Third time lucky for Mull Fiddle Week

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Players at Mull Fiddle Week could finally celebrate getting back together this month, after the event had been postponed twice due to Covid.

Mull Fiddle Week, funded by the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, aims to immerse young people in the energy and spirit of traditional fiddle music. It was open to players of all abilities from Argyll and Bute, and attracted more than 30 participants.

The main fiddle programme was based in venues around Tobermory and was led by some of Scotland’s finest fiddle players – Patsy Reid, Adam Sutherland, Daniel Thorpe and Vanessa Edwards – who travelled up from Lancaster to join the team. Also taking part in Mull Fiddle Week was a group of young aspiring musicians who all gained places on a mentoring programme, led by Patsy Reid.

Emily Goan, one of the trainees from Innelllan, Argyll said: ‘I had an absolutely fantastic week at Mull Fiddle Week and I have left feeling absolutely inspired to keep teaching. All of the tutors were patient, encouraging, helpful and supportive, as well as fantastic musicians. It was so great to be able to work with all of them and see their very often very different teaching styles. I feel that I took something different from each of them.’

Another trainee, Lucy Houston from Ardnamurchan, said: ‘This was one of the best weeks of my life. It was so much fun and such an incredible learning experience.’

The participants, aged between five and 17, learned took part in small, focused workshops learning traditional repertoire by ear and bowing techniques, musicianship classes experiencing traditional music through movement as well as creative composition classes.

The youngsters all learned parts to tunes such as Jig Runrig, An T-Eilean Muileach and Pinacle Ridge, all specially arranged by Patsy Reid, which they performed en-masse to delighted passers-by on Tobermory Main St towards the end of the week.

Adam Sutherland, one of the event’s leading fiddlers, said: ‘You guys created such a great atmosphere for learning. A very happy bunch of young people indeed, all of whom did so well. So many inquisitive young minds. Bravo.’

Also taking place over the water was Mull Fiddle Week’s special sister project, Hear My Music, spreading the joy and accessibility of traditional music to people with learning disabilities.

Emily Carr-Martin and Morag Currie, specialist music educators and fiddler players from the Glasgow-based charity, spent each morning running music sessions at the Lochside Centre (formerly the Lochgilphead Resource Centre) as well as working with groups at the Mid-Argyll Youth Development Service and groups in Campbeltown.

Mull Fiddle Week organiser, Laura Mandleberg said: ‘The pandemic has hit the vulnerable members in our community the hardest. It was very special to see the amazing work of the Hear My Music team working at the Lochside Centre. Even though we were working apart, we were together through our music-making and working on the same pieces arranged by the wonderful Patsy Reid.’

You can find video clips of Mull Fiddle Week on the Mull Music Makers Facebook page. Organisers were keen to thank the The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo for the funding, and to the Western Isles Hotel for gifting them some venue space. Laura gave a final thanks to ‘all of our participants who played their socks off and made us all SO proud!

Mull Fiddle Week 2022 anyone?’