Scottish Academy Music Students in Cowal

Item Posted: Thursday 27th May, 2004

The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama are bringing 12 of their top students to play in the only Argyll leg of their country wide tour on Sunday 13th May.

This is a wonderful opportunity for local schools, parents and the public of Cowal to hear some of the best young traditional musicians in the world. They hail from as far apart as Texas, Alaska, Skye- and slightly closer to home- Helensburgh. Apart from the variety of their backgrounds and styles, the sheer width of their musical skills will make it an exceptional day.

Scots and Gaelic song, linked with fiddles, pipes, harp, clarsach, flute, banjo and piano will give the concert a width of appeal rare in any event put on locally.

The RSAMD has been at the forefront of the explosion of interest in studying, and developing interest in, traditional music. Over 40 students are currently studying Scottish music to degree standard.

Brian McNeil is head of Scottish Music at the Academy, but also known as a musician in his own right. Amongst other credits to his name he was a founder of the “Battlefield Band”. His claim that the interest in playing, and listening to, traditional music is “hugely on the increase in Scotland”, is born out by the capacity audiences for events in our area. “Fifteen years ago I played at the Edinburgh Fiddle Festival to a small band of enthusiasts…now you can’t move for 12-15 year old kids who are desperate to play the fiddle. To play a traditional instrument is “cool” today.” At least part of the reason for that is that traditional music, whilst retaining its roots, has become innovative and varied. Players and audiences alike recognize that, for a genre to develop and grow, it must be adaptable and fun.

The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama Year 2 Tour does not trip comfortably or neatly off the tongue, so the group have sensibly come up with a name for the band- “Ferley”! Ferley, in Scots Gaelic, means “a mysterious and wondrous thing.” Concerts by this young band promise to be nothing short of memorable. The band combines a wide range of instrumental and vocal styles and influences, reflecting their origins from all over Scotland, Germany and North America. The musicians use arrangements that range from solos to combinations and full blown ensembles. Whether they are performing the sweetest slow airs and songs or the wildest set of tunes, Ferley promise to live up to their name.

The tour of the second year students is already well established in the annual music calendar. Last year they played to sell out audiences and had great feedback, but this is their first trip to Cowal. Hopefully you will be able to join in welcoming them.

Ferley are performing at Lochgoilhead Village Hall on Sunday 13th June at 5.00 p.m. Tickets £6.00 adults, £2.00 schoolchildren available from Lochgoilhead Fiddle Workshop 01301 703559.

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