SETTING out from their native Orkney for a second Christmas tour, Fara bring their brand of Christmas cheer to Bury Met in December.

“We loved the tour last year,” said Jeana Leslie “It was great fun. We re-arranged some of our own music as well as put our own touch on some of the more famous Christmas Carols. Silent Night seemed to be the audience favourite from last year, so it will be interesting to see if that’s the same this time round”

The band who combine three fiddles, piano and stunning harmonies are no strangers to awards having notched up BBC Young Musician of the Year, The German Critics Award and finalists as BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and with two albums under their belts, Cross the Line and Times from Times Fall, they have received rave reviews and performed at several of the world’s leading festivals and venues. Through it all the the strong Orkney fiddle tradition that the three women in the band grew up on together continues to be at the heart of each of their musical characters.

“Orkney is so important for us,” said Jeana. “The plan for our second album was to write about Orkney using words written by Orcadian writers. It really is the centre of our universe.”

As Jeana explains, the remote archipelago has a distinct culture, with traditions of the Scottish Highlands such as tartan, clans, bagpipes not indigenous to the musical traditions of the islands.

“Orkney is its own country really and it feels like its thriving at the moment,” she said. “I’m one of the few from my groups of friends who hasn’t moved back home after university and that’s because the way of life is so good, it’s a safe place to bring up a family and there is a massive community vibe which encourages people to look after each other.

“It can be dismal in the winter but if you can survive that you’ll be fine!”

With a long tradition of fiddle and accordion music, Fara are one of a number of groups trying to keep the music alive and ensure that the unique sound of the islands is introduced to new audiences.

“We are trying to make Orkney proud and get the music out there,” said Jeana. “It’s great fun when we go home because everyone is so supportive but although it is important to stay true to our traditions it’s also good to break boundaries and because so much of the music is passed down through oral tradition it never turns out exactly the same. It has to evolve if it is to stay relevant and popular. By all means know the tradition but take it on, evolve it and add your own thing to it. It’s hard to do that to Mozart or Beethoven, but with folk you can adapt it and give it your voice.”

Fara appear at the Bury Met on Saturday, December 14 at 8pm.