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Heritage Fiddle Project Update

 The Orkney Fiddlers accompanied by the Sooth End Band performed a 20 min set of Orkney tunes as part of the Commonwealth Games Celebratory Concert at the Pickaquoy Centre on 14th October 2010.

The Orkney Heritage Fiddle Project is led by Gemma McGregor of the Orkney Youth Music Forum and young fiddler, Eric Linklater, plus many local advisors…

There are five stages to the project including:

1.      Info Gathering

   Written tunes and recorded tunes from 1900 – 2000 continue to be sourced from Orkney Library Archive, Radio Orkney Archive, Strathspey and Reel Societies, local artist’s recordings and donations of recordings from the public. Lists of composers and tunes and CD copies of music are being collected and catalogued. 

      Gemma and Eric have spoken with older Orkney fiddle players and those who have stories about fiddlers and tune writers.

2. Tunes Folder

      Gemma and Eric have compiled a small folder of tunes by Orkney fiddler, Jimmy Craigie, with permission from Jimmy’s family. The folder and an accompanying archive recording CD were distributed to 40 schools and community music groups that involve young people. All groups were invited to listen to/learn the tunes and join the performance of the tunes in the Folk Festival Youth Concert.

3. Heritage Fiddle Project Schools Workshops

     Local fiddler, Douglas Montgomery, led workshops for young fiddlers at Kirkwall Grammar School on 7 May and 21 May and at Stromness Academy on 21 May 2010. Douglas gave young fiddlers the opportunity to listen to the archive recording and to play the tunes by Jimmy Craigie.

4. Orkney Folk Festival Showcase

          The Orkney Folk Festival Friday night Youth Concert on 28th May 2010  included a 25 minute set by young Orkney fiddlers playing Orkney tunes including the tunes from the folder that had been distributed previously. The audience were able to listen to the archive recording and then hear the young people play the heritage tunes which included:

-       Mr & Mrs Ron Corkett

-       Ron’s Reel

-       Miss Barbara Mainland

-       Maggie Watson’s Farewell to Blackhammer

5. Film Screening at Pier Arts Centre

On Saturday 29th May at 2pm, the Orkney Folk Festival put on a screening of the film, “Fiddlers of James Bay” made in 1980, which featured native Canadian Cree fiddlers and the Orkney Strathspey and Reel Society. The film was followed by tea, a short broadcast of archive material and a group discussion about the legacy of Orkney fiddle music and the value of musical heritage in Orkney. Many viewers had recognized fiddlers who appeared in the film and many stories were shared about fiddlers past and present.

Future Plans…

Gemma and Douglas are continuing to collect tunes and recordings and stories. Plans are to list Orkney fiddlers and tunes on the Orkney Fiddlers website and to create an Orkney Heritage FIddle Project archive. The Heritage Fiddle Project will feature again in the Orkney Folk Festival in 2011, with work focussing on fiddler, Davy Eunson. If you have anything to contribute or would like more information on the project do get in touch with Gemma at mcgregor_gemma@hotmail.com