Once again, we find ourselves unable to gather in Ullapool this spring, but we are delighted to present our second Virtual Fèis Rois event which offers an exciting mix of workshops, sessions, lectures and concerts for people of all ages to enjoy.
All workshops and the Sunday night Tutor Concert will take place on Facebook Live. You do not need a Facebook account to take part. If for any reason you have trouble accessing these events on Facebook, we will also be streaming them on the Fèis Rois YouTube channel. Our new Lunchtime Lectures and Sessions at Six will take place on Zoom and you need to register in advance to take part in these. We are delighted to be partnering with Beezr Studios to broadcast our Friday and Saturday night concerts on BBC Alba.
In the tabs on this page, you will find the weekend’s schedule and information on how to join the events. These pages will be updated in the week leading up to the event, and you will be able to find sheet music and videos for the workshops.
Although this online event takes place over the Adult Fèis weekend, people of all ages can enjoy this opportunity to connect, play and enjoy traditional music. The workshops will provide people, both participants and tutors, with the unique chance to peek in on other classes they might not have usually got to enjoy – fiddlers can join the pipe workshop, for example.
All workshops will be pitched at approximately an intermediate+ level but everyone is encouraged to get involved.
JOIN IN: www.facebook.com/feisrois
COST: There is no obligation to pay, but Fèis Rois welcomes any donations at this difficult time for freelance artists and small organisations. For those who can afford to donate, we suggest a minimum of donation of £5 per workshop or concert viewed. You can contribute at:
In 2020, we were overwhelmed by your generosity as we received an amazing £14,723 in donations! The last year has been such a challenging time for artists and we have guaranteed a total £13,500 for 40 musicians. Your donations will help pay towards these costs.
All workshops and concerts will take place on Facebook Live. You do not need a Facebook account to take part, and the workshops will be shown on Youtube concurrently. You can find sheet music and lyrics for each workshop on this page and here are the links for the viewing the workshops:
Laura Wilkie is a Fiddle player from Tain in the Highlands of Scotland. She has a unique style which has roots in the Highland fiddle traditions but is influenced by an eclectic range of music from all genres.
Laura has toured across the world in various different groups of the Contemporary Folk Music Scenes, including Kinnaris Quintet, guitar-virtuoso Ian Carr, Ross Ainslie, Salsa Celtica, NITEWORKS and with Scots Singers Claire Hastings and Siobhan Miller. As a founding member of Glasgow-based Jazz/Funk/R&B/Synth/Folk Juggernaut, Fat-Suit, Laura has been able to play with elements of improvisation in different styles and tour many jazz festivals and venues in the UK, Europe and as far afield as Ukraine.
Download sheet music for Laura’s workshops:
Gary West is a musician, broadcaster and academic who has been highly active in the study and performance of Scottish culture for over three decades. He is the host of Pipeline, on BBC Radio Scotland, and was delighted to be inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame last year.
Download sheet music for Gary’s workshops:
Conal McDonagh is a piper from Poolewe in Wester Ross. Influenced by both his Scottish upbringing and Irish heritage, Conal plays the Irish Uilleann pipes as well as the Scottish Highland and Border pipes, whistles and flute.
Conal developed his music through Fèis Rois tuition weeks, studied at the National Centre for Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton and graduated with First Class Honours from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
A winner of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award as part of the Mischa MacPherson Trio, Conal continues to work with both new and established artists, including Breabach, Duncan Chisholm, Cara Dillon and The Paul McKenna Band and also writes and performs with innovative folk/electronica band Inyal.
Download sheet music for Conal’s workshop:
Rachel Walker is a singer, songwriter, arranger and educator based in the heart of Lochaber in Scotland’s beautiful West Highlands. At home with both Gaelic and English, she encountered the Gaelic tradition at a young age, after her family moved from Lincolnshire in England to the small village of Kinlochewe in Wester Ross. It was her school-teacher there, Meg MacLean, who encouraged Rachel to take her first steps on stage, engaging in Gaeldom’s unique system of artist development – competing at local Mòds and performing at at local cèilidhs. A regular participant at Fèis Rois, she soon fell in love with the songs, language and culture of the Gael.
