Songs and bothy ballads on the cards for Fife Traditional Singing Festival this weekend

Above: The FifeSing traditional singing weekend is organised by The East of Scotland Traditional Song Group ' a trust with a committee of Peter Shepheard, Jimmy Hutchison and Chris Miles.
Above: The FifeSing traditional singing weekend is organised by The East of Scotland Traditional Song Group ' a trust with a committee of Peter Shepheard, Jimmy Hutchison and Chris Miles.

The Fife Traditional Singing Festival celebrates its 16th year with its Old Songs & Bothy Ballads concert in Falkland Village Hall on Saturday, May 12.

The festival attracts singers and enthusiasts from near and far to hear some of the finest exponents of traditional singing to be found today, and to participate in singing sessions.

From Blairgowrie comes Aileen Carr, a fine singer with a distinctive repertoire of songs learned from the great Scots ballad singers.

In the 1980s she joined Ceolbeg for a time and later became a member of the popular a capella group, Palaver.

Aileen continues to sing solo with her excellent, powerful singing voice.

From Belfast comes Maurice Leyden, a folk song collector, singer, broadcaster and writer with a passion for Ulster folk song.

He is a well respected singer taking part at folk concerts and festivals, often with his wife Jane Cassidy, who also joins him for a talk on Ulster songs.

Also performing will be Aly Macrae, originally from Darvel, a musician, singer, actor and recent music director of Dundee Rep’s the revived Cheviot the Stag and the Black, Black Oil.

Iona Fyfe is one of Scotland’s up and coming younger singers, originally from Aberdeenshire but now studying at Glasgow. She has established a strong sense of place in her repertoire and was a nominee for Scots Singer of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards.

The FifeSing festival always features the best of the North-east bothy ballad singers, and this year Geordie Murison, from Stonehaven, a past bothy ballad champion, carries the torch.

There are also singing sessions and workshops during the weekend.

Chris Wright, from Dundee, is giving a talk on the Saturday morning – ‘Local Folk Songs and their importance in Education’.

Maurice Leyden and Jane Cassidy will give a workshop on the Ulster song repertoire on Sunday morning.

And Dr Julia Bishop, of the Elphinstone Institute in Aberdeen, will introduce the riches of the Carpenter Collection in a talk focusing on 1930s American folklorist James Madison Carpenter – also on Sunday morning.

Further information on FifeSing is available at the website www.springthyme.co.uk/fifesing.