Singing sensation Michelle McManus and Musichoir surprised shoppers with an impromptu busking session in Glasgow today, Monday 29 October, to promote Scotland Sings – part of the Scotland’s Winter Festivals programme.

Michelle and her group of backing vocalists belted out a medley of tunes on Buchanan Street to mark the launch of the new initiative, designed to encourage people to sing in public between 30th November and 2nd December in celebration of St Andrew’s Day.

The three-day event will see a series of singing events take place across Scotland, in locations including Edinburgh, Perth, Paisley, Glasgow, Dundee, Largs and St Abbs. People of all ages, backgrounds and vocal talent are being encouraged to get involved, with the aim of getting the whole of Scotland singing.

Michelle McManus, winner of the 2003 series of the television show Pop Idol – who also sang for the Pope during his 2010 UK visit, said, “Scotland Sings is a fantastic initiative and I’m delighted to be part of it. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for singing and I can’t encourage people enough to take it up – even if you you’re no Beyoncé! You don’t have to have an amazing voice to enjoy the experience of being part of a choir or singing group.”

She added: “Singing has loads of benefits and is a brilliant way to cheer yourself up, to make friends and to have some fun. I’d really urge people to get involved with Scotland Sings and to grab a friend, your boyfriend or Mum, and sign up to an event in your area. It’s going to be fantastic!”

Supported by EventScotland and Creative Scotland, Scotland Sings is coordinated by ‘Hands Up for Trad’, the organisers of The MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards and BBC Radio Scotland Young Trad Musician of the Year.

Simon Thoumire, Creative Director of Hands Up for Trad, said “Scotland Sings will celebrate and present Scotland’s rich singing traditions in a truly unique way. We’re hoping people throughout Scotland will get involved to help establish Scotland as a singing nation, whether that be through getting together with friends for a sing-a-long, starting a band, joining a choir or signing up to a community singing group. The beauty of this project is that all you need is a voice and a sense of fun to get involved.”

Humza Yousaf, Minister for External Affairs and International Development, said: “Scotland’s Winter Festivals brings together some of our most important cultural celebrations.

“The programme for 2012/13 offers a spectacular mix of traditional and unusual events that will showcase Scotland’s rich creativity. With such a variety of events on offer, there will be something for everyone to enjoy no matter where they are in the country.”

To find out more about Scotland Sings events taking place in your area please visit: www.scotlandsings.co.uk

To take part in Scotland Sings please contact: [email protected]

For further information about the Winter Festivals programme please visit: www.scotland.org/winter

For further media information, images or interviews please contact: Claire Morrison | [email protected] | T: (0141) 400 6761 M: 07814 592 120
• Scotland’s Winter Festivals begin with St Andrew’s Day on 30th November and include Christmas, Scotland’s Hogmanay celebrations on 31st December, culminating with Burns night on 25th January.
• Find out more about celebrating Scotland’s Winter Festivals at www.scotland.org/winter.
• Funded by the Scottish Government, Scotland’s Winter Festivals are delivered by the national events agency EventScotland, part of VisitScotland.
• St Andrew’s Day is a time for everyone with a Scottish connection to celebrate Scotland’s people and history, as well as our traditional and contemporary culture and our fabulous food and drink
• As the nation gears up for St Andrew’s Day, more of Scotland’s best-loved visitor and leisure attractions than ever before are embracing the celebrations by offering free or discounted offers to the public across the country
• Make the most of St Andrew’s day, part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals, by joining in the events and celebrations across the country.
• You can find event and visit for free activities taking place across Scotland at: www.scotland.org/winter
• Like us at www.facebook.com/standrewsday or follow us on www.twitter.com/standrewsday

Michelle McManus launches Scotland Sings

Michelle McManus and Musicchoir performed in Glasgow’s Buchanan Street to launch Hands Up for Trad’s brand new Scotland Sings project. The choir sang a selection of classic songs to a large group of people and photographers who amassed to hear the music.

