Val Bryan has worked with Fèis Rois in a variety of roles, including committee member in the early days and as a tutor at many events, since 1987. She is a retired secondary school music teacher and now spends much of her time singing, including with the Edinburgh Festival Chorus.
COVID-19 Statement – 13/03/2020
In light of yesterday’s updates from the Scottish Government and the UK Government regarding delaying the spread of Coronavirus (COVID19), the Board of Fèis Rois and I have taken the very difficult decision to cancel this year’s Adult Fèis. We were looking forward to celebrating the 30th anniversary of this event and did not take the decision lightly.
Although schools still remain open at this time and the government are only banning gatherings of more than 500 people, we recognise that a residential course with people staying in close proximity to each other is not a regular cultural event. The situation is changing daily and we feel it is easier to take a decision now rather than being forced to do so very close to the event.
Community is at the heart of everything we do at Fèis Rois and we feel certain that we have taken the right decision for the health of our participants, our freelance team (our tradition bearers in particular), all of our older relatives and of our fellow community members in Ullapool.
I know you will be disappointed to hear that the Fèis is not taking place. This is going to be an incredibly difficult time for charities like Fèis Rois and for self-employed musicians. Please can I encourage you to visit the websites of your favourite musicians and buy an album, or perhaps arrange a Skype lesson with someone you admire who offers this digital service over the Adult Fèis weekend or at another time?
As I have been considering this ever-changing situation over the past 48 hours, my heart was warmed to see a Facebook post from Ros Gasson last night saying: “Alison Burns and I were driving back from the Feis last year when we cooked up an idea. We were high on the atmosphere of the event – the music and singing; the sessions, the humour, goodwill and craic: What about starting a folk orchestra with a choir? The idea of The Lightkeepers was born.” Ros and Ali have started a wonderful new project with some dates in the autumn. Find out more here: https://www.lightkeepers.scot/mailing-list
For now, thank you for your understanding and please put next year’s dates of 30th April to 3rd May 2021 in your diary.
Fiona Dalgetty, Chief Executive
Fèis Rois nan Inbheach caters for all abilities, and everyone from beginners right up to accomplished musicians will be welcomed. You don’t need to be able to read music and you don’t need to have any previous knowledge of traditional music to enjoy our Adult Fèis.
As our annual three-day festival, it is about more than just first-class tuition, we also have a growing range of fringe events including sessions, lunchtime and evening gigs, talks and an informal Gaelic conversation circle.
Daily classes take place from 10am to 4pm on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday and are led by an amazing team of internationally renowned musicians. Classes are grouped into ability levels and we offer a first choice class in the morning and a second choice class in the afternoon. Immerse yourself in traditional music, song, dance, Gaelic language and culture in the beautiful setting of Ullapool.
I felt the teaching was very intuitive and geared for each person in the class.2017 participant
All in all an excellent weekend, and a highly professional and successful learning opportunity.2017 participant
Past tutors include the following:
Michelle is an acclaimed singer from rural East Cork, Ireland. Having spent two years as the lead singer with Irish American super group, Cherish the Ladies, Michelle is fast gaining a reputation as a solo artist. She is an impressive interpreter of songs with a timelessly expressive, exquisitely nuanced voice.
Alison Carlyle is an experienced teacher and performer who has taught for Scots Music Group, Ceòlas and Fèis Rois. The workshop will introduce the first steps for dancing to strathspeys and reels, and build these up into improvising to music, exploring the creativity and fun of step dance. Scottish stepdance is a cousin of Irish dance and tapdance. She has been teaching and performing for over 20 years, sharing her traditional and creative dance.
John is one of the great characters of the Scottish music scene and one of the music’s most dedicated advocates through his work as a musician, performer, bandleader, television producer, accordion teacher and competition adjudicator.
Iain Fraser is a Performer and Teacher. He’s fascinated by the fiddle’s rhythmic and emotional capabilities and draws upon the extensive repertoire of traditional music ranging from 18th Century Scottish tunes to new self-penned compositions and from the multiple regional music styles of the British Isles to those of North America and Europe. His teaching includes group workshops, helping people young and old pursue their musical dreams as well as making music a fun social experience available to all.
Amy is at the forefront of contemporary Scottish Fiddle playing as a performer, teacher and composer. Her style has developed over the years through playing with musicians not just at home but in places such as Ireland, Norway, Canada & India. This results in an assured sound firmly rooted in Scotland but enhanced by an increasingly broad wealth of musical experience.