Iain MacFarlane is one of the finest exponents of West Highland fiddling. Iain’s long career has seen him front fiddle-band, Blazin Fiddles for 15 years, guest tours with Boys of the Lough and duo with Iain MacDonald. He currently plays with the Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band and teach at the National Centre of Traditional Music.
Ian hails from the Scottish Borders where he works as a musician, composer and teacher. He did a brief stint in London at the Royal Academy of Music many years ago where he graduated in Accordion. Since then, he has worked mainly in the traditional music scene but also in the schools teaching accordion, keyboard and working with children with additional learning needs.
Harper/ pianist Ingrid Henderson is a ”musician of outstanding calibre, a virtuoso in terms of sensibility.” With over 25 years experience in traditional music, her teaching credentials include lecturing on UHI’s BA Gaelic & Music & tutor at the National Centre of Excellence in Trad Music. She performs as a duo with ex Blazin’ Fiddler, Iain Macfarlane & with the Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band.
Corrina Hewat is a Scottish singer and harper, composer, educator, director, big thinker. Widely regarded as one of Scotland’s most original musicians, she has been involved with a huge variety of bands and projects over the last 25 years.
Download sheet music lyrics for Corrina’s workshop:
Liz Carroll is an Irish fiddler, composer, and recording artist. She is the first Irish-American musician to be nominated for a Grammy, and the first American-born composer honored with the Cumadóir TG4, Ireland’s most significant traditional music prize. She has toured as a solo artist and with The Green Fields of America, the group Trian, as the duo Liz Carroll & John Doyle, String Sisters, and now as a duo with guitarist and pianist Jake Charron. Featured on fourteen albums and appearing on many more, her duet album with Jake Charron, Half Day Road, was released in February of 2019. Liz’s newest book of tunes, Collected II, launched in 2020.
Jenn Butterworth is one of the most notable folk guitarists in the UK acoustic music scene. In 2019, she was awarded the title ‘Musician of the Year’ from the Scots Trad Music Awards, and was nominated for the same title in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Based in Glasgow, Scotland, she is a lynchpin of the vibrant and thriving Scottish folk scene, performing regularly with a wide range of artists including her own projects ‘Jenn Butterworth & Laura-Beth Salter’, ‘Kinnaris Quintet’ and experimental folk-jam group ‘The Blas Collective’.
Rachel Hair has released 5 critically acclaimed albums, and currently performs in a duo with guitarist Ron Jappy. A world-renowned teacher, Rachel has performed and taught throughout the USA, New Zealand, Japan, Russia, and Europe and her lockdown HARP at HOME online workshops have been viewed by thousands of harpists throughout the world.
Dumfriesshire born multi award winning singer and musician Emily Smith has toured worldwide performing her blend of traditional and original songs. As ‘Smith & McClennan’ she mainly works as a duo with her husband Jamie McClennan. Emily has enjoyed a shift of focus from touring to teaching recently and has worked for several years as a tutor for Fèis Rois across Dumfries & Galloway.
Download lyrics for Emily’s workshop:
Our new Lunchtime Lectures and Sessions at Six will take place on Zoom and you need to register in advance on the Eventbrite links below. Registration is free but places are limited, and we open for booking on Sunday, April 4th at 7pm.
Ahead of the sessions, we have asked the session leaders to come up with a few sets they are going to play, to give those who may be less confident at sessions a chance to look at some of the tunes ahead of time. You can download these set lists below.
