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Call for WOMEX 13 Showcase, Conference and Film Proposals

February 19, 2013 in News by Simon Thoumire

Call for WOMEX 13 Showcase, Conference and Film Proposals

WOMEX is launching its annual call for programme proposals, inviting  artists, speakers and filmmakers from around the globe to become part of the foremost event in the world music industry calendar: WOMEX 13 in Cardiff, Wales, UK, from Wednesday, 23 to Sunday, 27 October 2013.

The Showcase and Conference selection is made each year by a new group of seven handpicked Jury members – the famous 7 Samurai. WOMEX receives many high quality Showcase and Conference proposals for a limited number of slots, so the Jury’s task is tough and the competition is strong.

The Film proposals are independently juried by WOMEX’s longtime partner, the IMZ – International Music + Media Centre, Vienna.

Submit your proposal now! Deadline for all proposals is Friday, 12 April 2013. Submissions are being accepted for the Showcase Festival, Conference and Films.

Horizons, a new partnership between the music organisations of England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, will host  the ‘local stage’ at this year’s WOMEX in Cardiff. It will showcase  some of the best world music talent from across the British Isles and Ireland.

If you are an artist from one of these countries who submits a bid to  the WOMEX Showcase Festival, you will have an additional chance to  secure a valuable showcase slot on the Horizons Stage. There is no  separate application process. Artists from these Horizons nations not  selected for showcase by the WOMEX Jury, will automatically be  eligible for consideration for the Horizons Stage, with the selection  being made by a panel of Horizons appointed music experts. The best  of these will be offered an opportunity to showcase on the Horizons  Stage at WOMEX 13 evening venue, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff.

Horizons members are Arts Council England, Arts Council Northern  Ireland, Arts Council Ireland, Culture Ireland, Cerdd Cymru : Music  Wales, Creative Scotland and Scottish Music Industry Association.  The partnership is supported by British Council.

Auditions for RCS Juniors

February 19, 2013 in News by Simon Thoumire


RCS are looking for enthusiastic young musicians to audition for RCS Juniors Scottish Music course. Auditions take place this term and succesful applicants start in September. Juniors is perfect for anyone under 18 who loves playing traditional music. It is particularily good for young people who get one to one lessons but don’t have much opportunity to create music with other people their age. They also have a lot of kids coming who have always learned in group classes and are looking for one to one lessons to push them a bit further.

Present tutors include Lynsey Tait, Lauren MacColl, Ruairidh MacMillan, Hannah Philips, Carissa Boville, Hamish Napier and Mharhi Baird. All instruments can audition, if they don’t yet have a suitable tutor they will bring one in. They are particularily keen to find pianists, guitarists, fiddlers and flute players.

To find out more, contact Lynsey Tait, or visit their website.

Royal Scottish Conservatoire looking for enthusiastic young musicians to audition for their RCS Juniors Scottish Music course

February 19, 2013 in News by Simon Thoumire

Royal Scottish Conservatoire looking for enthusiastic young musicians to audition for their RCS Juniors Scottish Music course. Auditions take place this term and succesful applicants start in September. Juniors is perfect for anyone under 18 who loves playing traditional music. It is particularily good for young people who get one to one lessons but don’t have much opportunity to create music with other people their age. They also have a lot of kids coming to us who have always learned in group classes and are looking for one to one lessons to push them a bit further.

Present tutors include Lynsey Tait, Lauren MacColl, Ruairidh MacMillan, Hannah Philips, Carissa Boville, Hamish Napier and Mharhi Baird. All instruments can audition, if they don’t yet have a suitable tutor they will bring one in. They are particularily keen to find pianists, guitarists, fiddlers and flute players.

More information below

RCS Junior Conservatoire
RCS Juniors is a Saturday music school for talented young musicians who travel every
week from all over Scotland to take part. Below is an outline of what the Scottish Music
course involves.

Scottish Music Classes
Principle Study: 45 minute one to one lesson on your main instrument.

Musicianship: Classical and Scottish Music students all learn music theory and work
towards grade 5 theory. Once they have achieved grade 5 the Scottish Music students go
in to an musicianship class for Scottish Music specific studies. They study modes,
harmony, composition, listening skills, accompaniment and general theory.

Morning Groupwork: First study Scottish music students work in small bands during term
1 and then join together in a bigger group to make big musical arrangements. This group is
our core who we take to perform at gigs. This year we have 17 children aged 12-18.

