Royal Tattoo funds Mull Fiddle Week

Mull Fiddle Week will bring free tuition from experts to musicians aged five to 26 across Mull and Argyll and Bute but spaces need to be booked quick Photo: Richardkellettphotography.com

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Mull Music Makers are tuning up for a free fiddle week this August with the help of Edinburgh Tattoo.

Young people, aged from five to 26 and living on Mull and across Argyll and Bute, are being invited to sign up for the week-long skill-building course open to players of all levels from beginners to professional string teachers – and in between.

The dates in the diary are Monday August 9 to Friday August 13.

The venture, a first for Mull Music Makers (MMM), got 100 per cent funding from The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo two years ago but had to cancel it for 2020 because of the pandemic.

Fiddle player and composer Patsy Reid is leading the team of tutors at Mull Fiddle Week this August

Now it is back on and excitement is mounting for this summer’s celebration of traditional fiddle music with the support of expert tutors led by  Scottish fiddle player and composer Patsy Reid.

Fiddle teacher Adam Sutherland, who has strong Mull connections and has played with The Treacherous Orchestra, Session A9, Peatbog Faeries, Babelfish and Croft no.5 is also on the team of tutors.

Patsy said: ‘After more than a year’s delay, I’m so ready and excited to be curating the Mull Fiddle Week this August, collaborating with the Mull Music Makers. They have such a precious and inspirational thing going. I’m honoured to be involved, delivering a summer school focused on traditional fiddle music, which seems so fitting in the beautiful setting of Mull. We have a fantastic cohort of tutors confirmed, including Adam Sutherland, Vanessa Edwards and Dan Thorpe. There are brilliant opportunities for participants with additional support needs, as well as mentoring placements for over 18s. I simply adore Tobermory and wider Mull, and this happy week can’t come soon enough!’

Workshops will be focused on learning to play traditional fiddle tunes by ear as well as through movement connecting the music to dance.

MMM’s Laura Mandleberg said there will also be pop-up performances and informal sessions around Tobermory during the week spreading the joy of live music out onto the streets. At the end of the week there will be a chance for the young people to showcase their achievements.

The event will be managed to respect whatever the Covid restrictions are at the time teaching in smaller groups or bubbles to keep everyone safe, said Laura.

Hear My Music, a community music organisation working with people who have complex needs and or an Autism Spectrum Disorder, are also getting involved in the week putting on learning sessions.

Laura said Mull Music Makers is all about  immersing young people in the energy and spirit of traditional music in an area where its cultural roots run deep but provision is poor due to a shortage of music teachers living locally.

With the exception of chanter and piping, it is incredibly difficult to access instrumental tuition on Mull which is why MMM supports young string players  by raising funds to bring violin tutors to the island each month.

‘Young people where we live are often geographically isolated, living in small communities scattered across large, remote areas therefore Mull Fiddle Week will  be just as important socially as musical,’ added Laura.

Organisers are encouraging people to book places quick, call 01688 400364 or email laura_mandleberg@hotmail.com