Published: 20 Jan 2023
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,
- Winner ‘Trad Music in the Media’ at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards 2022
- Official Selection: Edinburgh International Film Festival 2022
Heading West, the remarkable new documentary film about Shooglenifty, one of the most ground-breaking Scottish music bands ever formed in the 1990s, is to tour cinemas throughout Scotland from 31 January 2023 thanks to support from The National Lottery through Creative Scotland and Screen Scotland.
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.
Starting with celebratory concerts in Glasgow and Galicia, Heading West looks back on the band’s long career, the impact that the death of their frontman took on the band members and their music, and includes a heart-moving tribute to Angus recorded at the Mehrangarh Fort in Rajasthan. It also covers a bit of light-hearted soul searching for the band and ends with them returning to Scotland with new energy, rekindled passion, and new tunes influenced by the beats and basslines of world music.
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.”
Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland said: “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.”
Malcolm Crosbie from Shooglenifty said: “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.”
Shooglenifty will also be touring on selected dates to support the film, first gig is at Celtic Connections (Tramway) on Saturday 4 February
Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at creativescotland.com. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Learn more about the value of art and creativity in Scotland and join in at
Screen Scotland is the national body that drives development of all aspects of Scotland’s film and TV industry, through funding and strategic support. Screen Scotland is part of Creative Scotland and delivers these services and support with funding from Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Find out more at screen.scot and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
Emma Henderson firstname.lastname@example.org, 07977134614