A PROFOUNDLY moving but ultimately uplifting documentary centred on the shockingly swift and premature death of one of Scotland’s most talented modern musicians is to receive its world premiere in Edinburgh next month.

Angus Grant was just 49 when he was given a few months to live after he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2016.

One of the founders of the hugely popular band Shooglenifty, which has performed all over the world and helped create the folk fusion genre dubbed acid-croft, his terminal illness not only wiped out his own future but made the grief-stricken members of the band question whether they could continue without him.

At the time, the band were due to fly to India to make a new album and film with musicians in Rajasthan, but while Grant still wanted to go, it quickly became clear he was too ill, and the project was postponed for a year.

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“It was the right decision in the end because he died on October 9 when we would have been there,” former manager Jane-Ann Purdy told the Sunday National.

She is the producer of the new documentary Heading West, which will receive its premiere on August 19 at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Creative Scotland agreed to continue funding support for the film, despite the postponement, and it was agreed it would now cover the loss of the unforgettable frontman and how the band dealt with it.

“It was obviously devastating for a band who had been together for 26 years at the time to lose someone so important and so loved by everybody,” said Purdy. “What do you do? Do you carry on? So it is a story of loss and how you deal with that and come through it.”

The film includes archive footage showing Grant playing and talking and also features his father

Aonghas, the renowned left-handed Lochaber fiddler and teacher who is now 90 and still playing.

The National: The documentary will focus on Shooglenifty fiddle player Angus A Grant, far leftThe documentary will focus on Shooglenifty fiddle player Angus A Grant, far left

“His father said Angus was soon able to play tunes better than he could, so there is a little bit about that in the film and how he kind of rebelled as a teenager and started learning electric guitar then went back to the fiddle,” said Purdy.

“It also covers how the band formed and how they, in a way, brought Scottish traditional music back to what it was designed for, which was dancing. There is all that story, and then the

human story about how they commemorate him, how they go on, how they find their new fiddle player

Eilidh Shaw, and how incredible that ends up being.”

Shaw and Grant were actually both taught by Aonghas, who gave all his favourite fiddle students a red tassel he made himself and which they attach to the end of their fiddles.

“Angus had one and Eilidh has one,” said Purdy.

Included in the film is some of the tribute concert to Grant held at Celtic Connections in January 2017.

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“It started off with six guest fiddlers but ended up with 62 musicians because they all wanted to play,” said Purdy. “Luckily, they were not all on stage at once, but everyone who had ever played with Angus wanted to be in that show. So we filmed that and went from there.”

THE band were then invited to Santiago de Compostela in Spain to perform another tribute concert for Grant and finally travelled to Rajasthan, where they have performed several times to make their album Written In Water, which became a tribute to Grant.

Heading West was finally finished in November. Purdy said she is delighted with the end result.

“We actually tested it on people who had never heard of Shooglenifty as we wanted it to touch a wider audience, as well as appeal to fans,” she said. “Thankfully, they loved it and appreciated the universal theme of dealing with the loss of a loved one. We’re now really excited about it having its premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival.”