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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.

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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

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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

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Storytelling in the Gaelic Tradition – Sgeulachdan à dualchas na Gàidhlig

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 Ruairidh Maclean who tells stories from the Gaelic tradition in both English and Gaelic. Cluinnidh sinn bho Ruairidh Mac’illeEathain à Inbhir Nis am mìos seo. Bidh Ruairidh ag innse sgeulachdan à dualchas na Gàidhlig ann am Beurla agus ann an Gàidhlig

‘Tha cuimhne agam o chionn bhliadhnaichean gun robh mi ag èisteachd ri buidheann de bhodaich anns an Eilean Sgitheanach, a bha ri crac is seanchas fad ùine mhòr, agus iad nan suidhe ann an cròileagan fo stiùir an uachdarain, Iain Noble. Bha mi air mo bheò-ghlacadh leis na sgeulachdan is naidheachdan a bh’ aca, agus iad air an aithris ann an Gàidhlig bhrèagha, nàdarrach. Bha mi a’ faireachdainn gun robh mi ann am fìor thaigh-cèilidh dhen t-seann nòs. Abair gun robh e tlachdmhor!

‘I couldn’t help but start my blog in Gaelic, for it is a special language to me. Not only a tongue of land, people and nation, but indisputably a language of stories. We have an immense heritage of tales, legends, anecdotes (and utter barefaced lies!) in Gaelic, and it is to our shame as a country that we have allowed both the language, and the storytelling heritage of the Gaelic people, to fall into the weak position it now occupies. On the other hand, that rich well of material we can draw upon is inspirational and gives us an immediate helping hand. One feels like a child about to leap into water for the first time, a parent’s warm hand in the small of one’s back, and the sense that they will help propel us headlong, and at speed, into a new challenge. A bit like the young Fionn MacCumhail being taught to swim by his stepmother – but that’s a story for another day!

‘I have felt for some time that we need many more of us to leap into the rich, deep pool of the traditional story heritage. It has been instructive to me, over the years, to tell a tale of the Fianna, or perhaps of Deirdre (she of the Sorrows), to clients in my ‘Gaelic Awareness’ courses throughout Scotland. We share this heritage with the Irish (whose language is a sister tongue to our own), and virtually every Irish person in my groups, be they from Northern Ireland or the Republic, has known of these tales. Why? Because they get them in school. Because they’re proud of their heritage.

‘On the other hand, the native-born Scots, and many Gaelic speakers among them, are almost entirely ignorant of these tales today (I would reckon less than 10% of my clients had even heard of them, let alone heard one told). And that in a country where the redoubtable Bishop John Carswell roundly criticised the people for being more interested in telling heroic legends than in appreciating and recounting the sacred gospels! We may look at our loss of identity and intellectual subjugation as being among the factors that have brought us to this sorry state. Bishop Carswell might have added (with a sigh of relief) ‘religion’, but I’m not so sure.

‘All, however, is not lost. Story collectors, mostly working in the 19th and 20th centuries, have left us with a wonderful legacy of collected tales, both in print and now, increasingly, in digital format. The Tobar an Dualchais website is a godsend (if I might use that term, Bishop!)

‘And there are some among us who have been lucky enough to grow up in an environment where Gaelic stories were being told regularly and who themselves have continued the tradition. They’re thin on the ground today, but I’ve been lucky enough to hear some of them recount their tales. I can’t say I sat at their knees, but I did sit in the same room.

‘People like the recently deceased Dr. John MacInnes, and Donald Archie MacDonald, both great collectors and tellers of tales – delivering them melodically in the most wonderful, rich Gaelic imaginable. I recall sitting with the late Donald Angie Maclean of Scarp in his home in Sleat in front of a crackling fire when he recounted historical figures as if he had known them. In the storyteller’s way, of course, he had. And there are the great traveller storytellers – Alec John Williamson and Essie Stewart – inheritors of the traditions of the master wordsmith, Ailidh Dall, and the generations that went before him and told their stories in the bow-tent or around the fire.

‘Not that I ignore or discount those who tell their tales in English. Not at all – I have listened to, and enjoyed, tale-weavers from many parts of the world who relate their stories in English. And, indeed, those who tell tales from Gaelic tradition in the English language.

