Strike a chord with children

1st February 2013 at 00:00
Top musicians from Celtic Connections' education team help budding young stars, as Henry Hepburn reports

The Celtic Connections festival has drawn many of the top names in folk, traditional and world music to Glasgow this winter from all over the planet - but some of youngest performers came from much closer to home.

Shawlands Primary, from the south side of the city, took part in a special programme of music at the National Trust for Scotland's Pollok House, where pupils performed new songs, helped by top musicians from the Celtic Connections education team and members of the Atlantic Seaway project from the US and Scotland.

Under the guidance of singer-songwriter Findlay Napier, fiddler Celine Donaghue and flute player Peter Webster, pupils had been working on pieces since November.

Shawlands Primary depute head Alison McGill said: "The children found the whole process enriching, from the initial visit to Pollok House where they were encouraged to draw inspiration from their surroundings, to the music workshops in the school.

"Findlay, Celine and Peter have captivated the children and introduced them to a whole new world of music."

The Atlantic Seaway project draws on roots music from both sides of the ocean: Eric Robertson, bluegrass and Appalachian mandolin player; Lukas Pool, a top banjo player from Arkansas; and, from Scotland, accordionist Grant McFarlane and fiddler Euan Smillie.

It is a collaboration between educators at the University of the Highlands and Islands, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the University of Strathclyde and the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Mark Sheridan, director of the Atlantic Seaway project, said it was a way of showing the "deep links between Scottish and American roots music".

The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA recognised it as a "Scottish Treasure" for promoting Scottish culture, at an awards ceremony in New York last year.

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