Tag Archives: ceilidh

Fèis Thiriodh 2015 – The 25th Anniversary Special

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The Fèis Thiriodh committee are pleased to report that dates have been set and preparations are going well for this year’s event. The weeklong event of workshops, ceilidhs, talks and much more will be taking place from Sunday 5th to Friday 10th of July and we are excited to welcome back Tiree favourites ‘Trail West’ as our main tutors for the special 25th Anniversary event. Joining Trail West regulars; Ian, Alain and Andrew will be a host of other talented tutors who are all well-known to Tiree, including; Jamie MacDonald, Artair Donald, Iona Brown, John Angus MacKinnon, Eilidh MacFadyen, Eleanor Sinclair, John Holliday, Tara Rankin, Scott Wood, Linda MacLeod.

The 5 day tutoring event offers children aged 8 and over and adults, the opportunity to try their hand at a variety of different workshops including; accordion, guitar, pipes, drums, fiddle, flute/whistle, highland dancing, Gaelic conversation and film making. For the under 8 year olds, Fèis Bheag will run throughout the week along with Fèis Bheag Bheag running on four days for the under 5s.

As well as the day time workshops and activities we will also be running various evening and fringe events, which have proven to be very popular over the years. To celebrate our 25th Anniversary we are organising a ‘Ceilidh Ceann-bliadhna’ – Anniversary Concert – for the Monday evening. This will showcase a host of extremely talented and now famous past tutors and students returning to Fèis Thiriodh to entertain us with music, singing and dancing, which we hope will put everyone in the mood for a weeklong celebration of events. Other events will include; the popular children’s dance, a talk by Ian Smith on the history of whisky on Tiree and of course, the closing dance on the Friday evening, which will be led by Trail West.

After taking a year off last year we have also decided to bring back the very popular ‘Muse Cruise’ on the Thursday afternoon. This will see Fèis Thiriodh being transported on a six hour floating session with the tutors on the MV Clansman for a round trip to Barra and back. Come along to sing, play or just listen.

We only have to look at the numerous successful bands and musicians that hail from Tiree to realise that Fèis Thiriodh has had a very influential and successful 25 years, providing music and culture workshops and events to locals and visitors alike. We hope that you are all looking forward to Fèis 2015 and will join us to celebrate and ensure the 25th Annual Fèis is as popular and successful as previous Fèisean. Booking forms are now available and can be found, along with more information at www.feis-thiriodh.com

Skipinnish victorious at MG Alba Scots Trad Awards

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Ceilidh band Skipinnish was the worthy winner of the 12th annual Scots Trad Awards held in December 2014.

A record breaking 100,000 public votes went towards deciding the award recipients. The best live act prize was awarded as Skipinnish’s newly released single December reached number one in the world music charts, their second number one in 2014, the first being Walking on the Waves.

Angus MacPhail, a founding member of the band said: “This is by far the best year of the band and the progress we have made in that time is amazing. For a band, winning live act of the year is the most important prize at the trad awards. Our line-up and the standard of our own material has improved, we are playing more gigs to more fans and the success of our releases has really surprised us”.

Skippinish have had a hectic year, promoting their album and playing for Team Scotland at its Commonwealth Games party but Angus picks out a performance at 2014 Tiree Music Festival as not just his highlight of the year but the best moment of his musical career. “We have had incredibly good fun this year but Tiree Music Festival was amazing. The crowd was singing along with our songs and it was my favourite musical experience in 15 years of playing.”

From a spectator perspective I can honestly say Skipinnish thoroughly deserve this accolade, they provided a stand out performance at the festival, it was completely compelling and they whipped the crowd up to a frenzy of fun and tomfoolery. Let’s hope they return to thrill us at TMF 2015!

Award treble For Tiree Music Festival

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Sarah Cruickshank, Daniel Gillespie, Stewart MacLennan, Julie MacLennan

Tiree Music Festival picked up its third award of the year at the recent prestigious Thistle Awards.

