Edinburgh Tradfest returned this year with an exciting online programme which concludes today, showcasing a wealth of talented home-grown and international traditional artists. It moved online for the first time this year, with a programme of recorded and live streamed music concerts, folk films and daily podcasts. The Fountain spoke with curator and musician, Catriona Macdonald (String Sisters), about her involvement in the Festival.
TF: You are involved in Edinburgh Tradfest, that’s exciting?
Yes, being involved with Tradfest has been really great- this plan was hatched a couple of years ago, so it is lovely to finally have got together ‘live in person’ to record tunes with this line up.
TF: What can we look forward to from your set?
Shetland Springs sees us draw from the very deep well that is the Shetland fiddle tradition, which until the 20th century was a mostly solo fiddle tradition with many, many fiddlers playing for dancing and wedding ceremonies in their own communities. That meant that Shetland fiddlers have a large variety of styles and approaches to traditional tunes and a rich source of material to draw from. Beautiful wedding tunes, listening tunes, jigs and of course the most important dance tune type the reel.
Each of us as professional fiddle players have over our careers played set lists which include tunes from the 20th century onwards, plus our own compositions. This time, the focus is on the distinctive nature of these older melodies and a celebration of our musical heritage.
TF: What is your plan for the remainder of the year, after this performance?
I am hoping that there will be some’ live with an audience’ gigs in the not too-distant future, and of course the chance to travel and play with our musical peers in other countries is definitely on my wish list…I also am the degree programme director for the BA in Folk and Traditional Music course at Newcastle University- so I have personally never been busier, trying to support my fantastic students through these challenging times. They have been so resilient and inspiring to work with.
TF: What are your own personal highlights and what are you looking forward to from Tradfest this year?
I am looking forward to hear some of the interesting daily podcasts, and of course Karine Polwart’s lecture which will close the festival.
For more information on the Festival and to join on the concluding day click here
Photo courtesy of Douglas Robertson