News

Permission Granted for Gregg Violin to be Played at Ayrshire Music Event in September 2019

The 267-year old violin belonged to Burns’ dance teacher, and will be played at Alloway Music Evening

Ayr, Scotland, September 2019 – Scotia Arts Ltd, a Troon-based events company, introduces the inaugural Land o’ Burns Fiddle Weekend. Launching on 27 – 29th September 2019, the festival aims to support, sustain and encourage Scottish fiddle music. Scotia Arts has vast musical event organisation experience involving local, national and international musicians. Company Director, Blair Parham, who is also the conductor and musical director of the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra, organises the annual Stirling Bridge International Arts Festival, a week-long event in July, which brings international musicians to Scotland to enjoy a combination of performance and travel.

The Ayrshire region is bursting with music lovers, musicians, open mic nights and weekly jam sessions, however, Scotia Arts recognises the desire for more fiddle workshops and concerts. The Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra is evidence for the number of fiddle-lovers in the area, and the Land o’ Burns Fiddle Weekend is designed to offer a weekend of fiddle music.

On Saturday 28th September 2019, there will be an intimate concert at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum open for the public, where the sought-after fiddle tutors will be showcasing their skills. The museum has generously granted special permission for the Gregg Violin to be used on this evening; the 267-year-old violin which belonged to Robert Burns’ dance teacher, William Gregg. Burns was a keen and capable fiddler himself, so he would have undoubtedly played on the famous Gregg Violin. The baroque violin appears in Visit Scotland’s e-book, The History of Scotland in 25 Objects.

When Burns was a teenager, he started taking dance lessons. He had hoped dancing would help to ‘give my manners a brush’, but instead it helped the young poet to rebel against his father, who did not approve of such corrupt behaviour.
Over the last 200 years, the violin is said to have remained within the Gregg family. However, it deteriorated over time. In 1995, the violin was restored and repaired by Wallace Galbraith, of the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra.

For many years, the Gregg Violin was taken on international tours by the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra and is now stored at Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, under the care of The National Trust for Scotland. To see and hear this magnificent instrument, which dates back to 1750, a stone’s throw from Burns Cottage will be something to remember! Alongside our talented tutors, we have special guest Seán Gray, renowned Scottish guitarist, promising to make this concert a very special evening.

Saturday 28th September 2019: Alloway – Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. You can purchase tickets here.

For more information on the Land o’ Burns Fiddle Weekend, please visit www.fiddleweekend.com or contact jenn@scotiaarts.com.

News

TradMentor – A New Mentoring Programme for Traditional Musicians in Scotland

Applications are now open for TradMentor, a programme offering traditional musicians the opportunity to receive mentoring from established practitioners. Supported by Creative Scotland and the Youth Music Initiative, the programme is part of the Traditional Music Forum’s ongoing support for artists working in participatory settings.

A mentoring partnership provides one-to-one time with a trained mentor to discuss your work in confidence. You will decide what to focus on and how to use the time.

Twelve mentee places are available for the programme, which will run from January to October 2020. Applicants should be:

  • based in Scotland
  • not in full-time education
  • a member of the TMF, or associated with a TMF member organisation
  • over 18

Applicants should also have a strong track record of active involvement in teaching traditional music in various settings, and a commitment to professional development.

If you are interested, request an application form by emailing Jo Miller at jomiller62@gmail.com by 27 September, 2019.

News

Telling Ten Tales on Ten Tall Ships

The Scottish Storytelling Forum (SSF) is a membership organisation, dedicated to keeping the art of live oral storytelling alive and growing in Scotland – a diverse network of storytellers and individuals supporting Scotland’s vibrant storytelling community. It’s facilitated by Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland (TRACS) and based at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

The SSF blog series hopes to introduce you to the many different strands within the storytelling scene in Scotland and beyond.

This month, we hear from storyteller Jan Bee Brown about her adventures on the high seas and her challenge to ‘tell ten tales on ten tall ships’.

‘Those who have been following my nautical exploits this summer may know that I spent 3 weeks in Norway fishing for stories of the sea in July whilst attempting to complete my personal challenge to ‘tell tales on ten tall ships’. Having trawled for tales that link our coasts and waters I can report that I came home with quite a good catch.

