Pioneering project will turn new leaf on traditional songbook of Angus

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Young musicians are being given the change to explore their heritage with some of Scotland’s top traditional music talent.

The Kirriemuir project will team folk musicians with budding singers, fiddlers, guitarists and instrumentalists as they guide them through a day-long workshop delving into the traditional songbook of Angus.

The experts will include BBC Radio 2’s 2017 Young Folk Musician of the Year Josie Duncan, and renowned performer Sally Simpson, fresh from a stint working with Police frontman Sting on his acclaimed musical, The Last Ship.

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Sally Simpson is one of the experts involved in the Wayfarers project

The workshop on September 1 – a week before hundreds of performers and traditional music fans flock to Kirrie for the town’s popular annual festival – will see the young singers and players work together on a performance to be put on at the event.

Entitled Wayfarers, the project aims to explore local traditional music heritage and create new arrangements for the Kirrie concert the following weekend.

Portobello-born fiddler Sally Simpson, who has studied at the National Centre for Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton, Stockholm’s Royal Music College and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: ‘We have been researching Angus songs and tunes in advance and it’ll be our job to guide those taking part on interpreting the music, learning by ear, the crafting of arrangements and performance skills.

“I think the idea of digging out local traditional material and having young musicians perform it at their own festival is really exciting,” added Sally, who will join Josie Duncan and folk guitarist Calum Morrison for the workshop.

Scott Gardiner, one of the Kirrie Festival organisers, said: ‘This is a great opportunity to work with some of the top trad musicians on the scene at the moment.

“It’s something new for us, and we’re looking forward to hosting the project.’

Young musicians who would like to take part can register by emailing the Traditional Music Forum at

The Kirrie festival will lay on its usual packed programme of competition, concerts and pub sessions across the town from September 7 to 9, with the Wayfarers project featuring at the Airlie Arms Hotel at 9pm on September 8

The initiative is being spearheaded by the Traditional Music Forum, a national network of more than 100 organisations, which promotes the place of traditional music in Scottish life and society.

The Wayfarers Project is funded by the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Youth Talent Development Fund.