Dagger Gordon is primarily known as a mandolin and guitar player based in the Scottish Highlands. He has released 2 solo CDs featuring his mandolin playing- 'Highland Mandolin' and 'The Frozen River'. He regularly teaches for Fèiseans across the Highlands.
Aonghas Grant is a Highland musical treasure, a superb natural fiddler, a born storyteller and a renowned and influential teacher.
Gordon Gunn has been described as "one of the most exciting and innovative fiddle players of the times. Born & brought up in Wick, Caithness, Gordon was taught by the highly respected violin teacher Margaret Henderson who taught many pupils in the north of Scotland. Gordon is also a founding member of Scottish group Session A9 who were voted best live act at the 2012 Trad Awards. Whilst working with Session A9, Gordon also tours with Session A9's Brian McAlpine on keyboards and include a variety of musicians including Marc Clement and Phil Anderson on guitar and vocals.
Corrina Hewat is a Scottish singer and harper, composer, educator, director, big thinker. Widely regarded as one of Scotland’s most original musicians, she has been involved with a huge variety of bands and projects over the last 25 years.
Songwriter, guitarist, performer, tutor, mentor to many and leading light of the Crack o’ Noon Club and The Gin Shed, Jim Hunter has been at the heart of the west coast and Scottish music scenes for many years. From the early days of all night sessions in Glenuig and Lochailort and his first album Burnt Out In The Snow (1988), through a further nine albums and extensive touring at home and abroad, Jim has developed an enthusiastic fanbase and reputation for great music and good craic.
Scottish-Icelandic percussionist Signy Jakobsdottir is to be found regularly gigging, touring, recording and accompanying dance. She has been developing her unique style throughout her varied career, creating groove and using unusual percussion instruments for texture, atmosphere and melody. She has experience working with gamelan orchestra, contemporary dance and traditional folk music and has recently been developing her own compositional style and performing as a solo artist using drums, kalimba and loop pedals. She has toured the globe from Venezuela to Indonesia, and loves being part of Glasgow’s vibrant music scene.
Singer, piper, storyteller, teacher and all-round tradition bearer, Rona Lightfoot is one of Gaeldom’s great characters, a one-woman ceilidh with a treasure trove of folklore and the spirit to take on authority and win.
Ian Lowthian was born and bred in the Scottish Borders, learning the piano accordion, mostly continental music, French musettes and Italian Polkas but also some light classical pieces arranged for standard bass accordion and of course some Scottish music. He is a prolific composer of mainly traditional music and has composed many pieces for children's ensembles and folk orchestra. He is constantly making arrangements for Folk bands in the schools and now has the most wonderful job working in the schools doing creative projects with children. Song writing, composition, recordings etc. He also works with children with additional learning needs using technology and instruments especially created to facilitate music making for them.
Lauren is a member of the chamber-folk quartet RANT, plays on viola and fiddle with Salt House, is a member of the Rachel Newton Band and is in a duo with flautist Calum Stewart. She’s also considered one of Scotland’s most expressive fiddle players whose solo work is steeped in the rich culture of the Highlands. One of her most celebrated works was a new commission for Feis Rois in 2017 titled ‘The Seer’ which followed with an album in 2018 featuring 40 minutes of music based on the life and prophecies of the Brahan Seer.
Calum is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer based in Glasgow, UK. He is perhaps best known as a founding member of the award-winning folk band Breabach. The contemporary ‘trad music’ band have been increasingly successful on the British folk and world music scenes since forming in 2003.
Hailing from the island of Lewis, Eilidh MacKenzie is a well respected Gaelic Singer and songwriter. Born into a family of singers, Eilidh was brought up on the Isle of Lewis but now lives on the Black Isle near Inverness. She has been tutoring Gaelic song for 25 years and in 2005 devised, co-wrote and produced the first ever Gaelic musical, Taigh Màiri Anndra, celebrating the life and work of American folklorist Margaret Fay Shaw.
Fiona Mackenzie, from the Isle of Lewis, began singing at an early age - at home with her family and in her local Gaelic choirs. After leaving the island to study in Glasgow, she joined the Edinburgh-based Celtic band, Seelyhoo, with whom she recorded two albums. She then went on to join, and record with, the internationally acclaimed band, Anam, whilst continuing to sing in the trio Mackenzie, with two of her sisters, Eilidh and Gillian. Mackenzie have released two albums and are still doing various recording and performance projects.
