Feis Rois masterminds 'incredible line-up' for virtual festival; Liz Carroll, Project Smok, Lauren MacColl, Rachel Walker and Sian amongst draws for online event which also includes workshops
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COVID-proof plans for a four-day celebration of music and song from some of Scotland’s best folk musicians have been unveiled by a Ross-shire arts organisation.
The Virtual Fèis Rois Weekend later this month will see an incredible line-up of some of Scotland’s finest musicians take to the online stage.
It comes after the Dingwall-based arts organisation, Fèis Rois, was forced to cancel its usual spring residential music events in Ullapool for the second year running due to Covid-19.
Last year, it also had to cancel its 30th anniversary of the Adult Fèis as well as Fèis Rois Òigridh (Junior Fèis), a week-long residential for Primary 4 – S1 pupils.
It responded to the pandemic by instead running a very successful online weekend of music and song, with over 50,000 views from more than 2600 participants from 50 countries.
And after last year’s demand, it is back this year with an extra day and even bigger line-up of musical entertainment – including two concerts to be shown on BBC Alba.
Running for four days, from April 30 to May 3, Fèis Rois, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, will host a variety of free workshops, concerts, lectures and sessions with musicians including Grammy-nominated Irish fiddler, Liz Carroll, neo-trad trio Project Smok, Black Isle fiddler Lauren MacColl, Glenfinnan duo Iain MacFarlane and Ingrid Henderson, Kinnaris Quintet fiddler Laura Wilkie and Gaelic vocal harmony group, Sian.
Featuring many former Fèis Rois participants in the line-up, all workshops and the main tutor concert will take place on Facebook Live whilst the Friday and Saturday night concerts will be broadcast on BBC Alba.
The new addition of the Lunchtime Lectures and Sessions at Six, including a session with BBC Radio Scotland presenter Gary Innes and accordion legend, John Carmichael, will take place on Zoom and will require registration via the website in advance.
With concerts on the first three nights, including a performance of Lauren MacColl’s Fèis Rois commission, The Seer, from the Strathpeffer Pavilion, as well as workshops such as fiddle with Iain MacFarlane and Laura Wilkie, Gaelic Song with Rachel Walker, whistle with Breabach’s Conal McDonagh and harmony singing with Corrina Hewat, the event is promising something for everyone.
The Sunday night will see the return of the online Fèis Rois Tutor Concert, a two-hour show featuring the likes of Liz Carroll and Jenn Butterworth, piper Gary West, accordion players Ian Lowthian and John Carmichael, harp and guitar duo, Rachel Hair and Ron Jappy, multi-instrumentalist and Black Isle Correspondent, Anna Massie, Scots singer Emily Smith and multi-instrumentalist Jamie McClennan.
Fiona Dalgetty, Fèis Rois chief executive, said: “Once again, we find ourselves unable to gather in Ullapool this spring, but we are delighted to present our second Virtual Fèis Rois event which offers an exciting mix of workshops, sessions, lectures and concerts for people of all ages to enjoy.”
“The Virtual Fèis Weekend will be one of our final purely online events, although we will likely take some of the learning from the past year into the future and have some blended online and in person events going forward.Like many people across the country, we are now looking forward to a gradual return to delivering in person classes, concerts and events across the Highlands.
"We would like to thank everyone who has continued to support Fèis Rois over the last year, participating in all our online events, and we hope that people across the world will join us for our Virtual Fèis Weekend – all ages and abilities are welcome!”
A suggested minimum donation of £5 for each workshop or concert you view can be made on the Fèis Rois Just Giving page, https://www.justgiving.com/feisrois, however, there is no obligation to make a donation.
If you would like to find out more about the timetable of workshops and concerts taking place throughout the weekend and to register for the lectures and sessions, please visit www.feisrois.org. All workshops and one of the concerts will take place on the Facebook page – www.facebook.com/feisrois.
Fèis Rois enable people of all ages to access, participate in and enjoy the traditional arts and Gaelic language through a diverse programme of activities in Ross and Cromarty, across Scotland and beyond.
Based in Dingwall, Fèis Rois is widely recognised as a national leader in the arts, particularly in music education and was established in 1986.
There are now more than 40 fèisean in communities across Scotland. Fèis Rois is unique within the fèisean movement as it has a team of full-time staff that enable the work of Fèis Rois to take place year-round and extend well beyond the local community.
Friday 30th April
6pm – Session at Six; Iain MacFarlane & Ingrid Henderson
TBC – Concert; Lauren MacColl’s The Seer from Strathpeffer Pavilion. Please see BBC Alba schedule for start time.
Saturday 1st May
10am – Fiddle workshop with Laura Wilkie
12pm – Small Pipes workshop with Gary West
1pm – Live Lunchtime Lecture; Songs & Tunes of Highland Hospitality with Ewen Henderson
2pm – Whistle workshop with Conal McDonagh
4pm – Gaelic song workshop with Rachel Walker.
6pm – Session at Six; Gary Innes with John Carmichael
TBC – Concert; Mairearad and Anna/Sian/Project Smok. Please see BBC Alba schedule for start time.
Sunday 2nd May
10am - Fiddle workshop with Iain MacFarlane
12pm – Accordion workshop with Ian Lowthian
1pm – Live Lunchtime Lecture; European Folk Network with Dave Francis
2pm – Piano workshop with Ingrid Henderson
4pm – Harmony singing workshop with Corrina Hewat
6pm – Session at Six with Anna and Bob Massie
8pm – Fèis Tutor Concert (see below for details)
Monday 3rd May
10am – Fiddle workshop with Liz Carroll
12pm – Guitar workshop with Jenn Butterworth
1pm – Live Lunchtime Lecture; Cèilidh Culture & The Commons with Mairi Mcfadyen
2pm – Clarsach workshop with Rachel Hair
4pm – Scots song workshop with Emily Smith
6pm – Session at Six with Aonghas Grant & Louise Mackenzie
The line-up for the Fèis Tutor Concert, taking place on Sunday 2nd May is as follows:
20:00 – 20:10 Ingrid Henderson and Iain MacFarlane
20:10 – 20:20 John Carmichael
20:20 – 20:30 Rachel Hair and Ron Jappy
20:30 – 20:40 Conal McDonagh and Robbie Greig
20:40 – 20:50 Laura Wilkie and Hannah Read
20:50 – 21:00 Ian Lowthian
21:00 – 21:10 Rachel Walker and Aaron Jones
21:10 – 21:20 Gary West
21:20 – 21:30 Anna Massie
21:30 – 21:40 Liz Carroll and Jenn Butterworth
21:40 – 21:50 Emily Smith and Jamie McClennan
21:50 – 22:00 Corrina Hewat and Dave Milligan