Afternoon Groupwork: During this time they are mixed in with classical first study
students who have opted in to the class. This year there are 45 children split between 4
groups. They work through blocks such as contemporary tunes, traditions from other
countries, ceilidh band and song.

Workshops: Over the year the Scottish Music first studies will get a few workshops from
guest tutors. Recent vistors have been Savourna Stevenson, Duncan Chisholm, Chris
Stout and Simon Thoumire.

Performance: There are lots of concerts within the RCS and we also try to have a few
things out with. In the past few years performances have included the Scots Fiddle
Festival, Celtic Connections, the Niel Gow Festival and The North Atlantic Fiddle

Optional Extras
Second study: 30 minute one to one lesson on an additional instrument.
Choirs and orchestra: First study Scottish Music students can opt in to a choir or
orchestra if it fits their timetable.

If you are interested and want to know more chat to Lynsey as she is the Juniors senior
tutor. To find out more about fees, applications and auditions check out the website

TRADFEST Edinburgh – Dùn Èideann A Feast of Culture in the Festival City

February 15, 2013 in News by Simon Thoumire

photo copywrite www.shetlandarts.orgEdinburgh’s first TRADFEST takes place Wednesday 24 April to Monday 6 May 2013.

Over twelve days the city will be a hive of music, song, storytelling, dance, crafts, folk drama, and environmental celebrations for Mayday/Beltane.

TradFest embraces all the folk arts, combining authentic sources with contemporary edge, passion and flair. Falling at the traditional start of summer, TradFest also heralds a seasonal wave of festivals across Scotland reaching through to the autumn.

TradFest is inspired by previous festivals including the Edinburgh People’s Festival and the Edinburgh International Folk Festival. It has also taken under its wing the former Ceilidh Culture promotion. But TradFest marks a new phase of vigorous renewal of Scotland’s culture in its local, national and international relationships.

TradFest brings Scotland’s arts of tradition into the heart of the capital city. There is something here for residents and visitors, old and young, artists and audiences, professionals and community activists – and all of them together. Many venues, organisations and individuals have been involved in curating events which take place in Teviot Row House, The Pleasance, Queens Hall, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Dance Base, Greyfriars Kirk, Arthur’s Seat, Calton Hill, Portobello Promenade and many other locations.

The things you would expect from a folk festival are in TradFest with a vibrant range of music and song from bothy nichts traditions to the contemporary interpretations of a Karine Polwart or Alasdair Roberts, from Nordic Fiddlers Bloc to Shooglenifty, from the Lowland Pipes of Hamish Moore to the step dance rhythms of Fin Moore. What is less predictable is the cross fertilisation of dance styles, the upsurge of folk drama, the wave of storytelling events, and the environmental happenings on Calton Hill, Arthur’s Seat and Portobello Promenade.
TradFest Edinburgh · Dùn Èideann heralds a new season for the folk arts, and the future of our past is addressed directly on the last day with the Festival Conference, ‘Open Fields: the Future for Trads’.

TradFest Edinburgh · Dùn Èideann is organised by the Scottish Storytelling Centre on behalf of TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland) which brings together Scotland’s performance traditions under a new umbrella. TRACS is grateful for the strategic support of the City of Edinburgh Council and of Creative Scotland, and for the active participation of its three Forums – Traditional Music, Storytelling and Traditions of Dance. The Creative Scotland Traditonal Arts Commissioning Fund has also supported the SourceSruth programming strand. Finally, TradFest is delighted to contribute through its environmental events to the Year of Natural Scotland.

“This is an extremely welcome development and will go a long way to ensuring that Edinburgh’s Festivals offering is diverse, entertaining and of excellent quality. Scottish cultural traditions will have a new platform and reach new audiences. It is an exciting prospect.”
Councillor Steve Cardownie | Festival and Events Champion | City of Edinburgh Council

“We are pleased to support this festival which demonstrates good collaboration accords the various traditional arts, and across Scotland’s diverse traditions. We look forward to a feast of quality performances for everyone to enjoy.”
David Taylor | Portfolio Manager Special Projects | Creative Scotland

“The traditional arts in Scotland are all about building on the artistic inheritance of the past while looking imaginatively towards the future. That philosophy of innovation as well as emulation lies at the heart of TradFest Edinburgh · Dùn Èideann. We are delighted at the breadth and depth of the arts of tradition on offer, and I, for one, can’t wait to sample their delights. Bring it on!”