Louise was brought up in Nigg, Easter Ross and started to play violin when she was 11 years old. At school, she received tuition from Lydia Jackson and Christine Martin. As a teenager, she had fiddle tuition from the late Dr Tom Anderson of Shetland, Aonghas Grant and Alasdair Fraser. As well as being a fiddle tutor, Louise is also a composer and has composed such tunes as ‘Newly Weds Waltz’ and ‘Iain Sinclair of Skaldister’. She is presently a Strings Instructor for Highland Council and regularly teaches at Fèisean and other music courses.
Calum Alex is descended from a long line of distinguished bards and singers. His father John ‘Seonaidh Beag’ Macmillan is a renowned traditional singer and lead singer of the seminal Gaelic Folk Group ‘ The Lochies’. He received piping tuition from the world famous Pipe Major Iain Morrison who has greatly influenced his playing style.
Aonghas MacNeacail poet and songwriter, was born in Uig, on the Isle of Skye. He is also a broadcaster, journalist, scriptwriter, librettist and translator. A native Gael, he writes in Gaelic and English. His collections of poetry have been published in both languages, and his writing has appeared in literary journals all over the world.
Frank has been at the forefront of developing dance in Scotland for the last twenty years working as a choreographer, performer and teacher. Frank trained with the choreographer Royston Maldoom at The Arts in Fife in 1983 as the Scottish Arts Council's first Trainee Dance Artist-in-Residence. He is the founder of three of Scotland’s most significant dance companies, - Scottish Dance Theatre, Dannsa and his own company plan B.
Regarded as one of the UK’s most accomplished and versatile wooden flautists and as a leading DADGAD guitarist and composer. Edinburgh based Tom Oakes (Bmus) has spent the last decade ploughing many different furrows as an Irish traditional musician, composer, producer, contemporary artist, collaborator, teacher, event organiser and special needs facilitator. Playing, touring and collaborating with musicians in Australia, India, Morocco, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany and across the UK.
Brian Ó hEadhra is an established and highly acclaimed musician & singer based in Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland. He performs with the Gaelic quartet Cruinn as well as with the trio Charlie McKerron (fiddle) and Sandy Brechin (accordion) in the trio MacKerron, Brechin & Ó hEadhra. Brian also performs in the duo Brian Ó hEadhra and Fiona Mackenzie. His music is possibly best known across the folk world through the band Anam which he established in Dublin in 1994.
Since the humble beginnings of rehearsing with his first band in the family garage in the Highlands, Barry has gone on to perform with many successful bands from Scotland. Taught and inspired by his Dad Nigel, he then went on to learn Scottish folk music with Fèis Rois.
From Perthshire, Patsy Reid is a Scottish musician, composer and teacher. Since stepping back from super-folk-group, Breabach in 2011, Patsy has been in constant demand as a session player and arranger, animating others’ projects with her unique blend of fiddle and violin playing. A one-woman string quartet, Patsy has contributed violin, viola and cello to recordings by the likes of Zakir Hussain, Donald Shaw, Flook, Kathryn Tickell, and Duncan Chisholm, whilst on stage, she can be found performing with the who’s who of the Scottish folk scene, including Julie Fowlis, Donald Shaw, Ross Ainslie & Ali Hutton and Hamish Napier.
James Ross is a Scottish pianist, composer and educator. He graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama before going on to complete an MA in Traditional Music Performance at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick. Projects have included a commission from Highland music tuition project Fèis Rois, in partnership with Drake Music Scotland, involving school children with learning disabilities performing alongside professional musicians. James regularly works with Irish singer Michelle Burke and is musical director for her acclaimed show Step into my Parlour.
Wendy Stewart is a leading Scottish harper, a critically acclaimed, world class performer who connects with the listener at a deep musical level and a renowned teacher who coaxes the budding musician out of the hesitant beginner. Her musical commitment is both to make traditional harp accessible to all and to explore her own musical ideas through arrangement and composition. As a player and singer, she re-interprets traditional material in a historically informed yet refreshing way. Her compositions are melodically sinuous, rooted in the tradition but seeking out the creative.
Innes Watson, from Glasgow, is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist with over ten years of contemporary and traditional Scottish music performance, recording, teaching and producing experience. He grew up in the Scottish Borders in very supportive musical surroundings encouraging an extremely eclectic mix of skills, abilities, interests and accolades that combine to make Innes one of the most highly regarded and sought-after musicians on the scene today.
