Taransay Traditional Fiddle School 2004.

Taransay Traditional  Fiddle School 2004.
19th-23rd July
Third Taransay Fiddle School.

Taransay 2004 finished Friday 24th July with a concert and ceilidh in Tarbert village hall.Both events were sold out  with the quality performances by all artists being of the highest quality yet acheived.
Artists included ,Ian Copeland from Peatbog Fairies,Charlie Mackerron of Caper ceille and Session A9, Chris Stout from Shetland who plays with Fiddlers Bid amongst others,Patsy Reid,Lochaber,Alison Macleod,Inverness,Nancy and Dave Carmaechal from Arizona who entertained us all with amazing bluegrass fiddle tunes.Accompaniement on keyboards was by Andy Thorburn of the popular band Blazin` Fiddles.Sarah Naylor from Breakish in Skye entertained also this year.Sarah is a wonderful traditional fiddle player and we hope to have her teaching in Stornoway in the near future.Our very own Alsitair White (Battlefield Band)contributed enormously to the event and is developing into a very respescted tutor.Ewan Macpherson from Uist taught mandolin all week and his class was busy .
All the students both advanced and intermediate performed at the concert .The quality of the tutoring was evident by the exceptional performances by the students.
Forty  students from as far afeild as Arizona,USA  and Melbourne, Australia London,Belfast,etc  attended the fiddle course which this year had additional lessons in keyboard accompaniment,piping masterclass,stepdancing. and mandolin.
A first this year at the school was a tune writing competition.This was won by joint winners Robbie Leask from Shetland and David Mackay from Belfast.The standard of composition was of an extremely high standard in the competition.The tune writing competition was also interesting as it was judged by a ‘Pop Idol” type of panel with “Fergie Maconald,Anne Lorne Gilles,and Simon Powell etc”This was extremely hilarious and went down well with the audience.
Another first was the Taransay gaelic choir with all students participating .The gaelic was supervised by Sandra Mackay from Point,Lewis and the musical arrangements were by Andy Thorburn of Blazin` Fiddles.
Three part harmony was the order of the day and it turned out to be a professional performance.
The gaelic choir performed to rapturous applause at the ceilidh in Tarbert.This was the first time many of the students were exposed to the gaelic language and gaelic singing and they all enjoyed the experience.
Again this year Highlight of the week was the thursday night traditional  ceildh in the marquee when we had fourteen Heareach visitors sail over from Harris.They were entertained by the students and also the beautifull Gaelic singing of  a young girl Catriona Watt from Stornoway as well as the Gaelic Choir.
This year it was particulary pleasing to have so many youngsters at taransay and they will surely benefit from being in the company of such talented and gifted tutors.
The fiddle school is gaining in  popularity and is definately now one of the annual  fiddle schools that fiddlers wish to attend nationally.Having won the Fiddle school of the year award this year Taransay Fiddle school is definately on the map.
Patsy Reid was her wonderfull self teaching Cape Breton tunes .Patsy is a wonderfull teacher when it comes to ornamentation and has proved to be one of our favourites.Her percussion class”on the fiddle” proved very popular again this year.Patsys` new CD was sold out at the camp.
Alsion Macleod taught stepdancing all week and had a large class to contend with.As demonstrated at the concert they all perfomed very well with their new steps.
Mr Andy Thorburn was a busy man teaching keyboard and accordion.Many students took an alternative subject on the fourth period of the day so Andy was kept busy teaching both disciplines.
Alan Henderson  of the band Blazin` Fiddles was also at the camp in an advisory capacity and also taught some piping ,music reading,and assisted in nautical duties during the week.Alan has now been at Taransay fiddle school for three years and is an important member of the staff.
The unique experience of being on Taransay for a week really is something special with the visitors commenting on its natural beauty and also on the importance of nurturing and promoting fiddle music in the Outer Hebrides.Taransay fiddle school is a uniquely different fiddle school experience where a community environment is encouraged, with a hands on approach being the order of the day.As Taransay is uninhabited the students are confronted with isolation and  unspoilt beauty and a bond is developed by the students as they work together on the island for a week.It also puts the students into the type of environment where fiddle music would have been played in the past.The younger students also become part of the team spirit and are extremely loyal and supportive to the cause.At the fiddle school all the young students are a credit to their generation.
Taransay fiddle school is run by local volunteers from Fidhleirean Eilean an Fhraoich in Stornoway who are commited to the development and re-establishment of traditional fiddle music in Lewis and Harris.
The school is partly public funded by CNES and Wie.According to a recent poll in the Glasgow Herald Traditional music was more worthy of public subsidy than any other type of music .Thirty six percent voted for traditional music out of five art forms.This is particulary encouraging but more must be done to enable the young local  players access Scottish traditional music in all its different guises.

Finally the Fidhleirean Eilean an Fhraoich would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody concerned with the running of Taransay Fiddle School and hope to see you all again next year .
Thank You
Dolan Morrison

Author: dmorrison

Dolan Morrison is Chairman of Fidhleirean Eilean an Fhraoich and the first point of contact for anybody interested in coming to Taransay Fiddle Camp.

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