News - Heading West

Shooglenifty onstage

Heading West, the remarkable new documentary film about Shooglenifty, is to tour cinemas throughout Scotland from the end of January ...

Press Release

What happens when the front man of a band that have been together for more than 25 years dies ... can the band carry on without him?

Heading West is a story about a Scottish band called Shooglenifty. Together for more than quarter of a century and loved all over the world, they are devastated when Angus, their fiddle-playing frontman gets ill and dies in just a few months.

Starting with celebratory concerts in Glasgow and Galicia, the Shoogles (as they are known to their fans) work on their loss, look back on their long career, reflect on the music that Angus has left them, and with a little help from fiddle-playing friends get through a year of grief and introspection. As part of the process they record a heart-moving tribute to their late frontman in the Mehrangarh Fort, Rajasthan. Returning home to Scotland, they find that the music does, indeed, live on ...

The film, which was premiered during the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2022, documents the band’s amazing career and their emotional journey to rediscover their musical style following the death of frontman Angus R Grant in 2016. Formed in 1990 by musicians from the Scottish Highlands, Orkney and Edinburgh, the 7-piece ‘Shoogles’ (Eilidh Shaw, Ewan MacPherson, Malcolm Crosbie, Gary Finlayson, James Mackintosh, Quee Macarthur, and Kaela Rowan) have played to crowds of tens of thousands at major festivals all over the world and have released nine studio albums to date. They were the first UK band to play in Cuba, and the first Scots to perform in the Borneo Rainforest, they were also the first ever band to incite a stage invasion at the Sydney Opera House, and more recently in 2020 they brought in the bells at Edinburgh’s world-famous Hogmanay.

Heading West is directed by BAFTA award-winner Don Coutts best known for Channel 4’s live chat show After Dark and the award winning BBC children’s series Katie Morag. It is produced by Jane-Ann Purdy a founding director of The Soundhouse Organisation and programmer of Edinburgh Tradfest, and edited by broadcaster Michelle Lord.

Jane-Ann Purdy, Producer of Heading West said “We’re delighted to be touring Heading West to cinemas across Scotland this year. The film is a fascinating insight into the impact the loss of Angus had on the band both as a musician and as a friend. It also celebrates their influence on the traditional music scene in Scotland from when they first rose to fame in the 1990s, and why their musical style is still seen as ‘original and best’ by Shoogle fansworldwide.”

Malcolm Crosbie from Shooglenifty added "It was an honour to make this film. Planned as a documentary of the recording of our collaboration with our Rajasthani musician friends, it evolved into a record of our efforts to deal with the loss of our great friend and fiddle player, Angus. We had the realisation during the making that we still loved creating music together and that the film will always be a reminder of that.”

Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland praised both band and documentary, saying “Shooglenifty’s influence on the Scottish trad scene cannot be underestimated. For 30 years they have pushed back musical boundaries and connected with audiences and fellow artists across the world. The band’s open-hearted approach was embedded in the spirit of fiddle genius Angus R Grant and is perfectly captured in this moving and uplifting documentary. Creative Scotland and Screen Scotland are proud to have played our part in getting the film made and now sharing Shooglenifty’s triumphant story with cinema audiences across Scotland.”

The full cinema screenings list is below, taking place thanks to support from The National Lottery through Creative Scotland and Screen Scotland.

30th January | 2:45pm | Glasgow Film Theatre | Find out more
10th February | 8:30pm | Screen Machine, Liniclate | Find out more
11th February | 7:30pm | Universal Hall, Forres | Find out more
17th February | 5:30pm | Screen Machine, Castlebay | Find out more
18th February | 7:30pm | Mareel, Lerwick | Find out more
19th/21st/22nd February | Various times | Highland Cinema, Fort William | Find out more
23rd February | 8pm | An Lanntair, Stornoway | Find out more
24th February | TBC | Ceilidh Place, Ullapool | On sale soon
25th February | TBC | UistFilm, Lochmaddy | On sale soon
25th February | 7pm | Cromarty Cinema | Find out more

Shooglenifty will also be touring on selected dates to support the film, first gig is at Celtic Connections (Tramway) on Saturday 4 February

Image - Angus R Grant, former frontman of Shooglenifty best known for creating the folk-fusion genre that became known as ‘acid croft’. Photo by Douglas Robertson.
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