Gary West | Chair of TRACS and Senior Lecturer in Scottish Ethnology | University of Edinburgh

Tickets for TradFest go on sale Monday 18 March

For the list of events for TradFest Click Here

Details will be available on

For further information, images and interviews contact:
Donald Smith, Director, Scottish Storytelling Centre – 0131 652 3271 or [email protected]
Lindsay Corr, Marketing, Scottish Storytelling Centre – 0131 652 3272 or [email protected]

TRADFEST Edinburgh · Dùn Èideann
Làn-fhèisd de chultar ann am Baile-mòr nam Fèisean

Thèid a’ chiad TRADFEST Dhùn Èideann air adhart eadar Diciadain 24 Giblean agus Diluain 6 Cèitean 2013.

Thairis air dà latha dheug bidh am baile-mòr air ghoil le ceòl, òrain, sgeulachdan, dannsa, obair-ciùird, dràma dùthchail, agus cuimhneachain àrainneachd airson Latha Buidhe Bealtainn.

Tha TradFest a’ toirt a-steach na h-ealan dhùthchail gu lèir, a’ toirt ri chèile tùsan dearbhte, fasain co-aimsireil, dìoghras is liut. A’ tighinn aig toiseach thraidiseanta an t-samhraidh, tha
TradFest cuideachd a’ toirt a-steach sguab ràitheil de dh’fhèisean air feadh na h-Alba a’ leantainn air adhart cho fada ris an fhoghair.

Tha na fèisean a chaidh roimhe air brosnachadh a thoirt dha TradFest, nam measg Fèis Mhuinntir Dhùn Èideann agus Fèis Dhùthchail Eadar-nàiseanta Dhùn Èideann. Tha e cuideachd air adhartachadh Cultar Cèilidh a bh’ann roimhe a ghabhail a-steach. Ach tha TradFest a’ comharrachadh ùrachadh làidir ann an cultar na h-Alba le bhith an sàs ann an com-pàirteachasan ionadail, nàiseanta is eadar-nàiseanta.

Tha TradFest a’ toirt ealain thraidiseanta na h-Alba a-steach do chridhe prìomh bhaile na h-Alba. Tha rudeigin an seo dha luchd-còmhnaidh, luchd-tadhail, aois is òg, luchd-ealain is luchd-èisteachd, proifeasantaich is luchd-gnìomh choimhearsnachd – agus iad uile còmhla. Tha mòran àiteachan, bhuidhnean agus dhaoine fa-leth air a bhith an sàs ann a bhith a’ gabhail cùram mu thachartasan ann an Taigh Teviot Row, The Pleasance, Talla na Ban-rìgh, Ionad Sgeulachdan na h-Alba, Dance Base, Eaglais nam Manach Liath, Àrd nan Saighead, Cnoc na Calltainn, Sràidearachd Portobello agus ioma àite eile.

Tha na rudan ris am biodh dùil agad bho fhèis dùthchail ann an TradFest le raon beòthail de cheòl is òrain bho thraidisean oidhche nam bothain gu mìneachadh co-aimsireil Karine Polwart no Alasdair Roberts, bho fhìdhlearan Lochlainn gu Shooglenifty, bho Phìoban Gallda Hamish Moore gus na ruitheaman dannsa ceum aig Fin Moore. Na rudan nach urrainn ro-innse ‘s e mar a thathas a tar-mhathachadh stoidhlichean dannsa, mar a tha dùsgadh a’ tighinn air dràma dùthchail, mar a tha tachartasan sgeulachd a’ sruthadh, agus na tachartasan àrainneachd a bhios a’ dol air adhart air Cnoc na Calltainn, Àrd nan Saighead is Sràidearachd Portobello.

Tha TradFest Edinburgh · Dùn Èideann a’ fosgladh doras ùra ràitheil dha na h-ealain dhùthchail, agus thathas a’ toirt sùil air an t-àm a dh’fhalbh air an latha mu dheireadh le Co-labhairt na Fèise, ‘Achannan Fosgailte: Àm ri teachd airson Trads’.