Wendy Weatherby is a cellist, singer and composer from Edinburgh, Scotland. After graduating from The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 1983, she embarked on a career involving performing and teaching, singing and playing in both traditional Scottish and Jazz bands.
I enjoyed the Adult Feis immensely, I always have done, for the past 10 years.2017 participant
The music tuition is based in Ullapool High School and Primary School.
We offer classes at the following levels:
CB = complete beginner – a chance to try something for the first time.
IB = improving beginner – you have been playing for less than 6 months / you already have some limited experience, for example some scales, a basic tune, a few chords
LI = lower intermediate – you have been playing for around 6-18 months / you have already learnt a few tunes/songs/chords and want to improve on your technique and repertoire
UI = upper Intermediate – you have been playing for longer than 18 months / you know common tunes/chords/songs and want to improve your playing
I = intermediate – any level of intermediate
A = advanced – you are fairly confident in your technique and repertoire and want to take your playing to the next level
The fee for the weekend includes all tuition, access to our programme of Fringe events and complimentary tea/coffee at break times.
Full price: £180
Cost per day if you are attending for one or two days: £65
Our concession rate applies to students, pensioners receiving state pension, those receiving benefits, jobseekers / unemployed, unwaged (e.g. carer, stay-at-home parent).
Accommodation is not provided. There is a fantastic range of accommodation available in Ullapool however, find out more on Tripadvisor.
If you have a partner, family member or friend who would like to join you in Ullapool, they are very welcome to take part in the Fringe activities even if they are not participating in the Fèis workshops and you can purchase tickets for them when you arrive in Ullapool.
What happens on each day?
We offer the opportunity to register for the weekend at Ullapool High School from 6-7pm on the Friday evening (you can also register from 9.15-10am on Saturday morning instead), and we have some informal free “Fringe” events for you to enjoy that night, including a session in The Ceilidh Place and a gig in The Argyll Hotel.
Classes take place from 10am – 4pm on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Morning classes are from 10am-12.30pm with a half hour coffee break and afternoon classes are from 2-4pm. Choose one morning class for the whole weekend and one afternoon class for the whole weekend.
On Monday, the afternoon class will finish at 3pm and we will come together in The Macphail Theatre for a Fèis Farewell from 3-4pm.
I have only registered for Saturday. If I enjoy it, can I then enrol for Sunday and Monday when I am in Ullapool?
Yes! But please speak to a member of staff on site to arrange. The Adult Fèis is a three-day course where the classes progress over the three days. We would encourage everyone to come for the full event if they can.
I am busy on the Saturday, but I would like to enrol for Sunday and Monday. Is that okay?
We are happy for people to enrol for part of the weekend but, as mentioned above, it is a progressive three-day course so, if you join a class on Sunday, you will need to catch up quickly with what was covered the previous day.
My partner / friend wants to come to the Ullapool for the weekend. They would prefer to go hill walking during the day rather than join in with the workshops. Can they still join in the events in the evening?
For this very reason, we started a “Fringe” programme a few years ago. There are two options for partners/family/friends:
- A £10 donation to Fèis Rois when you arrive in Ullapool gives you a wristband to gain entry to The Ceilidh Place (it is effectively closed to the public as a private event for the weekend) each evening, as well as to a programme of lunchtime talks and recitals. We also have free gigs in some local pubs over the course of the weekend.
- We offer a showcase concert in the Macphail Theatre in Ullapool High School on the Saturday night. This is not included in the workshop fee. You can buy tickets for this for yourself and your friends/family for £15 on the door.
Can I purchase additional tickets for the tutor showcase concert on Sunday evening?
Unfortunately, due to capacity, we can only offer those enrolled in the full weekend, or the Sunday, a ticket for the tutor showcase concert. This is included in the fee you pay when enrolling for the event. We are hugely fortunate that Ullapool has a well-equipped theatre, but we are limited to the 240 seats in that theatre! We cannot sell additional tickets for family / friends. However, we do put on a free gig in The Arch Inn on Sunday evening that you can enjoy with your family/friends later on that night.
I am entitled to the concession rate for over 65s, but it is not showing when I book online.
This may be because you were not entitled to a concession when you set up your account. Please log into your account and update your details before making your booking.