Strachur, and fiddling…

We are just back from Strachur, where Emily has joined the Lochgoilhead Fiddle Workshop sessions.

It is a whole new thing for her- the move towards learning traditional music by ear, not by reading notation. It is exciting to see her playing moving forward, and being linked into lots of new possibilities. She is also starting to play mandolin.

It is a big change for the family too- it is a 35 minute drive, and a hole in our week. But worth it I hope.

Music is so important to most of us. It is the backdrop to life, the carrier of culture and emotion- the shaper of memory. It is also a way of bringing us together and allowing us to communicate using a deeper, older kind of language.

May music find its way into your life, and your community this next week…

Whilst Emily played, I went off into the woods above Strachur. I combination of coniferous plantations along with some standard planting done by the Victorian landowners. I put up a lot of deer, and waded through all sorts of bog. There are few footpaths- just the firebreaks, and the tread of the deer along the edges of streams. It was warm today- and the dusk is lengthening the day.

Of course, I took the camera. The old Kirk in Stachur was a starting point…

Winter (and William) stage a comeback…

Will with hood up

Will with hood up

William has been away to the Lochgoilhead Feis this weekend, run by Lochgoilhead fiddle workshop.

He has had a ball- lessons on the Clarsach (hence the photo in the earlier post) the fiddle, and whistle, as well as Gaelic singing and pecussion.

He also had a chance to do a high ropes course, go out on a high speed boat, and shoot arrows. We missed him, but he had loads of fun.

We went to fetch him this afternoon, and to watch some of the kids put on a bit of a show. It was great to see so much enthusiasm for making music- which I think is one of those key things that holds communities together. Because Will is at a Gaelic unit in school, he has a chance to get involved in all sorts of Scottish cultural events- and it gives us such pleasure to see him soaking into the stuff of our adopted land.

A few weeks ago he went to a Celtic connections event with school, and seemed to pick up a hero in young singer Norrie MacIver, accordionist, beatboxer and member of the band Bodega. Norrie was one of the tutors at the Feis, and Will has come back full of enthusiasm- wanting to take up learning an instrument again. Thanks Norrie! We all need role models, and people to draw us on…

The weather was dreadful though! The drive down the spectacular Hells Glen is always a challenge- and when there is snow on the road it can be treacherous.

So here are some photos…