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Wanted: troubadour to find stolen voices

Singing has been "stolen away" from children in schools, Nancy Nicolson, education officer of the Celtic Connections festival, says.

The only way to counter the trend is for television to recognise that traditional singers are every bit as cool as Robbie Williams and Britney Spears, she told the launch of next year's programme in Glasgow.

Ms Nicolson said that singing was being squeezed out of the curriculum yet pupils "adore" professional singers who hold workshops in primaries, and for the first time see role models for traditional music.

"All Scotland's children deserve to see these singers and the best way to do that is to let them be seen on television more often," she said. There are singers who are just as good as Robbie Williams or Britney Spears but never appear on television. Television is missing out on a new generation of cool Celtic troubadours."

Ian Green, managing director of Greentrax Recordings, said that while there was "very heavy" interest in instrumental music, traditional singing is being left behind.

"Singing is the most important element in music and the voice is the finest instrument of all. A major factor in the decline in interest in indigenous singing is the omission of singing from schools and it is encouraging to see the success of the Celtic Connections outreach programme in helping to address this," Mr Green said.

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