We would encourage those who can to play by ear in the sessions, but we understand that some people feel more comfortable using music. In some of the sessions, we will be screen sharing the dots as we go. You should be able to find the music for most of these tunes at www.thesession.org
Friday, 30 April
Session at Six with Iain MacFarlane & Ingrid Henderson, 6pm
Saturday, 1 May
Live Lunchtime Lecture: Songs & Tunes of Highland Hospitality with Ewen Henderson, 1pm
Session at Six: Gary Innes with John Carmichael, 6pm
Sunday, 2 May
Live Lunchtime Lecture: European Folk Network with Dave Francis, 1pm
Session at Six: Anna & Bob Massie, 6pm
Monday, 3 May
Live Lunchtime Lecture Cèilidh Culture & The Commons: Mairi Mcfadyen, 1pm
Session at Six: Aonghas Grant & Louise Mackenzie, 6pm
Friday Concert: Lauren MacColl’s The Seer
We are delighted that this concert will be broadcast on BBC Alba on Friday, 30th April at 9pm, and will be available on iPlayer shortly after broadcast for 30 days. For viewers outside the UK, we have negotiated with the BBC that we can stream the concert after the 30 day period on iPlayer expires, so please look out for our June newsletter where we will share with you how to access the content.
Commissioned by Highland arts organisation Fèis Rois and premiered at Celtic Connections, ‘The Seer’ is a 45 min suite of music based on the life and prophecies of 17th Century prophet, Coinneach Odhar – The Brahan Seer.
Growing up on the Black Isle, acclaimed fiddler and composer Lauren MacColl has long been immersed in the tales of this ‘Highland Nostradamus’, stories deeply imbedded in the aural culture of the north. Drawing on inspiration from place, people and with a notably dark uncurrent, Lauren’s music is accompanied by images from artist Somhairle MacDonald. The accompanying album was shortlisted for both Album of the Year and Composer of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards and toured major venues in Scotland in 2019.
Joining Lauren to present The Seer are folk luminaries Mairearad Green (The Poozies), Rachel Newton (The Shee), Anna Massie (Blazin’ Fiddles), Megan Henderson (Breabach) and Signy Jakobsdottir.
Saturday Concert: Mairearad and Anna / Sian / Project Smok
We are so excited to present this evening of music featuring three outstanding traditional bands with strong links to Ross-Shire.
Two of Scotland’s most revered multi-instrumentalists, Mairearad Green (accordion and bagpipes) and Anna Massie (guitar, banjo, fiddle) are a truly captivating duo, providing a highly energetic performance with an instantly warm and friendly stage presence.
Sian, meaning “storm” or “the elements”, have been making their harmonious mark on the Scottish traditional music scene since 2016. Originally brought together to celebrate Gaelic songs composed by women; Ceitlin Lilidh, Eilidh Cormack and Ellen MacDonald keep their material firmly rooted in this theme. Their individual voices blend seamlessly, intertwining atmospheric harmonies to create a unique sound, and they are accompanied by Dingwall guitarist Innes White.
Project Smok is the neo-trad trio of Ali Levack, Ewan Baird and Pablo Lafuente, whose nonconformist and progressive Scottish traditional music has set them apart since their formation in 2017. Known for their ability to effortlessly blend trad music with contemporary new-age pop influences, Project Smok are at their most comfortable pushing boundaries, making listeners stop and re-evaluate their musical expectations.
As with Friday’s concert, this show will be broadcast on BBC Alba on Saturday, 1st May at 9pm, and will be available on iPlayer shortly after broadcast for 30 days. For viewers outside the UK, we have negotiated with the BBC that we can stream the concert after the 30 day period on iPlayer expires, so please look out for our June newsletter where we will share with you how to access the content.
Sunday Concert: The Tutor Concert
The Tutor Concert is the highlight of any residential Fèis course. It is a unique experience bringing together many of the country’s finest traditional musicians on one stage in a combination that is never again repeated. Although we can’t be together for this in Ullapool, we are delighted to have programmed a virtual Tutor Concert featuring musicians who have taught at Fèis Rois over the years.
The Tutor Concert will be broadcast on Facebook and Youtube. You can see the full star-studded line-up below.