Is e Ionad Sgeulachdan na h-Alba a tha a’ cur TradFest Edinburgh · Dùn Èideann air adhart às leth TRACS (Ealain is Cultar Thraidiseanta na h-Alba) a tha a’ toirt traidisean coileanaidh na h-Alba air adhart fo sgàile ùr. Tha TRACS taingeil airson taic ro-innleachdail bho Chomhairle Dhùn Èideann agus Alba Chruthachail, agus airson an com-pàirteachas gnìomhach a th’anns na trì Fòraman aice – Ceòl Traidiseanta, Innse Sgeulachdan agus Traidiseanan Dannsa. Tha taic cuideachd air a thighinn bho Ionmhas Coimiseanadh na h-Ealain Thraidiseanta airson freumh prògramaidh “SourceSruth”. Mu dheireadh, tha TradFest fìor thoilichte a bhith a’ cur ri tachartasan eadar-nàiseanta Bliadhna Alba Nàdurrach.

Lindsay Corr
Marketing Officer
Scottish Storytelling Centre
43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR
0131 652 3272 |

Grant McFarlane’s reflections on BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award

February 14, 2013 in News by Simon Thoumire

Grant McFarlane (far left). Photo BBC Scotland

I first entered the competition in 2011 after successfully getting through to the semi-finals. Had a great time over the semi-finals weekend with all the other musicians and the concert was loads of fun. Sadly, I didn’t get through to the finals that year and was pretty disheartened afterwards but was still at university and had plenty of other things to be getting on with…

Fast forward a year and I was accepted again for the semi-finals! I was much more laid back about it this time and again, really enjoyed the weekend away and meeting so many fantastic musicians. On the night of the semi-finals, everyone was amazing and the standard was so high. After my performance, I wasn’t very happy with how I had played or at least knew I could have played better. I pretty much gave up on the idea of getting through to the finals at that point.

A couple of days later (and a whole morning of waiting anxiously for the phone to ring) I received a call from Simon Thoumire to say I had made it to the finals! I couldn’t believe it!

The wait between the semi-finals and the finals was extensive – we had around 4 months to wait. For the semi-finals, my set was chosen only a few weeks prior to it as this allowed me to keep things fresh and interesting for myself and the audience. With that in mind, I didn’t want to make any decisions on my set for the finals until closer to the time. As it was going out on radio/tv, the BBC needed to know what we were playing at the beginning of January (with the competition being held at the beginning of February). This meant that I spent a fair bit of time over Christmas coming up with ideas and suggestions for tunes and it wasn’t until the day before I had to let them know that I finally decided what I was going to play. I’m glad that I had this deadline as I could have easily spent another month changing my mind about what to play.

Having submitted my tune choices, this gave me a month to really knuckle down on practising and coming up with arrangements for my sets. When trying to arrange my sets, I had plenty of ideas but through experience, I knew that whatever I came up with would ultimately change as rehearsing with others gives you totally new ideas.

Finals weekend came and as well as lots of food with the other finalists, rehearsals were taking place over the two days prior to the concert. Playing with the house band (Mhairi Hall, Mike Bryan & Martin O’Neill) was what I was most looking forward to over the weekend and working with them on my sets was an absolute pleasure. These musicians are total pros and as much as we stuck to most of my arrangement, they had some great ideas and tweaks that took it to another level.

Another part of the weekend was doing TV interviews for BBC Alba. This involved standing against a green screen and answering questions to do with your influences and musical background. I wasn’t entirely comfortable when staring in to the camera and answering the questions but after seeing it on TV, realised it wasn’t as bad as I imagined. They also had me playing my accordion while staring down the camera – now THAT was awkward!

On the night of the concert, I was first on. I was quite happy about this as it meant that it was over quite quickly and I didn’t have to hear the other finalists performances before mine. Before going on stage, I was quite nervous as it was going out live on radio and then on TV the night after – I didn’t want to mess it up. However, as soon as I got on stage I just embraced it and really enjoyed playing. My focus was entirely on getting my tunes right initially but as I got through the tunes and the house band were playing with me, I settled in to it.

As we all know, Paddy was announced the winner (after an absolutely awesome couple of sets) and it couldn’t have went to a more humble, deserving guy! There may be a smidge of disappointment at not winning but getting to play with amazing musicians and sharing the stage with 5 such talented finalists made the whole experience an absolute pleasure! And we get to go on tour – woo

Grant performs with band CherryGrove. Have a listen to them here