we decided to tour once more as a six-piece. One further change took place in 2013 when Peter Tickell was offered a place in Sting’s band and was replaced by current fiddler Ross Couper. The band recorded “Blackhouse” in 2015, and to celebrate their 25th anniversary, Live@25 in 2017. In 2022, with the departure of Graeme Stafford and Stu Haikney, Shetlander Norman Willmore took up the position of keyboard player and added his sax playing skills to the mix and Stu Brown joined as the new drummer and percussionist. In addition, the band added a seventh member in Innes Watson on acoustic guitar, fiddle and vocals.
During the Peatbogs now 30 year career they have twice been voted Scots Live Band of the Year along with several other nominations. In 2016 the band were presented with the Landmark Award by “Hands up for Trad” for their 25 year contribution to Scottish folk music. They have played and headlined countless events around the world, including Glastonbury five times, and Celtic Connections over a dozen times. They’ve played to crowds of up to 50,000 people, represented Scotland in Sri Lanka in the successful bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games as well as many Visit Scotland events, including New York, Sydney, Barcelona and Amsterdam.
The band have performed in venues and at festivals around the world including in Australia, Canada, USA, Singapore, Borneo, Namibia, Botswana, Mexico, Azerbaijan and many more.
Over the years the band have been asked to say where the name came from. So here you go…
Whilst on an “extended” holiday in the Western Isles with some friends in 1989, drinking whisky, playing tunes and lying around beaches Innes had a chance meeting with an old woman in the village of Laxay, on the Isle of Lewis. Her name was Mary Anne and she happened to mention that there was a lot of peat to be lifted and dried. So the next few days were spent out on the hill making little stacks in what seemed endless miles of bog. Mary Anne christened us “sìth na mòine” – the peat faeries.