A festival of the Doric runs this weekend

A full weekend of all things Doric will take place in Braemar over this weekend to celebrate Across the Grain.

This is an annual community-based festival of activities celebrating Aberdeenshire’s cultural life, heritage, language and stories.

The programme is inspired by the unique Doric distinctiveness and showcases how vital Doric heritage, music and stories are to shared cultural experience.

Delivered by a partnership involving St Margaret’s Church, The Elphinstone Institute, Braemar Castle and Across the Grain, the weekend will feature two evening concerts, an exhibition including a short film, a drop-in discussion session and a ballad singing workshop.

St Margaret’s will host both the evening concerts. On 4th we welcome back Scotland’s leading traditional fiddle player Paul Anderson. Paul will also introduce us to his guest, top Swedish, twice world champion Nycklharpa player Peter Hedlund and together they will celebrate the unique musical traditions of Scotland and Sweden.

Peter Hedlund who is also known as ‘Puma’ is Sweden’s leading traditional players of the Nyckelharpa, which is a keyed fiddle and Sweden’s national instrument. He’s been the Nyckelharpa World Champion twice, is a ‘Riksspelman’ or Swedish folk musician Laureate and has been awarded the Zorn Gold Medal for excellence in folk music for ‘masterful and brilliant Nyckelharpa playing firmly rooted in tradition.’ There will be a paying bar at this event.

On Saturday 5, Families, Feuds and Folk songs sees North East poet Les Wheeler recount tales of the bloody seventeenth-century feud between the Gordons and Farquharsons of Deeside as described in the ballad The Baron o Brackley. There will be an introduction from Elphinstone Institute Director and ballad specialist, Thomas A McKean, on the North East’s crucial place in world song history then some songs by North-East ballad singer Janice Clark and music conducted by Gordon Hay, with choir, fiddle, piano, and flute.

An exhibition on a Doric Theme, including a short film, will be on display at St Margaret’s on both Saturday and Sunday from 11am–4pm. The exhibition explores North-East Scots through the eyes of students at Banff Academy who created it with support from the Academy’s Jamie Fairbairn and Elphinstone Institute researcher Claire Needlereter.

Also, at St Margaret’s visitors are invited to join Elphinstone Institute Language Worker and poet, Jo Gilbert, for linguistic fun and exploration during two drop-in discussion opportunities exploring what makes our region a unique place between noon and 2pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

Jo will be keen to find out ‘Div ye spik Doric? Do you wish you did? Are ye nae affa sure? Did ye grow up spikkin North-East Scots? And were you encouraged to do so? How do you feel about the language you use? Fit wey div ye feel fan ye eese e tongue? What are your favourite words and phrases? Fit wirds dae ye like best?’

There is also a hands-on workshop about North-East Ballads to be held at Braemar Castle, and led by Janice Clark, Come Alang and Sing from 2–4pm on Saturday 5th.  You’ll learn a song or two along with some of the fascinating background history so deeply rooted in North-East culture. No experience is necessary to participate in this event.

The two concerts and ballad singing workshop require booking, but the rest is free. For full details go to www.stmargaretsbraemar.org.uk or email Lyndsey@stmargaretsbraemar.org.uk.