The Fife Traditional Singing Festival returns for its 16th year on the weekend of May 10-12 – with its Old Songs & Bothy Ballads Concert in Falkland Community Hall on Saturday, May 11.
Other events from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon take place in the Lumsden Hall in Freuchie – a change in venue due to the decision of the National Trust to dispose of Falkland Old Town Hall that has been the venue for the last few years.
As the organisers say in their publicity: “This is a unique opportunity to meet, hear and talk with a selection of the finest exponents of traditional singing to be found today, and, of course, to participate in the singing at sessions and singarounds.”
The weekend includes concerts – featuring the guest singers, singarounds and sessions – where all who wish can participate, and workshops and talks on topics related to traditional song and culture.
This year Fife Sing has lined up a number of top-class guests.
Shona Donaldson is one of the finest tradition bearers of her generation, originally from Huntly in Aberdeenshire.
Peta Webb and Ken Hall are both fine singers rooted in the oral tradition and who together run the Musical Traditions Club in London, their style absorbed over the years by listening to and singing alongside traditional singers in England and Ireland.
From Ireland, Fife Sing welcomes brothers Brían and Diarmuid MacGloinn, who sing together as Ye Vagabonds, with a style based on their traditional songs but adding close harmonies and acoustic instrumentation.
Making a welcome return is Hector Riddell, from Finzean, beside Banchory, who has known the old bothy ballads for many years and has been five times winner of the Bothy Ballad Champion of Champions at Elgin.
From West Virginia, comes Alice Wylde who was born and raised in a singing family who can trace their Appalachian roots back to before the Revolutionary war. Together with her partner David they accompany some of their songs on banjo, guitar and dulcimer.
There are also workshops and talks during the weekend on topics related to traditional song and culture.
Shona Donaldson will be giving a workshop and talk on the riches of her North East tradition asking the question ‘What should we make of the Bothy Ballads?’.
Alice and David Wylde will talk about the living traditions of her singing family in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia.
One of the organisers, Pete Shepheard will be giving an insight into the folk songs he recorded from traveller families in Gloucestershire.
And guests from Ireland, Brían and Diarmuid MacGloinn will talk, sing, play and generally tell about themselves and their ‘roots and routes’ in traditional song.
The main concert on the Saturday night in the Falkland Community Hall takes place from 7.30-10pm. Tickets are available from The Bruce, Falkland; or online at FifeSing 2019 where you can also find more information about the festival.