The 16th Niel Gow festival will
be held in the beautiful and historic Perthshire village of
Dunkeld & Birnam, home of Niel Gow.
If you would like to make a donation to the Niel Gow Memorial Fund please use the PayPal button below:
New CD played on Niel Gow's fiddle - proceeds to Niel Gow memorial. Click on CD cover for ordering information.
Tickets available now from Birnam Arts
Press release available here.
Festival Programme for Printing
Pictures for sale by sealed bid at festival - proceeds to Niel Gow Festival Memorial Fund
Friday at 1.45pm: The Royal School musical afternoon (NB this is a private event) presented by Karys Watt & David MacFarlane.
Followed by an Open Session at the the Tap (The Birnam Inn) from 3pm.
THE NIEL GOW FESTIVAL 2018 – WORKSHOPS AT THE BIRNAM INSTITUTE
WORKSHOPS £10 (Under 18s £5)
NB Entry to the film “The Groove Is Not Trivial” by DONATION
PRE-RECITAL WALK to the Birnam Oak & Little Dunkeld Church Led by David Martin, Saturday 17th March, 10am from the Birnam Institute
THE NIEL GOW WALK to Niel Gow’s Cottage for soup and a dram! Led by Pete Clark, Sunday 18th March, 11am from the Birnam Institute. (The guided walks are FREE - but donations to the Niel Gow Memorial fund gratefully received!)
ALASTAIR SAVAGE & EUAN DRYSDALE
Alastair Savage is originally from Ayrshire and has performed traditional and classical music throughout his life. He won both the Ayrshire and National sections of the ‘Land O’ Burns’ Scots fiddle competition in his youth and followed this with classical training at the R.S.A.M.D (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and at the Royal Academy of music in London. As a traditional fiddle player he has broadcast as soloist on BBC Radio Scotland, Radio 3 and on U.S.A. National Radio. He has been a member of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for the past 20 years with whom he has performed throughout the world. Alongside this he has recorded 4 solo traditional albums featuring classic Scots fiddle melodies alongside his own compositions. Joining him on guitar/piano is Euan Drysdale, originally from Bathgate. He has co-arranged much of the repertoire on Alastair’s fiddle albums and has an established background in music education being head of performing arts at Chryston High School near Glasgow. Euan's early musical life was as a trumpet player, studying at the R.S.A.M.D and has subsequently performed in a variety of line ups as a composer and arranger in the world of rock and blues music.
Multi-instrumentalist Dave J Ford has been fronting Funkeilidh for over 10 years. Yet he rarely finds himself playing the tune, always drawn to the more subtle lines which add spice to the band sound.
Harmony Workshop: This workshop aims to make musicians more confident at harmonising, particularly at a session. Harmony not only adds colour & texture to the tune, but allows you play along with tunes you're yet to learn. Harmony lines are often far easier to play than the tune itself. Bring any instrument to this mixed instrument class although the main focus will be on tune playing instruments like fiddle, whistle.
ROO GEDDES & NEIL SUTCLIFFE
Roo Geddes has lived with a eclectic spectrum of music all his life. He currently studies Classical violin at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland but is experienced across a varied spectrum of musical genres and styles. Roo performs with a multitude of ensembles, spanning Gypsy Jazz to Americana and has studied Scottish music with Lauren MacColl, Adam Sutherland, Lynsey Tait and many others. The music of the Gow family continues to be a rich source of inspiration for him and in March 2017 he won second place in the Niel Gow Scottish Fiddle Awards. Roo first visited the Neil Gow festival when he was eleven years old and is honoured and excited to be involved in this year’s events.
Neil Sutcliffe comes from a broad musical background, being exposed to everything from Scottish ballads to boogie-woogie from a young age. He is originally from Stirling, and picked up the accordion from his dad and fiddle from his mum: family has been at the core of his experience of Scottish traditional music, continuing to influence and inspire him. Neil is currently studying classical accordion at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, but remains active in the traditional music scene. He has taught accordion in several community workshops, and for Feis Fhoirt. He has been performing with Roo Geddes for several years, and accompanied him at the Niel Gow Scottish Fiddle Awards in 2017. Neil is looking forward to taking part in the Niel Gow Festival for the first time this year.
ARCHIE McALLISTER & SILEAS SINCLAIR
Archie McAllister is a West Coast style fiddler with influences from pipe music and also from the North East fiddle style which he played since he started.
He plays and has recorded with many different bands from both the folk and dance band scene; these include Skipinnish, Ross Kennedy and the Jura Ceilidh Band. He continues to play in different line-ups and also teaches fiddle in Lochgilphead. Sileas Sinclair will join him on piano and accordion.