‘And that brings me to the exciting Ignite Project, in which I am currently involved as a Gaelic Fellow – a post funded by the Scottish Book Trust and Gaelic Books Council. I wanted to encourage the Gaels, particularly young folk, to re-engage with their own ancient hero tales in a meaningful way, and to give them a sense of ownership of their heritage. One way to do that is to retell some of these ancient legends in modern Gaelic, with vocabulary and idiom that is accessible to the population at large. It’s all very well having a story collected by John Francis Campbell, or one of his team, that is in beautiful, complex, archaic Gaelic that was probably old-fashioned in the 1850s. But unless these tales are on the lips of Gaels today, then the heritage, while rich and praiseworthy, is a dusty artefact that belongs in the realm of academia, and not in the everyday lives of the ordinary people.

‘My task is to take some of the hero legends of the Fianna and other heroes and heroines, and refashion them in a way, and in language, that is readily understood by teenagers and young adults, so that they can engage with them and enjoy them. To that end, I have been working with a superb mentor who tells stories from Gaelic tradition, but in English, as he was not brought up a Gaelic speaker. He is George MacPherson of Glendale on Skye – a well-kent figure to those who have been attending the Scottish Storytelling Centre over many years. To me he is Seòras nan Sgeulachdan ‘George of the Stories’ – and what a collection he has!

‘George had already been thinking it would be nice to have some of his stories converted back into the Gaelic in which they originated – so I came along at the right time! He heard most of his repertoire from Gaelic speakers, people like his great-uncles in Ardnamurchan (many of his tales come from Ardnamurchan, Skye and Mull), and they in turn learned them in the original tongue. On some occasions, when George was a young lad, a story was told to him in Gaelic and instantaneously translated by a bilingual relation so that he would understand it in English. George has a prodigious memory and he has been adding to the collection in his head since childhood. When I say to him, ‘George, do you have a story about such-and-such?’, the answer, delivered with a modest and gentle smile, is invariably, ‘Oh, yes, I have several …!’ For the seeker of treasures of the narrative tendency, George is a veritable goldmine!

‘At the end of the project, I will be able to make available some stories from our tradition, told in modern Gaelic, that I hope will be used by teachers, parents, students and others – in written form, so that people can read them and use them for inspiration in their own creative writing or to inform their own contributions to the art, literature, understanding and presentation of Scotland.

‘But I hope they will also be used and promulgated orally, so that we can breathe new vitality into this genre of stories, and into the art of storytelling in the Gaelic language. I dream of a new generation of storytellers going out and being ambassadors for our heritage, so that the people of Scotland once again understand that they are inheritors of a wonderful tradition that should be celebrated and enjoyed.

‘Agus ’s e sin mo sgeul!’

Read and listen to some of Ruairidh’s stories for Gaelic learners on ‘An Litir Bheag’ Website
and ‘Litir do Luchd-Ionnsachaidh’ Website

Ruairidh will also be contributing a story to our new Gaelic storytelling podcast series, Sgeul is Seanchas, which will be launched next month.
Bidh Ruairidh cuideachd ag innse sgeulachd dhuinn airson ar sreath phod-craolaidhean ùr, Sgeul is Seanchas, ri thighinn an ath mhiòs. 

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Fringe 2019: Q&A with The Night With on The Night With… Evenings

Name of your show:

The Night With… Evenings

How would you describe your show in one sentence?

An evening of interesting, new classical music mainly by Scottish composers and performers.

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

No, I presented The Night With… Wooden Elephant last year who performed string quintet arrangements of Bjork and Radiohead. Ian Anderson is doing some new arrangements of Captain Beefheart for their concert on the 20th.

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

We are the only show at the fringe presenting this number of contemporary composers and Scottish performers of new classical music.  We’re also unique in that our performances are in totally relaxed settings, where you can come and hear world class music with a drink. Not your regular classical concert.

 

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?

Although we can explain the background to a piece, or what it’s meant to be about, we don’t tell people what to feel because music speaks to everyone in their own way, and touches each person differently.  It can be emotionally moving, or stimulating, or thought-provoking or even life-changing, and we are celebrating that crazily wide and mysterious language of music.

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

I usually decide on other shows to see by what is starting soon and nearby, let the element of chance creep in. The Fringe App is great for that, I’ve seen some amazing things that way. I’m interested to see Lie Still My Sleepy Fortunes, From When I Wake and Blood and Gold. They aren’t in the Fringe, but I’m really looking forward to seeing Missy Mazzoli’s opera Breaking the Waves and Night Walk for Edinburgh.