‘Linking up Leith and Lillesand, I stayed with Norwegian storyteller Hilde Eskild to research Norwegian author, poet and playwright Gabriel Scott who was born in Leith in 1874. I was delighted to find his hilarious shaggy dog tales of sailor Pider Rø and they have a distinctly steam-punk flavour. The one thing we have in common is the weather and in Kristiansand during a rainstorm a local lady offered to lend me an umbrella. We got chatting about my mission and I asked if she had any Scottish connections? Ragnhild Flåt explained that she was the granddaughter of Shetland bus hero Ingvald Eidsheim who completed 43 trips to Norway as commander of the submarine chaser ‘Hitra’ between 1943-45. During his retirement he championed the restoration of ‘Hitra’ which he found by way of a cold war crisis, the dramatic ‘Whiskey on the Rocks’ incident and a Swedish state secret: The Curious Case of the Flatulent Herring.

‘Having told tales on ‘HMS Unicorn’ in Dundee and on ‘The Glenlee’ in Glasgow before I flew to Norway, on my first day in Oslo I braced myself to be brazen and blagged myself a free shrimp supper in return for a story. As ‘The Christiana’ sailed up Oslofjord it dawned on me that this was essentially a booze cruise and that this crew were pretty well oiled however it wasn’t my story of Skye’s Amazon queen, Sgiath, that sobered them up but their bar bill with beer at £9 a pint.

‘I wanted to fully understand the power of the North Sea and so I joined The Jubilee Sailing Trust for a 10-day adventure at sea in company with The Tall Ships Race from Fredrickstad and with the wind in our sails a Force 8 certainly tested my sea legs! So ship number 4 was sail training ship Lord Nelson or ‘Nellie’ as she is affectionately known. The sea does not discriminate! The JST’s unique mission is to give people of mixed abilities and circumstances the freedom to explore their ability, potential and place in the world through inclusive adventures at sea. My trip certainly changed my attitude to ability, disability and integration. The permanent crew on board Nellie were fantastic and ensured we all sailed as equals, with their help we experienced 4 hour watches, life in the galley and took up the challenge to be ‘Hookers’ and ‘Tossers’ whilst hauling the anchor into the belly of Lord Nelson.

‘It was simply wonderful to have Norwegians on board who shared their knowledge of the places we visited and stories… Viking stories and love stories from them, including Harald the Fair-haired or Scruffy Harry who united Norway for the first time. Norway had until then been ruled by many minor kings and in defeat where did they go? Scotland, Ireland and Holland naturally!

‘I had the pleasure of sharing many stories with the mixed ability crew during the 10-day journey and to visitors during Nellie’s open ship event in Bergen. The story of Norwegian sea dog Bamse’s adventures in Port Edgar and Dundee was a firm favourite with families and the story of Betty Mouat, disabled and drifting for 8 days from Shetland to the shores of Lepsòy Island was also loved. However, for me the stories that were the most important were the true tales of tenacity at sea from the volunteer crew as we sailed. I listened with a storyteller’s ear to the personal stories as a random group of international strangers became a crew and folk shared their hopes, fears and their relationship to the sea.

‘I watched with interest as one member of the voluntary crew battled with her dragons. Her story, which was so intertwined with the sea, simply broke my heart. You learn more about humanity in one single trip with The Jubilee Sailing Trust than in a lifetime. Empathy, humility, courage, every single assumption was challenged daily, sometimes hourly as the permanent crew carefully guided us with humour and kindness to Bergen.

‘However, time was soon running out and I still had another half a dozen tall ships to tell tales on and I needed to be both tenacious and audacious. Over two days in Bergen I made contact with 6 more ships to complete my sponsorship goal! I told tales on German, Dutch, and Norwegian vessels and on the Sultan of Oman’s tall ship on Sultan’s Day.

‘My favourite experience was on the German training ship ‘Roald Amundsen’. Sharing stories in German, with a simultaneous translation by a young Russian interpreter, of U-Boat commanders in both world wars was my most important challenge. I wanted to tell these tales to illustrate the ‘International Law of the Sea’ and the futility of war to 60 young cadets from Germany and Russia.

‘At the crew parade, the fancy dress reflected the concerns of these young cadets and current worldwide issues as their ingenious recycled costumes and banners illustrated the war against plastics. The Tall Ships Race brings together sailors from around the world and so sharing stories with them during this sweltering summer of global environmental issues and racist rhetoric was certainly important to me.

‘Back on dry land I caught up with the news, the plight of Syrian refugees, wrecked ships and rescue ships that can find no port to take them. Sinking a free beer on my last night in Bergen whilst watching the fireworks I thought about the pubs down at the Shore in Leith back in July 1914 and again even in August 1939 and how sailors of many nations would be drinking together and singing sea shanties together just as we were…Cheers! Prossit! Skål! The ‘Law of the Sea’ ensures that any sailor should be saved regardless of their nationality. It is true that the sea does not discriminate but unfortunately governments do.’