Sìleas Sinclair is from Connel, near Oban in Argyll, and has followed her dad‘s footsteps into the traditional dance music scene. Playing both accordion and piano and being brought up in the lively West Coast cèilidh dance culture, Sìleas has also been very much influenced by the native Gaelic scene around her. Conducting the Oban Gaelic Choir who have recently returned from performing in Verona, Italy, running the Oban High School Traditional School of Music, teaching music privately and playing with her own cèilidh band – “Drams Allowed” - keeps Sìleas busy, not to mention having the privilege to play with great traditional artists such as Archie MacAllister, Rachel Walker, Skipinnish and others regularly.
Dunkeld's own Hannah Fisher along with guitarist and Mull native, Sorren Maclean, have been touring as a duo for the past six years. Playing a mix of traditional & contemporary Scottish tunes, they incorporate a love of bluegrass music having spent some time travelling and playing around America, Japan and Europe. Both play with well known Scottish artists Karen Matheson and Dougie Maclean, to name a few, and have recorded their own album and EPs within the past couple of years.
Since Hannah's first appearance at the Niel Gow Festival in 2005 with the Dunkeld & District Strathspey and Reel Society, her music has taken her as far as Japan and America, playing with some of Scotland's finest musicians including Karen Matheson, Dougie MacLean and Roddy Woomble. Her fiddle playing mixes touches of bluegrass and country with her Scottish origins, both in her own original music and the more traditional tunes that she reworks.
Charlie Walden began playing fiddle as a teenager when inspired by players in a fiddling contest at the Boone County Fair in his native Missouri. With the generous help and encouragement of older master fiddlers he went on to be recognized as one the best Midwestern-style old-time fiddlers of his day. He is recognized as an aficionado, collector, teacher, and performer of traditional fiddling.
Charlie’s interest in Scottish fiddle music began on the early 1980s as a result of his attempts to determine the origins of the local fiddle tunes being played in Missouri. Through considerable effort, relative to the ease with which we locate and order materials in the internet age, he obtained his first collection of Scottish music, Kerr’s Merry Melodies, from Mozart Allan in Glasgow. In the ensuing years he has maintained a keen in interest in Scottish tunes as played in both Scotland and in the Canadian Maritimes.
Major concert and festival appearances include: Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Smithsonian Festival of Folklife, Masters of the Folk Violin Tour, numerous U.S. National Folk Festivals, University of Chicago Folk Festival, and the National Folk Festival of Australia.
Patt Plunkett grew up on a farm in west central Illinois. She first heard traditional fiddle music as played by her grandfather Carl Voorhees. Patt has accompanied the best old-time and Celtic musicians in the Midwest. Her piano style projects the high energy necessary for accompanying dance music, especially for contras and squares.
Patt has been dancing, calling and teaching social dancing for many years and is particularly interested in traditional square dancing, especially Western and Appalachian square formations. She once called the figures for the "World's Largest Square Dance" held in Chicago's Grant Park in conjunction with the WFMT Chicago Folk Festival.
Karys and David have performed together for 8 years and play a variety of styles of fiddle music. For the pupils at the Royal School of Dunkeld, they will be playing a selection of tunes by Niel Gow and his family, introducing the differences between reels, jigs, strathspeys and slow airs. The pupils will be encouraged to participate in activities and talks about Niel Gow and his music, and will also have the opportunity to learn a Scottish dance designed to be accessible by all ages within the school.
From Perthshire, Patsy Reid is a Scottish musician, composer and educator.
After stepping back from Breabach, she has clearly carved out a niche for herself - since then she has been in constant demand to help animate others’ projects, as both a musician and producer. As the youngest and twice winner of the prestigious Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship, it’s no surprise Patsy has been longing to return to her roots, and her latest release, A Glint o’ Scottish Fiddle showcases her love of traditional Scottish fiddle tunes.
Featuring the wonderful pianist, Alistair Iain Paterson, the new album was officially launched at Celtic Connections 2018 and they will be delighted to perform it once again in full, during the Sunday afternoon concert.
The Routes Quartet is an exquisite blend of the folk and classical genres, featuring evocative arrangements of traditional tunes and stunning original compositions. The quartet is made up of the classical string quartet instrumentation of cello (Rufus Huggan), viola (Emma Tomlinson) and two fiddles (Gráinne Brady and Tricia Mullan). "Routes" explores the textures, tones and intimate qualities of the string quartet whilst drawing on the heritage and inspiration of folk music from Scotland, Ireland, England and beyond. Their debut album, "Windrose", is out now.
The highly acclaimed Junior Conservatoire music programme has been running for over 50 years. We have some of the country’s best teachers, enjoying Scotland’s best facilities and engaging with some of the most talented young musicians from far and wide. The Trad Ensemble, aged 12-18, hail from all corners of Scotland to rehearse together on Saturdays led by some of Scotland’s leading traditional musicians. https://www.rcs.ac.uk/juniorc/juniors/music/traditional-music/
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Last modified: 18 February 2019