 

The Night With… Evenings

Tue 13 – Fri 16 & Tue 20 Aug, 8.30pm

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CAN YOU HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT SCOTTISH CULTURE & TRADITIONS?

SC&T are looking for volunteer Ambassadors to help raise awareness of Scottish Culture & Traditions and to encourage others to get involved. Tasks might involve handing out flyers, talking about SC&T activities with friends / family / colleagues / (anyone!), sharing posts on social media, and helping at fundraising events.

This is a really important role as it helps SC&T to reach new people, and inspire new fundraising activity, to support their core activity of evening classes in traditional music, song and dance. If you can help please get in touch with the office for more information:
office@scottishculture.org

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Join a Worldwide Audience to Celebrate Culture, Heritage & Arts Across Argyll & The Isles – 14th Sept 2019, 6-8pm

Culture, heritage and arts enthusiasts across the world are invited to tune into the CHARTS Facebook page to watch a unique live streamed showcase event celebrating the breadth of talent in Argyll and the Isles through an evening of unique performances.

Taking place on 14th September 2019 from 6pm—8pm GMT and hosted by celebrated Gaelic singer, broadcaster and Argyll native Joy Dunlop, the event will mark the official launch of the CHARTS network, a member-led charity working to create a sustainable and growing culture, heritage and arts sector across Argyll and the Isles. CHARTS connects artists over a vast area of 2,667 square miles, over 23 inhabited islands and the Scottish mainland.

Bringing together an exciting programme celebrating the growing culture, heritage and arts sector, the showcase takes place in the stunning setting of St John’s Cathedral in Oban and will feature a live link-up with a dynamic collaborative performance from the Isles. A host of acclaimed performers will take the stage, including Oban High School Pipe Band, a set by Eilidh Steel and Mark Neal and spoken word performances from Clair Tierney and Miek Zwamborn.

Audiences attending the event and joining in via the live stream will also witness the premiere of five short films, each capturing a different element of what working across culture, heritage and arts in Argyll and the Isles really means to people living and creating in the region.

TMF Members based in Argyll and the Isles can also get involved in a series of CHARTS Live Lab experiments and workshops, designed to empower creatives across the region to get to grips with live streaming and other digital media technologies in order to reach and engage potential new audiences for culture, heritage and arts projects.

Wherever you are in the world you can participate in these events free of charge, simply by following CHARTS on Facebook.

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Fringe 2019: Q&A with Dougie Mackay on Supernatural: Wonder Tales from Scotland

Name of your show:

Supernatural: Wonder Tales from Scotland

How would you describe your show in one sentence?

A storytelling voyage beyond the veil and into the heart of Scotland’s mysterious nature.

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

Second.

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

These old folk tales have a gravitas that sets them apart, and stirs wonder when sharing with modern audiences.

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?

By opening our minds just for a moment, we awaken to potential unseen magic.

Supernatural: Wonder Tales from Scotland

Tue 13 – Mon 26 Aug, 3.30pm

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Scots Fiddle Festival 2019 – Headline Acts Announced

The Scots Fiddle Festival Committee are delighted to announce the headline acts for Fiddle 2019. Workshops will be announced soon and tickets will be on sale in early September.

More info coming soon!

Friday 15th

Twelfth Day – Ross Couper and Tom Oakes

Saturday 16th

Gnoss – Liz Carroll with Jenn Butterworth

Sunday 17th

Jenna Reid and Harris Playfair – Alasdair White

 

www.scotsfiddlefestival.com

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Fringe 2019: Q&A with the Puppet State Theatre Company on The Man Who Planted Trees

Name of your show:

The Man Who Planted Trees

How would you describe your show in one sentence?

Some of your kids weren’t even born when this show started out thirteen years ago and – assuming they’re over seven – they’re still not too old to enjoy a story that is more relevant than ever.

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

Since we started The Man Who Planted Trees in 2006, there’s only been two years we haven’t performed it at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. Some people have been to see it 10 times or more! This will Be Richard’s 24th Fringe.

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

The multi-sensory elements (before-and-after smellivision, rain, wind, mist, bees, bombs, birdsong).

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?

Hopeful acts are like magic beans – even when war turns the world upside down and greedy, lying baddies who don’t deserve to hold positions of power act like everything’s all about them.

 

The Man Who Planted Trees

Mon 12 – Mon 26 Aug, 4pm

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