Young musicians have a date with Falkirk’s famous Kelpies this weekend as they use their talents to entertain and help promote Gaelic culture.
One of the stars of this year’s Fèis Fhoirt Ceilidh Trail line-up is Falkirk teenager Eilidh MacIntyre, who will be singing and playing the whistle with the group at the Helix from 2pm on Saturday and then gigging for Falkirk Folk Club at Coffee on Wooer, in Wooer Street, from 7pm.
Former St Mungo’s High School pupil Eilidh (19) said: “I’ve managed to rope in a few friends to come along to Coffee on Wooer to give us some support on the night.”
Eilidh and the handpicked group of dedicated young musicians, Laureline Morgan-Davies (clarsach), Hazel Imrie (fiddle), James Kirkpatrick (guitar/vocals) and Eoghan McManus (fiddle), will be touring the area over the coming weeks to keep the traditional music flame burning brightly.
The Ceilidh Trail project gives young traditional musicians the opportunity to play their music in front of a wide variety of live audiences – including people at residential homes – as part of the Fèis movement, which aims to teach children throughout Scotland about Gaelic music, language and culture.
The Ceilidh Trail scheme is a Fèisean nan Gàidheal project which gives young musicians and singers aged 16 to 25 the opportunity to take part in a professional summer tour through their local fèis with support from a team of musicians and specialist tutors.
This unique opportunity offers participants training in the core skills required for a career in the creative industries in general and in music in particular.
Translated as Festival of the Forth, Fèis Fhoirt also runs music classes for beginners throughout the year, which are familiar to Eilidh, who is now studying music at the University of Highlands and Islands and is also learning Gaelic.
She said: “I’ve come up through the Feis Fhoirt classes in Camelon and the Tolbooth in Stirling so it’s nice to play in the Falkirk area where I went to the classes and learned my instrument in the first place.”
Before embarking on the tour Eilidh and the other musicians, who come from all over the area, spent five days together at Plockton Music School in the Highlands.
“That’s where we got to know each other and arranged all our sets of the music we are playing for people. We didn’t know each other before that meeting and now we have definitely got a lot closer.
“It’s really good fun.”
Musical entertainment and friendships aside the Fèis Fhoirt Ceilidh Trail, and the movement as a whole, has an important aim.
“It’s really important to keep these traditions and culture alive,” said Eilidh. “People say it’s a dead language, but Gaelic is part of Scottish history and musical tradition.”
Visit www.feisfhoirt.org.uk for the full tour schedule and more information.