Before I share more music (see video!), I thought you should know something about the context of the Transatlantic Seaway Music Collaboration’s smashing debut: the New Hampshire Highland Games.

big blue guy

… and that’s a wrap. Just kidding. As you can probably tell, the experience was out-of-the-ordinary even for the collaboration’s Scottish members such as Finlay MacDonald (with the hammer) and Hamish Napier (getting his head slugged off). Their new fan’s nickname is “Uncle Ogre,” by the way, after Shrek. That metal mug comes from the festival’s home-brewed soda pop cart.

Berklee student/Edinburgh native Hannah Read went to countless festivals growing up in Scotland, but nothing exactly like the NHHG. “I feel like in Scotland the big emphasis is the music. There’s no clan stuff,” she said. “Here people are really keen to find out about their heritage.” The Highland Games are entirely separate events, more like our county fairs, with, as she put it, “competitions for your cows.”

In New Hampshire, there’s no division. Here’s an amateur ogre who came all the way from Iceland to show his mettle.

Highland athlete

Nearby, this dignified gentleman practiced his technique with the… um. I didn’t get the name of the metal shillelagh-y thing.

But we were still in New Hampshire—and the fest didn’t let us forget. A Lincoln, NH town cop:

town cop in kilt

The bill o’ fare:

sandwich board

And some happy festivalgoers in the chilly morning:

kilt and fleece

So imagine these people in the audience to watch a big group of young musicians tearing it up on the fiddle and harp… and we’ll go from there.