Young people will take centre stage at the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention 2018 which takes place this week
Young people will take centre stage at the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention 2018 which takes place this week

Fiddlers gather for a celebration in Aberdeen

Scottish fiddlers will be taking a bow at the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention.

Young musicians are taking centre stage at the event, being held in north-east Scotland. Taking place during Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, it is in tune to deliver its biggest ever youth programme.

Starting yesterday, from traditional fiddle classes to a family-friendly ceilidh lesson, the convention is going all out to put young people centre stage in enjoying a musical form that has been part of the fabric of Scotland, and many other nations, for centuries.

The convention features the first ever international fiddle camp which will see 60 young musicians from Scotland, the Netherlands, Spain, Lithuania and Ireland come together to participate in workshops, sessions and other activities.

The culmination of their collective efforts will be seen in the gala concert at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, on Saturday evening when they will perform a new piece by celebrated Scottish fiddler and composer Patsy Reid, inspired by traditions represented at NAFCo 2018. They will also join in the NAFCo final stramash on Sunday at The Lemon Tree.

Aberdeen’s Traditional Music and Song Association has sponsored a young musicians’ concert on Saturday lunchtime at the Lemon Tree, when some of their recent competition winners will perform alongside NAFCo’s young musicians.

Young people will be part of ‘Random Acts of Violins’ – a so-called busking trail that will see the streets of Aberdeen’s city centre come alive with the sound of music. On Saturday afternoon, there will be pop-up performances outside the Bon Accord Centre (2pm); the Gordon Highlanders statue in the Castlegate (2.30pm); the area in front of St Nicholas Centre (3pm) and Union Terrace Gardens (3.30pm).

There are two free events tailor made for families. A ‘Music for 0-6 Year Olds’ workshop takes place on Saturday at St Margaret’s Church Hall in the Gallowgate from 11am. On Sunday, the same venue will host a family ceilidh dance from 2.30-4.30pm, an introductory workshop to learn the moves for summer weddings and parties.

Young people will take centre stage at the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention 2018 which takes place this week

NAFCo’s increased focus on young talent, with many notable firsts, offers young people from a range of backgrounds and cultures from different parts of the world an opportunity to enhance their creative development, foster skills for life, build confidence and make new friends through music making.

It complements a packed programme that includes an academic conference, interactive workshops, concerts, interviews, public lectures and live-music sessions in pubs.

The convention has always involved young people but this year organisers have gone a step further and many more youngsters will be involved in what is the biggest fiddle convention in Scotland.

Carley Williams, festival director, said: ‘We are delighted to be part of Scotland’s Year of Young People, an opportunity for generations to come together in celebration of youngsters, and that’s exactly what will happen for the duration of NAFCo.

‘Wherever in the world they are based, our young musicians are the torch bearers that will keep traditional fiddle music to the fore. We strongly believe that with the wealth of junior talent, combined with their enthusiasm, commitment and willingness to learn and, perform it means that the future of fiddling is safe in their hands.

‘It’s a tremendous responsibility that falls on their shoulders, but we have no fear that the next generation will maintain traditions, add their own twist and ensure that fiddle music remain a tour de force. The gala concert will see them lining up with some of the biggest names in the world’s fiddling scene and they deserve a place on that platform.

‘All NAFCo events are family-friendly and there will be a warm welcome for people of all ages to all of the events that make up the 2018 programme and that take place across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire from 11 to 15 July.’

The convention has returnd to Aberdeen, the city of its birth, for the first time in a decade with a programme reflecting how the event has grown and stature, with concerts, ceilidhs, dance events, workshops, masterclasses, academic talks, pop up performances and other special events. The festival reached beyond the city and into Aberdeenshire and runs until Sunday, 15 July.