Pulsating, vibrant, rousing and… electrifying?!? It's safe to say the Scottish traditional music in the 21st century offers a few surprises. You might think you know what traditional music is all about, but delve into today's dynamic music scene and you're bound to find something unexpected yet wholly captivating. Beware: it's pretty easy to get hooked!

Get connected in winter

Scott Wood Band Scott Wood Band at Oran Mor during Celtic Connections 2016 © FirstThreeSongs/James Carney

Did you know Celtic Connections features over 2,000 artists? A firm favourite in the live music calendar, this Glasgow festival offers a diverse range of Celtic, roots and world music, so unsurprisingly it's a hotbed for some of the most talented contemporary trad artists.

Usually spanning over three weeks in late January and early February, it's the perfect start to get a feel for the Scottish musical landscape with showcases and collaborations such as the World Beat Bothy and the Roaming Roots Revue.

Feel Scotland's rhythm in spring

In late April and early May, check out Edinburgh's TradFest, one of the biggest festivals promoting Scotland's traditional arts and Gaelic culture, with events across a range of city venues including The Pleasance and The Caves.

In the north, experience live music at the lively Shetland Folk Festival in April, a must for fans of fiddle music, or voyage to Orkney in May for the Orkney Folk Festival which features a bill of both home-grown talent and international acts.

On the Isle of Mull, spirits are high during the Mull Music Festival in April. Over the course of a weekend, the pubs and bars of Tobermory become filled with Scottish music and cheerful revelry.

Curated by trad-fusion band Skerryvore, Oban Live serves up two days of Scottish sounds in May, while near Castle Douglas in the beautiful Dumfries & Galloway, also in May, you can join a community of world music lovers at the likes of Knockengorroch World Ceilidh.

Starting in late May,  Fèis Ìle, the Islay Festival of Music and Malt, is the ideal opportunity to sample fine whiskies, Islay's most famous export, as well as experience folk sessions, trad concerts and ceilidhs.

Trad music has something special about it nowadays. You get the freedom to play what you want, be as creative as you can be, experiment with your different influences and essentially express yourself as who you are.

Mohsen Amini, BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year

Hear the sounds of the summer

Hebridean Celtic Festival siteHebridean Celtic Festival © Colin Cameron

In June, it's time to head south west for a festival with real character. The Eden Festival, set in Raehills Meadows in Dumfries & Galloway, offers an eclectic and multicultural range of experiences. Trad lovers will find a little bit of paradise in Rabbies Tavern which showcases Celtic, roots and blues artists - and puts on a traditional ceilidh every night!

On the west coast of Scotland, they really know how to let their hair down, and at Oban Live they will show you how it's done! Curated by trad-fusion band Skerryvore, this event serves up two days of Scottish sounds in June. In the same month, catch home-grown talent from the Scottish Border at Riverside Rock in Jedburgh.

Got your tent? Mates? Sunglasses (because we can always hope for sunshine!)? Then you are ready to hop on board a ferry and sail across sea to hear the sounds of Scotland! A music festival on an island is an unforgettable experience and can easily be the highlight of any summer.

In July, set sail for weekends of spirited performances and plenty of fun at the likes of the Tiree Music Festival on the Isle of Tiree, the Hebridean Celtic Festival on the Isle of Lewis, or the very small but perfectly formed ButeFest on the Isle of Bute.

The Stonehaven Folk Festival on the coast of Aberdeenshire offers four days of concerts featuring top Scottish acts, fringe events and workshops. This July festival is the perfect excuse for a seaside getaway with a trad twist.

Fèis an Eilein, held in Sleat on the Isle of Skye, takes place across July and August and gives music fans a real slice of island culture. Many events fall into the Scottish trad category, but the programme also offers a bit of jazz, theatre and world music too!

Back on the mainland, in August, experience the magical and mischievous atmosphere of Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival near Loch Ness. It's a great festival to discover up-and-coming Scottish artists as well as see big name performers.

Catch live music in autumn

With the change in seasons, there are still great opportunities to be part of amazing music-orientated events. September's BOWFest at Inveraray Castle in Argyll delivers what it promises - showcasing what's best of the west over two days - and is only a 90 minute drive from Glasgow.

Bring your dancing shoes to SkyeLive, which takes place in Portree on the Isle of Skye in September. It's an unmissable experience for fans of electronica, trad and indie.

The Highland-wide Blas Festival, which also takes place in September, showcases a range of musicians with roots in Celtic and traditional music.

If you're in the mood for some autumnal island hopping in September, why not include a trip to the Isle of Jura and join in with the Jura Music Festival? Some events even take place in the cooperage of the island's distillery. Sláinte!

Tune in to our cities

In Scotland's cities you can also discover all that's great about the trad scene. In spring, there's a huge programme of music and folk arts at Edinburgh's TradFest, whilst Glasgow, a UNESCO City of Music, annually hosts Piping Live! World Pipe Band Championships in August.

In addition, our cities are home to fantastic venues which have year-round programmes of trad, folk and Celtic roots artists, including the likes of Òran Mór in Glasgow, Hootananny in Inverness and the Queen's Hall in Edinburgh. A number of pubs, such as Sandy Bell's in Edinburgh and the Ben Nevis in Glasgow, also hold regular folk and trad sessions too.

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