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Fèis Rois has new workshops across the North and face to face classes returning to Dingwall this month

By Margaret Chrystall

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Fèis Rois will deliver its first dispersed music event for young people across the Highlands this month, with some of Scotland’s top traditional musicians leading the face-to-face workshops in Dingwall, Tain and Ullapool.

Those events in detail.
Those events in detail.

Although the Dingwall-based organisation, which has won a variety of awards for its innovation throughout the pandemic, had to cancel the popular residential Fèis Rois nan Deugairean (Senior Fèis Rois – a residential week of music and Gaelic language classes for teens usually held in Ullapool) for the second year running, it is running a scaled-back, free version from October 18-22 so young musicians across the region can still experience a fantastic week of music with an incredible line-up of tutors.

In Dingwall, young people from P6 – S6 will be able to learn group work skills from Grantown-on-Spey based musician and composer Hamish Napier, Blazin’ Fiddles’ fiddler and guitarist, Anna Massie and multi-instrumentalist and composer, Mairearad Green.

Treacherous Orchestra’s Barry Reid and Innes Watson will lead fiddle and guitar workshops in Tain, as well as a special workshop in sound engineering, whilst in Ullapool there will be a Gaelic Medium Fèis for young Gaelic speakers from P4-S2, offering them the opportunity to take part in fiddle, song, group work and drama workshops with BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winner, Mischa Macpherson, actor and drama tutor, Artair Donald and BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year winner, Rona Wilkie.

Fèis Rois chief executive, Fiona Dalgetty, said: “Although we are not able to go full steam ahead with Fèis Rois nan Deugairean this year, we are excited to be able to offer young people a fantastic musical experience in three different locations across Ross-shire.

"We are really looking forward to welcoming young people to our special events after a difficult year and hearing them make music together again!

“We recognise what a tough time young people and families have had over the past 18-months and, with support from Creative Scotland and Highland Council, we are delighted to be able to offer this opportunity for free."

A packed senior music Fèis before Covid. But new opportunities are being offered this year.
A packed senior music Fèis before Covid. But new opportunities are being offered this year.

This free non-residential event will run from Monday, October 18 to Friday, October 22, with workshops taking place between 11am-4pm each day.

Places are limited so early booking is recommended – https://feisrois.org/residential-feisan/senior-feis/

Fiona Dalgetty said: "Fèis Rois is a charity and has to fundraise throughout the year to cover a number of its core costs.

"If you feel able to, and would like to, you can make a donation here."


Another key activity in the Fèis Rois calendar are the weekly classes which will return to face-to-face tuition in Dingwall with a variety of classes available for children and adults, as well as the offer of free instrumental hire.

Classes in fiddle, guitar, accordion, clarsach and group work will be on offer from October 25 running until the Christmas holidays, with a host of music tutors ready to welcome students back.

Guitar tutor, Dagger Gordon, has recently been inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame for services to community and Golspie’s Louise Douglas (fiddle tutor) was nominated for Music Tutor of the Year at last year’s Scot Trad Music Awards.

Other tutors include accordionist Amy Henderson, Black Isle fiddler Gillian Stevenson, mandolin tutor and another Music Tutor of the Year nominee Bob Massie and harpist, Bill Taylor; all of whom have been treasured Fèis Rois tutors for a number of years.

This term Fèis Rois will also welcome former Fèis Rois Cèilidh Trail participant and member of award-winning folk band, The Outside Track, Fiona Black, who will join the tutor team and will lead a slow tunes session on Friday mornings for adults – the perfect way to start your weekend!

Fèis Rois Community Engagement Officer TJ Bawden commented: “After delivering so many of our classes online over the last 18 months we are delighted to get back to face to face weekly classes to see all our students and to welcome lots of new faces!

"This term we are also offering free instrumental hire making it the perfect opportunity to start learning a new instrument."

To find out more about the classes, please get in touch at: tj.bawden@feisrois.org

For further information about the weekly classes or the dispersed Senior Fèis event, please visit https://feisrois.org

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