Be sure to join seafaring storyteller, Jan Bee Brown, and Dutch shanty choir, Heeren van de Heijs, for plenty of stories and shanties at Ship to Shore: Shanties & Tales of Tall Ships on Saturday 28th of September at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. More information

About the Scottish Storytelling Forum:
Join Us Newsletter
Twitter Facebook

News

Live Music Now Scotland are recruiting musicians now!

Auditions in Glasgow:
Wednesday 13 & Thursday 14 November 2019
Application closing date: Thursday 3 October 2019

Live Music Now Scotland is looking for musicians and ensembles for paid performances in unusual settings – bringing live music of the highest quality to people in the community who can’t easily access concerts.

Any style of music is welcome, including classical, traditional, international, rock, pop and jazz, although you must be able to perform without PA.

Musicians should be in the early stages of their professional careers.

Find out more & apply now: http://www.livemusicnow.org.uk/auditions-home
View the audition flyer.

News

BBC RADIO SCOTLAND YOUNG TRADITIONAL MUSICIAN AWARD 2020: SEMI-FINALISTS ANNOUNCED

The event has been running since 2001, raising the profile of Scottish traditional music and recognising rising talent in the genre. Last year’s winner from the six finalists was fiddle player Benedict Morris from Glasgow (photo above). The competition is a great opportunity for young musicians to showcase their talents and to take another step forward in their career.

As ever the semi-finals are full of 12 instrumentalists and singers from all round the country. They are:

Calum McIlroy – Guitar, Mandolin, Scots song (Aberdeenshire)
Savannah Donohoe – Flute (Ireland)
Eddie Seaman – Pipes/Whistles (Edinburgh)
Ciorstaidh Chaimbeul – Accordion (Skye)
Scott Figgins – Highland Bagpipes (Irvine)
John Dew – Highland Bagpipes (Crieff)
Padruig Morrison – Accordion (Uist)
Josie Duncan – Voice (Lewis)
Cameron Nixon – Voice (Aberdeen)
Steaphanaidh Chaimbeul – Voice (Skye)
Alexander (Ali) Levack – Whistles, Bagpipes (Dingwall)
Mhairi Mackinnon – Fiddle (Perthshire)

The semi-finals will be held in Coulter Hall, Coulter, South Lanarkshire on the 23rd November at 7.30pm.

The final BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2020, which is organised with Hands Up for Trad, will be held on Sunday 2 February 2020 in City Halls, Glasgow as part of Celtic Connections and will be broadcast live on the station.

News

Fringe 2019: Q&A with Strange Town on Dr Korczak’s Example

Name of your show:

Dr Korczak’s Example

How would you describe your show in one sentence?  

Based on real events, this ‘Brechtian’ retelling generates an almost unbearable power and pathos through the simple humanity, warts and all, of the central characters who are trapped both by the inexorable forces of Nazi oppression and by our fore-knowledge of the fate that awaits them.

Is this the first time that you are performing at the Fringe?

No. In 2017, Strange Town had the first sold out show of the fringe with their unique site-specific production ‘A Field of Our Own’, which was performed underneath the terraces of Hibernian Football Club’s iconic Easter Road stadium.

What do you think sets your show apart from all the other Festival offerings?

The strength and economy of the writing and the incredible true story.

The Centre’s Fringe showcase is exploring and reacting to the challenges we face in today’s world by sharing stories in all their forms – what is your show saying?

The show is a reminder and a warning to young audiences that we must never forget that this happened in Europe less than a hundred years ago. As the script says – ‘This story happened. It did happen.’

Dr. Korczak’s Example 

Wed 21 – Sun 25 Aug, 12pm

Book Tickets

News

Fringe 2019: Q&A with Alice Fernbank and Graham Dickson on The Golden Fly

Name of your show:

The Golden Fly

How would you describe your show in one sentence? 

An epic tale of a shapeshifting Goddess who journeys across worlds in search of a golden awakening.

Is this the first time that you are performing at the Fringe?

No.

What do you think sets your show apart from all the other Festival offerings?

I’m not sure, there are many shows where you get to hear an epic myth from start to finish with no theatrical frills, just a larger than life storyteller and an Olympic flautist bringing you the magic of a traditional Celtic wonder tale through captivating music and storytelling.

