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Young Scots train up in Trad: £150,000 funding awarded to nurture youth talent in traditional music and dance

Published: 10 Apr 2019

Image: Contributed

Today, Tuesday 9 April, youth engagement and participation in traditional arts has been boosted by new awards made through the Youth Talent Development Fund from The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Creative Scotland.

The £150,000 funding is being announced today during The Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin’ - one of eleven projects supported across the country running until April 2020.  Hosted by Hands up for TradThe Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin’ is bringing together over 25 young people to take part in traditional music workshops led by some of the country’s finest traditional musician tutors who will share skills in traditional song, song-writing, guitar, fiddle, pipes and whistle.

From the Highlands to the Borders, the eleven projects feature the Amanda Kane School of Dance (Edinburgh), Dance Base (Edinburgh), Feisean Nan Gaidheal (Highlands), Gael Music (Borders & West Dunbartonshire), Hands up for Trad (Edinburgh), Rothesay & District Pipe Band (Argyll & Bute), Scottish Culture and Traditions Association (Aberdeen), Scottish Dance Teachers’ Alliance (Glasgow City & North Lanarkshire), St Margarets Trust (Aberdeen City & Aberdeenshire), Strachur & District Piping Association (Argyll & Bute) and the National Piping Centre.  Each organisation aims to nurture the ambition and talent of young people in Scotland (aged 5-26) engaged in traditional music and dance, specifically in piping, drumming, Highland dance and fiddle playing.

Simon Thoumire, Creative Director, Hands Up for Trad said: “Hands Up for Trad very much appreciate the funding from The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo to enable us to give amazing music opportunities to young people at the Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin’. They will have great fun with some brilliant tutors in Leith Theatre learning trad music.

“Scottish traditional music and dance are really important artforms and give young people a link to their past and their future. The friendships that are made through music are often for life and the sense of community they build welcomes in people from many different cultures. In essence traditional music and culture and the building blocks for life.”

Colin Bradie, Interim Head of Creative Learning, Creative Scotland commented: "We’re delighted to work with the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo to offer a second year of the Youth Talent Development Fund, supporting and celebrating the talents of Scotland’s young traditional artists.

“It was exciting to see the strength of applications received this year and the ambition of the Traditional Arts sector to provide opportunities for young people to develop their skills and progress within these artforms.

“The eleven projects supported through this year’s fund will give young people from Aberdeenshire to Argyll & Bute the chance to take part in activities from Highland and step dance, to piping, fiddle and international exchanges. We’re very much looking forward to seeing the work that young people go on to produce through these projects.”

Rucelle Soutar, Chief Operating Officer at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, said: “Traditional Scottish art forms are at the core of every performance at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and we take great pleasure in continuing to support them through our Youth Talent Development Fund.

“As part of our Strategy for Growth, we are committed to investing in Scotland, our heartland, and supporting the next generation of talented musicians and dancers based here. We created this fund to nurture youth engagement and participation in traditional art forms and we are delighted that fantastic organisations from across Scotland are benefitting from this year’s round of funding.”

Further information about each project:

  1. A youth dance exchange between young people from Scotland and Basque Country, who will create a new piece of choreography to be performed during Edinburgh’s Fringe in August  and the Atlantikaldia festival in Spain in September.  (Award: £18,506 to Dance Base)
  2. Get Highland Hopping will provide the opportunity for young people to learn about the history of Highland Dancing and test out their skills in their school environment. (Award: £10,000 to Scottish Dance Teachers’ Alliance)
  3. Professional tuition in Highland Dance for young people in the North Edinburgh area enabling them to learn and develop new skills in this dance form. The young people will showcase their learning in a local performance, with some going onto perform in a group choreography at the International Gathering of Scottish Highland Dance in Paris in November 2019.  (Award £13,018 to Amanda Kane School of Dance) 
  4. Young people will come together at Pitcalzean House in Ross-shire, for a residential weekend of specialist tuition in traditional dance, Gaelic song in November 2018. Residents will explore the connection between tunes, songs and dance. (Award: £8,168 to Feisean Nan Gaidheal)
  5. Culture Together will provide high quality musical, research, learning, ensemble and performance activities for young people in West Dunbartonshire and the Borders. Participants will learn and share local traditional local tunes and songs relevant to where they are living and growing up. (Award: £9,998 to Gael Music)
  6. Young people on the Isle of Bute will be offered music tuition in pipes or drums, culminating in a community concert in November to celebrate the opening of Rothesay Pavilion. (Award: £20,000 to Rothesay & District Pipe Band)
  7. Young people in Braemar will take part in a programme of composition and songwriting workshops in traditional youth music where they will play alongside and learn from award winning, emerging talent from Live Music Now, culminating in performances at venues around Aberdeenshire. (Award: £20,000 to St Margaret’s Trust)
  8. A part-residential five-day traditional youth music camp for young people aged 12-18 in Aberdeen in summer 2019. (Award: £15,973 to Scottish Culture and Traditions Association)
  9. Building on Cowals’ rich heritage of traditional music and dance, young people in Cowal, Argyll and Bute will be offered music making opportunities focusing on piping, drumming and fiddle. (Award: £12,410 to Strachur & District Piping Association)
  10. The Inverness Musical Development Camp will take place in July 2019.  The residential for pipers and drummers from across Scotland will focus on developing the skills and talents of young musicians while letting them explore their creativity through composition. (Award: £15,000 to National Piping Centre)

Image: Edinburgh Youth Gatherin' (Contributed)