At a stunning awards’ ceremony held in Stirling Castle, TMF collected the award for ‘Best Cultural Event’, beating off stiff competition from major events such as the Glasgow Film Festival. This award follows on from the regional award at the Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards in October while TMF also retained the award of ‘Best Small Festival’ in Scotland at the Scottish Event Awards in September. TMF has rapidly grown in the space of a few years to become Scotland’s best kept secret on the summer festival scene, however that secret could now be out due to the trio of awards collected in 2013.

“We are just stunned to collect this award”, said TMF Director Daniel Gillespie. “Winning the regional award was a big enough shock to us, so to win the National award is just something we would have never dreamed of when starting the festival in 2010. We have a very special team that commits so much of their time and energy to the festival – this award is testament to all their hard work over the past 4 years.”

TMF has created a huge economic boost to the island of Tiree. An independent report by MKA Economics estimated that the festival had generated £493,197 for the local region with 76% of the 1500 attendees travelling from outwith the region to enjoy the festival held on the island dubbed the ‘Hawaii of the North’.

It is this stunning location and island atmosphere that fellow TMF Director Stewart MacLennan feels makes the event so special. “TMF isn’t just a festival, it is an island adventure. So many people feed back to us that they have never seen such stunning beaches or landscape. This combined with the friendly island atmosphere and great music are the key reasons people tell us they want to return Tiree and TMF.”

Planning is already under way for TMF2014 – the first three day event in the festival’s history and will be held from the 18th–20th July.

Before that, there is the possibility of a fourth award of 2013 for TMF as the festival is shortlisted for ‘Event of the Year’ at the Scots Trad Music Awards, held on the 7th December in Aberdeen.

TMF 2012

tiree music festival 2012Festival goers flocked to Tiree for the sell-out TMF (Tiree Music Festival) with bands including Toploader, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, the Vatersay Boys and Tiree’s own Skerryvore, taking centre stage against the island’s stunning skyline.

Now in its third year, TMF 2012 was bigger than ever before with a sell out capacity of 1250 as well as the new TMF Community Village and campsite which was home for the weekend for over 500 music fans.

TMF organiser and Skerryvore band member, Daniel Gillespie said: “TMF 2012 exceeded all expectations and it’s all thanks to each and everyone who came to Tiree from near and far. From the bands who performed to the volunteers who helped out over the weekend, the local businesses and landowners who supported the event and, of course, the amazing crowds, this was a truly unforgettable TMF. Thanks to everyone for their incredible support and for making TMF 2012 the success it was. Here’s to 2013!”

The TMF buzz started building on Friday when the campsite opened in glorious sunshine and a plethora of tents were pitched in anticipation of the weekend’s music offerings. On top of music performances, TMF 2012 included workshops and Circus Skills as well as Open Mic opportunities, amongst many other activities. There were also fun for the younger TMF fans with face painting and balloon modelling on offer. Also spotted enjoying the weekend’s entertainment were a group of Smurfs, Oompah Loompas and even a furry crocodile with some festival goers opting for a more ‘unique’ style of gigging attire.

Saturday played host to an array of artists including Face The West, Gunna Sound and Donald MacDonald & Islands. And across the water from Barra, The Vatersay Boys took to the main stage on Saturday night, wowing the crowd with an energy laden performance including the Sands of Vatersay, Oidhche Bha and the theme to Local Hero. And then came Saturday’s headliners – the Red Hot Chilli Pipers – who unleashed their unique brand of ‘bagrock’ on to the TMF followers. Mixing together the sounds of pipes with rock music including AC/DC, Coldplay and Snow Patrol, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers raised the (outdoor) roof with an incredible set, highlighting their worldwide popularity.

Like so many other music festivals this year, wet weather made an appearance but, despite the wind and rain on Sunday, spirits weren’t dampened. After all, TMF followers are made of stronger stuff! Sunday’s acts included Emily Smith, Crooked Reel, and Tiree bands Skippinish, Gunna Sound and Trail West with performances on the main stage, An Talla and on the TMF Community Village Stage. Skerryvore received a rousing response from their homecrowd. No doubt about it, Skerryvore’s homecoming was warm and welcoming – the rain even stopped for their performance! Sunday headliners came in the shape of Toploader, the anthem of the night belonging to their biggest hit ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’, which was made extra special as the band invited Skerryvore piper Martin Gillespie onstage to perform the track with them. Over the weekend, music filled the air, echoing the length and breadth of Tiree as the festival goers showed their TMF appreciation, celebrating one of the best festivals around.

