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Virtual Fèis Rois Weekend begins today with tuition and performances online and on television

By Gregor White

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Four days of music and song from Scotland’s best folk musicians is the promise from organisers of the Virtual Fèis Rois Weekend.

With the Dingwall-based arts organisation having to cancel its usual spring residential music events in Ullapool for the second year running due to Covid, the success of last year’s inaugural online event showed the pandemic had dented nobody’s appetite for top notch tuition and performance.

Running for four days, from today (Friday) to Monday, Fèis Rois will host a variety of free workshops, concerts, lectures and sessions with musicians including Grammy-nominated Irish fiddler Liz Carroll, neo-trad trio Project Smok, Black Isle fiddler Lauren MacColl, Glenfinnan duo Iain MacFarlane and Ingrid Henderson, Kinnaris Quintet fiddler Laura Wilkie and Gaelic vocal harmony group, Sian.

Last year’s event attracted over 50,000 views, with more than 2600 participants from 50 countries.

Project Smok.
Project Smok.

It was such a runaways success, in fact, that this year’s event will run for an extra day with an even bigger line-up of musical entertainment.

Featuring many former Fèis Rois participants, all workshops and the main tutor concert will take place on Facebook Live whilst the Friday and Saturday night concerts will be broadcast on BBC Alba.

The first will feature all tracks from Lauren MacColl’s The Seer – a Fèis Rois commission from 2017 inspired by the life and prophecies of the Brahan Seer. The programme will mix performance and interviews.

The second concert will showcase performances from top traditional and Gaelic music acts Sian, Mairearad & Anna and Project Smok, all bands featuring former Fèis Rois participants.

Lunchtime Lectures and Sessions at Six, including a session with BBC Radio Scotland presenter Gary Innes and accordion legend John Carmichael, will take place on Zoom and will require registration via the website in advance.

Liz Carroll.
Liz Carroll.

Workshops include fiddle, Gaelic song, whistle and harmony singing.

Fèis Rois chief executive Fiona Dalgetty said: “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.

“The Virtual Fèis Weekend will be one of our final purely online events, although we will likely take some of the learning from the past year into the future and have some blended online and in-person events going forward.”

A suggested minimum donation of £5 for each workshop or concert viewed can be made here

To find out more about what is taking place and to register for lectures and sessions see here

All workshops and the tutor’s concert take place on Facebook – www.facebook.com/feisrois

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