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In The Spotlight – Showcase

Friday, June 28 , 7:30 pm 9:30 pm

In March we opened for applications for our In The Spotlight Mentorship Programme. Ten aspiring musical acts were selected and have gone on to receive one-to-one mentorship from four brilliant music industry professionals to create an original piece to showcase, as part of this show at Universal Hall. Come along for a great night of original and exciting new music.

The show will run straight through with no intermission, but the fun won’t end once it’s over as The Phoenix Cafe will then open from 9pm for a silent disco with not just one, but two playlists to choose from. Complied by DJs Soulful Nei and Surya from Manitou Records and by Sara, the wonderful events coordinator at the cafe, there promises to be some top tunes! Stay and join us for some post-show celebratory drinks, chats and dancing, until the cafe closes at midnight.


Alina Ben Larbi is a socially engaged performance artist and academic currently researching how place-based verbatim performance can foster a sense of belonging in the Highlands and Islands. Her art practice encompasses theatre, music, and poetry, yet is always concerned with authentic expression of emotional experiences – making art an intimate medium to connect living beings. As a trained actress, her songs are simultaneously stories, told from a subjective and vulnerable point of view.

Alina Ben Larbi

George Cull was winner (with Distinction) in his class (Scots Song) at the 2023 Inverness Music Festival and recipient of the Saltire Society Trophy. He was also awarded a Commendation at the 2024 Inverness Music Festival in the classes of Scots Song and Traditional Scottish Song. George maintains his family’s traditional musical roots through the music, language (Gaelic, Scots and Doric) and culture of Scotland.  George has also travelled as far afield as the USA to immerse himself in Cajun, Zydeco, Bluegrass and Gospel. 

George Cull

Dave Falconer is a songwriter, collaborator and multi-instrumentalist living in the Northwest Highlands.  Originally from Newcastle upon Tyne he moved to Scotland over a decade ago and immersed himself in the acoustic music scene which thrives in his adopted home.  He sees himself as a storyteller and doesn’t restrict himself to one genre though, bringing elements of rock, ambient, gospel or trip hop to his performances – whatever is required to tell the tale – but always maintains an element that is recognisable as his.  He has recorded and appeared on stages across the UK both as a solo artist and as a member of several bands.

Dave Falconer

Little Manitou are a global music project based in the Highlands, originating from Africa, Iran and the States and fusing Rock, Trance & Dance into live electronic music. Brother/sister duo, Surya and Neile, moved to London in 1996 frequenting the open mic circuit. 10 years later, Dorna came on the scene, married Surya and eventually the electronic trio produced their album Universal Dust in 2019. Manitou is a name used by Native American tribes to refer to the life force present in all beings, human and spirit. It is this energy that binds us together, connecting us to everyone and everything.

Little Manitou

Maria Miller is a singer-songwriter based in Elgin, Moray. She likes to play songs that are fun, upbeat and tell a tale. They can be about Scotland past or present or about some of its many characters. Sometimes they are just about having a good time. At present Maria is a member of the Celtic-folk band, Dougal’s Jumper. She has played with various bands over the years as well a performing solo. Maria has been lucky enough to play with some great musicians in some wonderful places, ranging from Disney to Drumnadrochit!

Maria Miller

Myfanwy (phonetic pronunciation: Muh-Van Wee) Morgan [They/Them] is an up-and-coming artist on the music scene, with a current fascination for mixing traditional Scots elements into a wide variety of different genres, and when they’re not adding that Scots spice, they dabble in writing music and or lyrics in many different styles. In 2023 they took part in Moniack Mhor’s programme “STAGES“. This culminated in the creation of their original track “Cross My Heart“, which is now available to stream on most large services and on CD via The Moniack Mhor Website/Amazon!

Myfanwy Morgan

Oran is a sonic storyteller who delves into the depths of human experience. With her distinct blend of vulnerability and unwavering authenticity, Oran invites listeners to join her on a musical journey of self-discovery and exploration. Born in Australia, raised in the Scottish Highlands, Oran’s soaring vocals and laid-back blues phrasing meet potent, powerful lyrical imagery. Her love of legends and acoustic instrumentation is paired with big electronic beats and layered melodic textures. Drawing inspiration from folk, gospel and pop, Oran’s songs are bound to capture and captivate your ears and heart.


For six months back in 2004, Lizzi Pearce was singing covers in bars and hotels in Cyprus. Since then she has sung occasionally with other musicians, but life is not just about singing someone else’s song and she’s excited about working more on her own compositions. She enjoys various genres, including jazz, pop and ballads. Her musical inspirations come from artists such as Kate Bush, Pink Floyd and Melody Gardot and sometimes she can be found singing with her 13-year-old son Leo, making up little ditties. The In the Spotlight live show will be Lizzi’s first performance at Universal Hall…something she’s always dreamed of doing.

Lizzi Pearce

Neil Robertson is a singer and guitarist living in Findhorn, who has played in a few bands over the years, mainly performing cover versions in his own style. He has always written songs but has rarely been confident enough to perform them live, so the opportunity to work with some of the best songwriters in the business and to develop new material he would be happy to call his own was too good to miss! Performing the finished song in public at the Universal Hall, Neil’s local venue, will be the icing on the cake.

Neil Robertson

Cha Rosario is a sound designer and musician based in the Scottish Isles. Hailing from the Cordillera Mountain Range of the Philippine Islands, Cha’s songwriting weaves stories of home and everywhere in between, characterised by soulful vocals and undertones of traditional Filipino kundiman guitar. Cha’s most recent release is her song Fire / Ang Alamat ni Daragang Magayon, a re-telling of the legend of Daragang Magayon, guardian of Mount Mayon, an active stratovolcano in the Philippines.

Cha Rosario

To find out more about the mentorship programme and the four music industry professional mentors, Josie Duncan, Boo Hewerdine, Ewan MacPherson and Jenny Sturgeon head to our website here.

We’re making this event as accessible as possible at £5 admission for all!

For those of you who are unable to attend in person, the event will be live-streamed and is bookable via Ticket Tailor using the button below. Book now and the link will be sent before the show start.

£5 Admission For All* | Live-stream By Donation

* We are offering a free carer/companion ticket for any disabled or wheelchair-user audience members throughout our shows this season. Please note that it is helpful if this is booked in advance via the WeGotTickets website, so that we can ensure that there is adequate accessible seating reserved on the day/night of the event.

Wheelchair access, or entry for people with a disability is available from the side entrance, by the Phoenix Café.

Tickets for this show will be available from the Phoenix soon.

Please note that this is a seated event.

Universal Hall

The Universal Hall, The Park, Findhorn
Forres, Scotland IV36 3TZ United Kingdom