And The Fun Continued…….

Tiree Music Festival 2011

Preparations for the Music Festival began on the Thursday with a huge portable stage being erected in the grounds of An Talla. Further down the road at the Business Centre campers began arriving to pitch their tents in readiness for what turned out to be a memorable musical event.

Over the two days over 1000 people danced and sang to the music of The MacDonald Brothers, Pearl and the Puppets, Jill Jackson, Trailwest. Skerryvore and a surprise turn from Face the West.

This year’s festival was a huge success judging by the comments from locals and visitors alike, and as its reputation spreads, one thing you can be sure of is that future TMF’s will become one of the must-go-to festivals of the music festival season.

Congratulations and thanks to all who organised it so well.

Local Tutors Power Fèis Thiriodh 2011

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An Talla proved a spectacular venue for Fèis Thiriodh 2011 which came to a triumphant conclusion last weekend. 200 people packed in to the hall for the final ceilidh and dance to the largest and best dressed ceilidh band in Scotland, including Shona and Susan MacFadyen from Caolas.

The seven classes for the 21st Fèis were again held in the hall as the school was unavailable due to maintenance, and every nook and cranny was filled with music. Iain and Anne MacKinnon, along with Ewan and Fiona Malcolm, had lent caravans which made first rate classrooms for piping and whistle.

Numbers were double those of last year as the sun beat down – an unusual experience for the Fèis! The demonstration of traditional baking, organised by Jessie Gray, will be talked about for years. (if you attended the Baking evening and didn’t get a Recipe Booklet, these can be collected from the Business Centre) The shinty match had 30 players, young and not so young, battling furiously for the ball. “There’s no fool like an old fool,” said Niall Oliver, the fiddle tutor as he ruefully took off his helmet after the game.

That evening a music session took over the corner of An Talla, as twenty musicians played furiously into the night listened to by an audience of over 50 people.

“A really great week,” said Dr John Holliday, chair of the Fèis, as the accordions and fiddles were being packed away. “The committee of An Talla went out of their way to make us welcome. Although it is hard to pack in the number of classes we had, the hall is so light and the sound quality so good, we really enjoyed it. It is also wonderful to have so many young and talented Tiree tutors. All in all, a fantastic advertisement for the island and its rich culture.”

The date of the Fèis next year is July 9-13.

Fèis Thiriodh 2011

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Ar ceòl, ar cànan ’s ar dualchas – our music, our language and our culture. Pride in the rich traditions of Tiree is the theme of Fèis Thiriodh 2011 which starts this week.

Stand out evenings are the night of traditional baking on a busy Thursday, which also brings us a shinty game and a music session, and a talk on the amazing guga hunt in the stormy waters of the Atlantic off the north coast of Lewis. But during the day there are also great classes in singing, Gaelic, guitar, pipes, flute and whistle, accordion and fiddle for young and old – if you want to sign up ring Paper.works at 220055.