Scotland Sings is a national project that exists to promote the joy of singing. We’re looking for everyone to join in over the weekend of 30th November to 2nd December. You can get more info on how to join in at scotlandsings.co.uk

West Lothian Primary School Workshops!

Ewan McVicar, Christine Kydd and Amy Lord have planned a series of wonderful singing workshops in primary schools all over West Lothian as part of Scotland Sings!

Around 11am on Friday 30th November at least 15 West Lothian primaries will take part in Scotland Sings. Young people aged from 4 to 11 years and their teachers are selecting songs to sing in class or at assembly. That makes at least 1200 West Lothian schoolchildren joining the fun. Christine Kydd and Amy Lord are visiting and song-teaching far and wide, and Ewan McVicar has created a West Lothian Scotland Sings webpage at http://scotssangsfurschools.webs.com/scotlandsingssongs.htm site so songs can be sung from the interactive whiteboard.

Croftmalloch Primary School
Blackburn Primary School
Addiewell Primary School
Carmondean Primary School
Polkemmet Primary School
St Mary’s Polbeth Primary School
Kirkhill Primary School
Midcalder Primary School
Howden St Andrews Primary School
Toronto Primary School
Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School
Pumpherston & Uphall Primary School
Simpson Primary School

Warm Up for Scotland Sings 2nd and 3rd November

Come and warm up at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in preparation for Scotland Sings! – a coming together of singers, choir leaders, and community song groups to inspire, and build participation in Scotland Sings initiative on 30th Nov – 2nd December:

Friday 2nd November 4 – 6.30pm – Finding Songs
A feast of resources and information from Kist O Riches project and Scotland’s Songs, and plenty songs to sing too. Find out how to access great songs, easy songs, inspiring songs With Ewan McVicar and Chris Wright


Saturday 3rd November 10 – 4.30
Warm Up Day for Scotland Sings: Inspiring Community Singing , with Wendy Carle Taylor. For those who love singing, for those who are thinking of leading community singing groups and for those wish to develop further, a vital day of developing skills in leading song. £36 (£30 Network Member)

These workshops will be invaluable for teachers, volunteers, anyone interested in building their expertise in develop their skills in leading and enabling singing in all settings

Both workshops at The Scottish Storytelling Centre

To book on any of the above events phone Reception on 0131 556 9579

What is Scotland Sings?
The SCOTLAND SINGS Initiative invites everyone to get involved in a nationwide Singfest 30th November – 2nd December, the motto being – If you can talk you can sing! In preparation for this weekend, we invite singers, song group leaders, movers, shakers and everyone willing to help make this happen to take part in 2 days that will inspire, animate and activate. With Wendy Carle Taylor, Ewan McVicar, and Chris Wright . In association with Hands Up for Trad, and Education Scotland’s ‘Scotland’s Songs’.

For more information contact Gica Loening 0131 652 3272

Or take a look at http://www.scotlandsings.co.uk

All about TRACS

Donald SmithOne of Scotland Sings and Hands Up for Trad’s partners is TRACS. It’s a new organisation being set up to represent Traditional Arts in Scotland. Here’s an article about them by Donald Smith.

TRACS is a new collaboration between three representative Forums: the Traditional Music Forum, the Scottish Storytelling Forum and the newly formed Traditions of Dance Forum. It stands for Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland. In Gaelic that reads Ealain is Cultar Traidiseanta Alba, in Scots, Airts an Tradeetions Scotland.

The first aim of TRACS CREATIVE : to encourage more collaboration across the art-forms and languages. The Traditions we enjoy are holistic, inclusive and welcoming. So let’s be inspired by these rooted values to innovate and develop across boundaries.

The second aim is ORGANISATIONAL: to share core resources in areas such as admin and publicity, so as to ensure effective communication and promotion for Trad Arts activities. We could project our collective assets of artists, festivals/fesiean and local traditions more strongly to our cultural and economic benefit.

The third aim is DEVELOPMENTAL: to lobby for more support for Trad Arts, to build partnerships with other arts organisations, with education and with areas of Scottish life which can benefit from Trad Arts resources and activities.

