26th October 2015
CELTIC COLOURS & THE NORTH ATLANTIC FIDDLE CONVENTION
I’m just back from ten days in Canada. I was on Cape Breton Island giving a Blyde Lasses concert at Celtic Colours International Festival, an illustrated interview on a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio show, and a conference paper at the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention.
My paper was about the history of fiddle and song in Shetland and innovation in traditional music. The process of preparing twenty-five minutes of spoken material on this topic and answering audience questions was an unexpected luxury. It gave me time to think afresh about all the musical pioneers who have gone before, those who dedicated their energies to nurturing something that was dying, to lending dignity to the ‘everyday’, and to taking a risk by trying something new. Today’s traditional music is with us thanks to every one of the brave souls who gave their lives to connecting, communicating and prioritising the boanny bits of humanity.
A thousand thanks to the anonymous donor who helped with the cost of my travel to Canada. After weeks of funding form-filling and rejection emails, this helping hand pulled me across the Atlantic when I’d rather have stayed at home reflecting on the futility of trying anything new. The paper, interview and concert is thanks to them and I hope to pay it forward at Shetland Fiddle Frenzy 2016 and beyond.