Media Release: Traditional arts commissions in the Highlands

ACCORDIONIST and composer, John Somerville, and Traditional fiddle player, Alpha Munro, have been commissioned to create new work, thanks to Creative Scotland’s Traditional Arts Commissioning Programme.

Accordionist and composer John Somerville will compose new music inspired by themes of emigration and homecoming. ‘An Turas / The Journey’ will be premiered in Ullapool and performed nationally and internationally in Canada and Australia by Fèis Rois students.

The project  which received £30,000 funding from Creative Scotland will culminate in a book and CD featuring stories by local people offering insights into their Scottish heritage.

Traditional fiddle player Alpha Munro will work with Scottish performers to stage three performances in the Scots and Irish traditional music styles spanning the 17th century to contemporary times. The performances will take place across Ross-shire and Inverness-shire. The project received a £7,000 funding from Creative Scotland.

The project will bring together in first time creative collaboration, a group of musicians who will perform, amongst others, the works of Harpist Ruaridh Dall Morrison, Turlough O’Carolan (17th century), Highland Bagpipe player Ian Dall Mackay (17th century), Fiddle player/composer John Riddell (18th century), small pipe player Mark Thow (21st century), clarsach player Fiona Kyle (21st century) on clarsach, pipes, fiddle, guitar and Gaelic song.

Aplha Munro, said: “This project will allow us to celebrate the work of visually impaired musicians in the past who achieved fame and recognition and are inspirational to the  traditional musicians of today.

“The concerts in the late Spring both in Ross-shire and Inverness-shire will  not only give the public a chance to hear this magnificent legacy played by key Traditional musicians of today – Duncan MacGillivray, pipes, Bill Taylor, clarsach, Fiona Mackenzie, Dingwall, Gaelic Song but will give young visually impaired composers/ musicians the chance to work and collaborate in performance with them.

“We are delighted to take this forward thanks to Creative Scotland.”

Seven commissions have been supported with a total of £148,470 through Creative Scotland’s Traditional Arts Commissioning Programme, which aims to ensure Scotland’s traditional arts are recognised and celebrated nationally and internationally.

The purpose of the fund is to support new commissions of Traditional Arts activity – of various scales and art forms – that can be performed or exhibited regionally, nationally and internationally – reflecting local diversity, and Scots and or Gaelic where appropriate.

Leonie Bell, acting director of Creative Development at Creative Scotland, said:

“Traditional arts play a unique role in Scotland’s cultural identity, communities are bound by the stories and music around them, our history is kept alive, our future shaped. These diverse commissions draw on different strands of this country’s vibrant musical and literary traditions, creating work that has its own place and meaning in the 21st century.”



  1. Creative Scotland is the national organisation that funds and supports the development of Scotland’s arts, screen and creative industries. Creative Scotland has four objectives: to develop and sustain a thriving environment for the arts, screen and creative industries; to support excellence in artistic and creative practice; to improve access to and participation in, arts and creative activity; and to deliver our services efficiently and effectively. In 2013/14, we will distribute over £100m in funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information on Creative Scotland please visit Follow us @creativescots and
  2. Creative Scotland works with an external advisory group made up of organisations rooted in Scotland’s traditional arts. This group, including the Scottish Storytelling Forum, the Traditional Music Forum, and Voluntary Arts Scotland, meet regularly to discuss the key issues facing the sector, and in previous years their work has led to the development of specific funding initiatives for the traditional arts such as the Small Traditional Arts Fund, the Traditional Arts Mentoring Fund, and Traditional Arts Commissioning Fund. In 2013/14, Creative Scotland increased the financial support available to the traditional arts from £250k to £500k. This money is intended to support specific activities that will strengthen and develop the traditional arts sector in Scotland.
  3. In 2013/14, the total budget available for Traditional Arts Commissions is £320,000. Awards will normally be in the region of £5,000 – £30,000.  The next deadline for application is 7 January 2014.

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Contact: Sophie Bambrough
Phone: 07747606146