  • Monday 11th 7.30pm, Adults’ Ceilidh Dancing Class with Jessie Gray, An Talla
    Come and learn the steps to old favourites and less usual dances and share a glass of wine.
  • Tuesday 12th 7pm to register, Car Treasure Hunt, An Talla
    How many wind turbines are there on Tiree? What are otter droppings called? Follow the fiendish clues around the island in teams.
  • Wednesday 13th 7-9pm, Children’s Dance, An Talla
    Children of all ages welcome to the best knees-up of the week.
  • Thursday 14th 7.30pm, Traditional Baking Demonstration, An Talla, Large Hall
    Ever wondered how to make the perfect scone or prizewinning dumpling? This year we have the answers, with demonstrations of how to make scones, oatcakes, pancakes, shortbread and dumpling the traditional way.
  • Shinty game, Reef pitch 7.30pm
    14 years and over, men and women, boys and girls, all levels of experience welcome! Equipment provided. Or come and watch the action.
  • Session, An Talla, Small Hall, 9pm
    If you play, sing, dance, tell ghost stories or enjoy a good old-fashioned ceilidh where everyone does something, come along to this informal session. All levels welcome.
  • Friday 15th 7.30pm till late, Fèis Ceilidh Dance
    The evening includes another performance by the West End Players of the hilarious short play An Dileab in Gaelic and English written and directed by Mabel MacArthur. Visiting and local musicians and singers combine with the house dance band to provide an intoxicating blend of song, dance, music and stories. By popular request Donald Iain Brown will again be fear an taighe.
  • Saturday 17th 7.30pm, Feis Illustrated Talk: The Guga Hunters with Donald Murray, Ringside Theatre, Rural Centre, Crossapol
    Every year ten men from Ness in Lewis make the 40 mile trip north to the uninhabited rock Sula Sgeir. There they follow the steps of their ancestors over two weeks in killing and salting 2,000 young gannets, known to the Lewismen as guga. The dark, strong flesh of these birds is an acquired taste! Donald Murray is from Lewis but has strong Tiree connections. He currently teaches in Shetland. His 2008 book The Guga Hunters is required reading for anyone wanting to know about this amazing tradition. The same techniques may have been used on the cliffs of Kenavara in days gone by.

Triumph For Na Tirisdich At The Trads

Gordon Connell

Despite the appalling wintry conditions on the mainland, a number of Tiree residents made the journey to Perth Concert Hall to be at the 2010 MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards on Saturday 4th December.

This was the eighth annual award which was set up to celebrate all forms of traditional music in Scotland.

Gordon Connell was winner of the Music Tutor of the year Award sponsored by Creative Scotland’s Youth Music initiative. Skipinnish Ceilidh House in Oban, which is run by Angus MacPhail and Andrew Stevenson, won venue of the Year Award sponsored by Coda Music.

Congratulations to Gordon, Angus and Andrew on their success.

Your Vote Counts!

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There are many different Tiree connected musicians / bands up for various awards at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards 2010 which is a phenomenal achievement for the island!

Skerryvore, Trail West, The Skipinnish Ceilidh House and Gordon Connel have all been nominated.
Also Rachel Walker of Skipinnish Records has been nominated as have the Oban Youth Pipe Band, who have a had a tremendous year!

All the nominees would certainly appreciate a vote, so please head over to:
www.handsupfortrad.co.uk/tradmusicawards/voting2010.html and vote!

The Various Nominations are:

  • Skerryvore – Live Act of the Year
  • Trail West – Scottish Dance Band of the Year
  • The Skipinnish Ceilidh House – Venue of the Year
  • Gordon Connel – Tutor of the Year
  • Rachel Walker – Gaelic Singer of the Year
  • Oban Youth Pipe Band – Pipe Band of the Year

More info about all the nominees can also be found on the handsupfortrad website

Skerryvore Rock China

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And named Argyll’s Award Winning Entrepeneurs

Celtic Rock group Skerryvore made their furthest venture yet , travelling to the Far East to perform in Beijing, China.

The band were performing at the International Routes Event that was held in Beijing from the 12th to 15th September, attracting over 4,500 people from all over the world. The band also managed to fit in two other performances at music venue Ginko and went down a storm with locals and tourists alike.

Piper Martin Gillespie said “Beijing was an incredible experience for all of us, however, coming from Tiree which has a population of around 700 to then being in a city with a population of 14 million really did take my breath away. The locals were really friendly, and we received a fantastic reception at all three of our performances. We met the head of the Beijing Caledonian Society regarding performing at one of their annual events so hope to return to China again in the near future.”

Upon their return to Scotland, Skerryvore were then announced winners of the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) Young Entrepeneur of the Year for Argyll & Bute and received their award at a ceremony at the A & B Council headquarters in Lochgilphead. The band now go through to the National Final with the chance of winning Young Business of the Year for Scotland and £2,000 towards their company. PSYBT regional manager Mags Watson said “They have demonstrated ambition and enthusiasm for taking good ideas and transforming them into a successful, thriving business. We wish them every success in the future.”

Skerryvore’s second album, On the Road, released in 2007 was re-pressed within a week of its release. They are currently working on a new album.

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