Published: 07/06/2018 14:38 - Updated: 07/06/2018 14:40

Things are getting fiddley in Grantown!

Anderson and prodigies

The capital of Strathspey takes a bow this weekend – with the return of The Fiddler.

Now in its fourth year, Grantown’s hugely popular fiddlers’ festival provides the perfect stage for musicians young and old, novices and masters.

Fiddlers and other traditional musicians are invited to take part in a celebration of "the strathspey" in all its forms, its music, its songs and its dance.

There is an opportunity to showcase talent and enthusiasm in the Saturday morning’s competitions, climaxing in the presentation of the Maggie Adamson Goblet to the "2018 Fiddler of Strathspey".

As well as this prestigious award there are fiddle classes for 12 and under and 16 and under.

Open trophies also include the Reidhaven Quaich and the Society Cup. The Imray Trophy will be presented to the fiddler whose enthusiasm and potential most impress the judges.

St Columba’s and the Wheatley Hall provide a fitting venue for audiences and the competitors, challenging their peers, playing well-rehearsed pieces and gaining valuable experience under the watchful eye of supportive and highly knowledgeable adjudicators.

Once again the Grantown Community Centre will convert into the Fiddlers’ Café and Music Rooms and Saturday evening will see another ceilidh in the Ben Mhor, following last year’s sell-out.

Paul Anderson (pictured, with prodigies) is this year’s leading fiddler, and acclaimed as "one of the most respected exponents of the Scots fiddle tradition today". He will play a major part throughout the festival. He will open the festival on Friday night in the Ben Mhor with a unique concert featuring "the Strathspey" .

The festival celebrates ‘The Strathspey’, especially the music of Grantown’s Angus Cumming, the laird’s piper and violer and collector of Strathspeys and Old Highland Reels.

Tonight (Friday) a unique concert in the Ben Mhor Hotel will feature a host of talent including Anderson and singing fiddler Shona Donaldson, with the music and dance of Strathspey. Saturday morning sees the return of the charming fiddle competition to seek the 2018 Fiddler of Strathspey and in the afternoon, in the Community Centre, ‘Mastering the Strathspey’ an afternoon of workshops, sessions and yet more traditional music to delight audiences.

Tomorrow evening the Ben Mhor will be the star.

Sunday, too, will provide yet another opportunity to enjoy local fiddlers. Mr Anderson will also be aided by a piper, dancers and other fiddlers and of special note,

Said Paula Starritt: "The festival celebrates the rich musical heritage of Strathspey and in particular the work Of Grantown’s own Cumming, whose Collection of Strathspey or Old Highland Reels was published posthumously, in 1780.

"Angus had followed in the family tradition. His near ancestor was William Cumming whose full length portrait painted by Richard Waitt recently graced an exhibition in Grantown and is now back in the national Museum in Edinburgh.

"He was the first settler in Grantown’s High Street, South Side, in a house built for him where Grandview now stands (formerly the Palace Hotel and Black Bull Inn). "Angus’ son John was sent by the Laird to learn his craft at the MacArthur School of Piping In Skye, the details of which are now recorded in ‘The Birth of the Modern Highlands’ published by the Grantown Society."

Not only does Angus Cumming’s collection still exist along with the signed bundle of receipts for subscribers, but the music is widely played and admired.

It is this musical tradition which lives on across the world and is to be celebrated with The Grantown Society’s Fiddler of Strathspey Festival.

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