Students showcase rich cultural classroom as part of Saturday festival feast
Photo from 1950s of Hamish Henderson, School of Scottish Studies, recording Alec Stewart, who has recordings on the Tobar an Dualchais website
Music lovers gathering in Glasgow for this year’s Celtic Connections are in for a rare treat this Saturday when the University of the Highlands and Islands showcases its students and staff, both past and present, in events throughout the city.
A series of four concerts starts at 2pm when BA Applied Music and HNC Music students gathered from across Scotland for a residency as part of their studies, present Solas ùr an Tobar an Dualchais. Showing the creativity and high level of musicianship among students this concert features new work inspired by the unique and rich cultural environment of the Highlands and Islands where these students are located. With a spotlight on the Hebrides, programme highlights include new music and re-working of traditional material from Scotland's ground breaking digital archive of song, stories, poetry and music; Tobar an Dualchais (Kist o Riches).
“We set the students a task to research their own area on the Tobar an Dualchais website and to select a recording of a story, song or tune etc. which they brought to our Perthshire November residency,” explained programme leader Anna-Wendy Stevenson. “ Here the group exchanged and formulated ideas, and collaborated to create new arrangements, compositions, settings etc of the material, introduced by Julie Fowlis, artist in residence for the Tobar an Dualchais project. She gave students a deeper understanding of the importance of the resource.”
Since this residency, there has been intensive online activity amongst the students, using the processes and recording tools of many a professional recording artists and producers to exchange ideas in preparation for what promises to be a bright new light on the Tobar an Dualchais treasure.
“It has been a great pleasure to introduce the students to the Tobar an Dualchais online archive and watch how they have engaged with this fantastic resource,” said Julie Fowlis. “It has been particularly gratifying to hear how some songs and stories have been a source of inspiration to the students, especially as many had no previous knowledge or connection to the archive. I am looking forward to hearing what they have created for this special performance at Celtic Connections.”
BA (Hons) Gaelic and Traditional Music degree programme students, who study at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI, will follow with their own musical showcase. This is the first of a series of concerts being performed by the students, who will be touring the Highlands and Islands in the spring along with musicians who are alumni of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI.
Dr Decker Forrest, programme leader for the Gaelic and Traditional Music course, said:"The performance of the students on the BA (Hons) Gaelic and Traditional Music programme will highlight the exceptional musical talent currently at the college. Listeners can look forward to hearing the students perform skilful, unfettered arrangements of music from the heart of the Gàidhealtachd, an approach which is central to the programme’s musical identity."
This afternoon event will warm audiences up for the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert at the City Halls; featuring a cast of past and current tutors, alumni and students - including Julie Fowlis, Alasdair Fraser, Fergie MacDonald, Dàimh, Christine Primrose and Margaret Stewart - plus very special guest Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, of Limerick University's Irish World Academy of Music and Dance.
The final concert of the day, at the Art Club, features three award winning composers and lecturers from Lews Castle College UHI, also part of the University of the Highlands and Islands. The Tune Book Trio is an exciting new music collaboration devised for the Celtic Connections Festival by music lecturer and fiddler Simon Bradley. Showcasing the music published by each member of the trio, Simon will be joined by Mairearad Green on accordion and Ross Ainslie on pipes and whistles. The trio are accompanied by Matheu Watson on guitar and Mhairi Hall on piano. All five performers are award winning composers and performers in their own right and have tutored on the music courses at Lews Castle College UHI in Benbecula.
Details of the University of the Highlands and Islands’ events are on our website. For more information on Sabhal Mòr Ostaig @40 at Celtic Connections and the rest of 2013 go to www.smo.uhi.ac.uk . Tickets for all events are available at www.celticconnections.com
Communications and external relations manager
t: 01463 279222