The fourth aim is PRACTICAL: to provide a forum for strategic discussion to which all can contribute, and to undertake specific tasks that may be better done together than separately. This of course recognises that there will continue to be many things better done by the Forums in their own right, and above all by the many organisations delivering vital services and activities across Scotland. TRACS will always seek to support, encourage and publicise their work.

These developments are still at an early stage. TRACS has been constituted as a Scottish Incorporated Charitable Organisation, owned by the three Forums. Gary West is the Chair and SSF and TMF are currently providing admin support. Creative Scotland has put in a modest pilot grant. At present the Scottish Storytelling Centre is providing house room for meetings and workshops, and opening up its programme to all the Trad Arts. The idea of a Trad Arts hub/shop window on the Capital’s High Street has its attractions if it can be linked in with centres of activity in other cities and regions. Building up such a network of hubs must be a key aim for TRACS and the associated Forums.

This is the story so far. My belief is that Arts inspired by tradition have huge untapped potential to foster local participation and to project Scotland internationally as a truly creative nation- from the grassroots. Give us your thoughts, ideas and dreams for the future. The time may have come for a little more self-belief. In a time of cuts and re-organisations lets be game changers and not victims.

[email protected]

Scotland Sings Glow Meet – Wednesday 24th October

Are you a school teacher? Scotland Sings in partnership with Education Scotland are hosting a Glow Meet on Wednesday 24th October. Singing in the Glow Meet will be Ewan Robertson (BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2009) and Megan Henderson both from the band Breabach.

We are going to teach the kids two songs, announce a competition and talk about Scotland Sings. Below are the songs  - words and music. The whole songs are present on the MP3 but we will only be teaching a verse and chorus on the day. If you can’t make the Glow Meet it will be archived for you to view after the event. Any questions please get in touch :-)

Farewell tae the Haven (Davy Steele)

I’m leaving the fishin’, the life I have known.
The battle with nature, that nobody won.
For the fish stocks are dwindlin’, and the shoals hard tae find.
I’m leaving the fishin’, I’ve made up my mind.

Ma faither worked drifters, ma grandfaither tae.
Ma brother’s a skipper on the Elena Mae.
And I worked at the fishin’, just as soon as I could.
So leavin’s no easy, the sea’s in my blood.

Farewell tae the Haven,
Ma heart it is sad.
The drifters I’m leavin’,
Tae work on the land.

Faca tu saor an t-sàbhaidh? (Have you seen the sawing joiner?)

Faca tu saor an t-sàbhaidh? (Have you seen the sawing joiner?)
Faca tu sàbh an t-saoir? (Have you seen the joiner’s saw?)
Faca tu saor an t-sàbhaidh? (Have you seen the sawing joiner?)
Saor an t-sàbhaidh sàbh an t-saoir (The sawing joiner, the joiner’s saw)
Faca tu saor an t-sàbhaidh? (Have you seen the sawing joiner?)
Faca tu sàbh an t-saoir? (Have you seen the joiner’s saw?)
Faca tu saor an t-sàbhaidh? (Have you seen the sawing joiner?)
Saor an t-sàbhaidh sàbh an t-saoir (The sawing joiner, the joiner’s saw)

Fhillidh fhillidh saor an t-sàbhaidh (Fhillidh fhillidh the sawing joiner)
Fhillidh fhillidh sàbh an t-saoir (Fhillidh fhillidh the joiner’s saw)
Fhillidh fhillidh saor an t-sàbhaidh (Fhillidh fhillidh the sawing joiner)
Saor an t-sàbhaidh sàbh an t-saoir (The sawing joiner, the joiner’s saw)
Fhillidh fhillidh saor an t-sàbhaidh (Fhillidh fhillidh the sawing joiner)
Fhillidh fhillidh sàbh an t-saoir (Fhillidh fhillidh the joiner’s saw)
Fhillidh fhillidh saor an t-sàbhaidh (Fhillidh fhillidh the sawing joiner)
Saor an t-sàbhaidh sàbh an t-saoir (The sawing joiner, the joiner’s saw)