SINCE forming back in 2005 Breabach have been on a musical journey which has seen line-up changes, a hefty tour schedule and a plethora of awards.

The band’s sound has evolved throughout that time, reaching a crescendo with the release of their last album Astar, which saw the already successful five-piece reach dizzying new heights. Not that the band’s previous four albums hadn’t already hinted at what they were capable of.

Tonight, the band will be performing under Concorde alongside Barluath at the National Museum of Flight in East Fortune, East Lothian. It’s a fitting venue given the band’s obvious love of travel – they were travelling across Canada when The National spoke to them – which is nowhere more evident than on Astar itself.

How, though, did this gig come about?

“When you’re asked if you want to play a concert underneath Concorde it would be hard to turn it down. It’s going to be really fun show along with Barluath and the East Lothian massed Pipes and Drums,” says James Lindsay, double bass, relaying the answers from bandmates Ewen Robertson, vocals and guitar; Megan Henderson, vocals, fiddle and step dance; Calum MacCrimmon, pipes, whistles and bazouki, and James Duncan MacKenzie, pipes and flute.

Travel, though, is not simply something that the band undertake to fulfil tour dates. They appear to have an ability to lap up the cultures they are exposed to and that is then transferred to the music.

Astar itself means journey and the slew of influences on that recording were what made it stand out. To listen to it is to be taken on a trip through Maori, Quebecois and Scandinavian culture, all seen through the lens of the deeply Scottish folk music tradition.

Discovering new artists to collaborate with, new sounds to experiment with and different musical heritages to meld into one is something of a labour of love for Breabach.

“It’s one of the most rewarding parts of touring for me, visiting new places and finding an instant connection with the musicians and artists that are part of those communities,” says Lindsay.

“It’s kind of a fast track way of finding out about the roots of a place. It’s so easy to make music with great musicians and it’s always inspiring.”

Does the addition of guests from across the world help bring out things in the band’s approach to music that may not have seemed obvious before?

“Definitely, whether it’s a slightly unusual rhythmic feel such as the great swing that the Quebecois musicians (Le Vent Du Nord) possess or the nordic melodic influence from our friend Olav Mjelva,” Lindsay says.

“These ideas really push us out of our comfort zone.

“We loved that part of the recording. Not only was it exciting to layer these amazing musicians and singers into our music but it also really influenced and changed the direction of our arrangements.”

This ability to successfully fuse new influences and guest musicians is what made Astar such a unique and significant album. It’;s not something new but it has rarely been accomplished with such finesse as by Breabach.

Will the next recording include a similar approach?

“Astar was a real game-changer for us by bringing in so many different influences, so it seems logical that this inspiration will continue to flow through our new material,” says Lindsay.

“The last three albums have dealt with family, home and our travels so I can foresee the forthcoming album reflecting on all these ideas, however once we start working on the material there’s no guarantee what thematic direction the music will take.”

Like many, if not most, folk musicians, while travel can certainly broaden the mind, much of what Breabach do is rooted firmly in place – in their case Scotland and the Highlands in particular.

“Traditional music the world over has always reflected the people, landscapes and events that make up a place or community,” Lindsay explains.

“Folk music’s essence is purely that – of the folk.

“It feels natural to reference the places that we have spent time in or are of significance to our heritage.”

The band’s dedication to their work has seen them cross continents this year but now, after a hectic summer schedule, they are finally back home with time to reflect.

“The summer was very busy for us but very exciting,” says Lindsay. “We had a wonderful time at the Rudolstadt Festival in Germany playing to some of our biggest audiences yet.

“We had the moss blissful tour of Sweden, spent a week with our pals from Scotland at the Lorient Interceltique in France festival and even performed at the Mozartiana festival in Gdansk where we delved into some Mozart repertoire. Hard to pick a favourite!”

With all this travel, it must be difficult for the band to unwind when they finally get some time at home. Ewan and Megan were recently spotted kayaking off Arisaig in a VisitScotland advert. Is being outdoors the best way to decompress after touring?

“We’re all keen outdoor enthusiasts, whether in the hills, on the water, out on the bike or out running,” Lindsay says. “It’s definitely the best way to clear the head and spark creativity.”

So where will the next phase of the Breabach journey take them?

“The plan for the year is coming together nicely. So far we are touring the UK in February as well as heading out to Kansas to perform at the Folk Alliance Showcase.

“Following this we’ll be out in Australia throughout March visiting some great festivals including Port Fairy and The National Folk Festival.

“The summer will see us in Canada and the USA.

“We’ll also record an album at some point in between.”

For Breabach, the journey continues ...