The Centre’s Fringe showcase is exploring and reacting to the challenges we face in today’s world by sharing stories in all their forms – what is your show saying?

This story is a very old story that is crammed with meaning and metaphor that is transferable to our current times. That said it is not for me to tell my audience what it means or what it is saying. That is for them to decide.

How do you #MakeYourFringe itinerary? What’s the show that you don’t want to miss?

I usually wait for the recommendations to role in and then I decide what to see. And I always support my friends if they’re performing.

 

The Golden Fly 

Wed 21 – Sun 25 Aug, 5.30pm

Book Tickets

News

Do you play in a folk band? Enter Battle of The Folk Bands 2020!

Hands Up for Trad are inviting bands to send in a demo to take part in The Battle of the Folk Bands 2020 competition to be held at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections Festival on Saturday January 25th 2020 at 2pm.

If you are in a band or have an idea for a band that you haven’t tried out yet this could be for you! We want musicians to take a chance and make a band that you might never have thought of! Your band can have as many as 5 members and as little as 2. it can be a song band or instrumental or a mixture of the two. You don’t need to have performed any gigs yet. All you have to do is upload 2 demo mp3s (no bigger than 4MBs each) and a brief resume using the form below. These will be listened to by a selected panel of musicians who are looking for musicality and originality and the 4 best entries will get through to perform at battle of the folk bands at Celtic Connections on January 25th 2020. 1 winner will be chosen at the concert. If you are having trouble uploading MP3s – don’t worry. Fill in the form and email Hands Up for Trad.

Read about the 2019 winners The Canny Band.

The prizes are: performances at Celtic Connections, Skye Festival, One day recording at Caribou with Mattie Foulds.

Deadline for submissions is Sunday 8th September 2019. Bands will be informed on the week of 16th September if they have made it through to Battle of The Folk Bands Final.

ENTER HERE

News

Fringe 2019: Q&A with Brite Theatre on (Can This Be) Home

Name of your show:

(Can This Be) Home

How would you describe your show in one sentence?

Poetic and musical journey through the personal impact of Brexit so far.

Is this the first time that you are performing at the Fringe?

It is for Kolbrun, she usually doesn’t perform but writes or directs, but as this is a personal story, she felt it was important to perform it herself. Tom has appeared at the Fringe many times, however.

 

What do you think sets your show apart from all the other Festival offerings?

The format, not many shows offer a “straight” gig alongside a spoken word performance where the two stay separated but are thematically linked. Tom is a world class wooden flute player, and it is a rare chance to see him play solo. Theatre audiences tend not to expect that level of quality from live music within shows. It is also a very personal story, but from the audience reaction at previous performances, it seems it resonates with a wide range of people.

The Centre’s Fringe showcase is exploring and reacting to the challenges we face in today’s world by sharing stories in all their forms – what is your show saying?

(Can This Be) Home is exploring what Brexit means to immigrants and remainers, and the impact it has had on all of us. Political decisions have very real personal consequences, and it has shown up a seemingly insurmountable political rift within the UK. We wanted to document the changes happening in real time, which is why we update the show to respond to recent events every time.

How do you #MakeYourFringe itinerary? What’s the show that you don’t want to miss?

It’s a mix of must sees (usually based on artists or companies we know and love) and what happens to be on, looks good and is about to start near us at the time. The best thing about the Fringe is its ability to surprise you. So we plan, but not too much, so that we can be open to the unexpected.

 

(Can This Be) Home

Thu 15 – Mon 19 Aug, 12pm

Book Tickets

News

Fringe 2019: Q&A with Stefan Smart on I am Mark

Name of your show: 

I AM MARK

How would you describe your show in one sentence? 

A stunning solo dramatisation of The Greatest Story Ever Told.

Is this the first time that you are performing at the Fringe? 

Yes.

What do you think sets your show apart from all the other Festival offerings? 

There will always be space for comedy and musicals at the Fringe, as well as a place for more taboo subjects. The question is: Is there a place for religious/faith-based performances as well?

The Centre’s Fringe showcase is exploring and reacting to the challenges we face in today’s world by sharing stories in all their forms – what is your show saying?

Faith-based storytelling isn’t necessarily for wusses. It has the capacity to delight and disturb, challenge and comfort, as anything else on the scene. This dramatic recreation by one actor of our oldest version of the stories of Jesus is as prescient and powerful today as it ever was.

 

I am Mark

Tue 13 – Sat 17 Aug, 5.30pm

Book Tickets