Collaboration | Community | Connection 
April Newsletter 2019
Seasonal Overview
May Day, known as Beltane in Gaelic, marks the beginning of summer in the Scottish Calendar. Yet some still argue that the Scots are a pessimistic nation…

Whatever the weather, traditionally life moved outdoors on 1 May after the long dark days of winter.

TRACS is marking the celebration this year in traditional and new ways. Just as Beltane Eve fires were once lit on hilltops across Scotland, so the Beltane Fire Society will perform a seasonal ceremony on Calton Hill on Tuesday 30 April and hold a Family Beltane gathering at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on Saturday 27 April , to ensure all ages enjoy ancient traditions in our modern world.

On Wednesday 1 May , many will watch the sun rise from Arthur’s Seat, and that evening Stones of the Ancestors will evoke Scotland’s oldest landscape myths.

On Saturday 4 May the Edinburgh and Lothians May Day procession will muster in Johnstone Terrace at 11.30am . This event links with International Labour Day, but the May Mummers (join in costume on the day) and processional musicians – led by Stan Reeves The Aye Notes – add a splash of traditional cultural colour to the event, with weekly Wednesday jam sessions , free and open to all.

On the May Day parade afternoon there is political song and declarations with Pith and Power , featuring Jenny Lindsay and Dick Gaughan . On Sunday 5 May there is a Come All Ye song and story ceilidh in tribute to Hamish Henderson in his centenary year, with a galaxy of Scottish folk talent, with more on Hamish celebrations below.

Throughout this period, Scotland’s capital is thrumming with traditional music and song through Tradfest . In addition to the music programme, partner venues including the Scottish Storytelling Centre and Edinburgh Filmhouse mount their own concurrent and complementary programming, ranging from film with live music intros to family events.

All this creative activity puts the Traditional Arts in fresh and sometimes unexpected contexts. Seasonal turning points continue to offer all Scotland’s communities ways to explore our relationship with the natural world, and to address environmental change.

Connect with our new TRACS Facebook and Twitter account to stay up to date with the latest trad arts news across Scotland.
Traditional Dance Residency Call Out
The Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland and Dance Base have partnered to offer an opportunity to undertake creative exploration rooted in, or influenced by, traditional Scottish dance and culture.

Tradition is an ever-changing and evolving thing and this resident opportunity aims to help make this evolution happen.

Running from Monday 9 September – Friday 6 December , 9am - 5pm daily, with a fee of £600.

Deadline is 23 April.
In Conversation for Year of Conversation
Conversation allows us to open our minds and to share and explore topics across the world. It is at the heart of personal and social relationships – how humans communicate and connect. Continuing to develop it is important, especially with modern platforms and channels of communication.

To mark the Year of Conversation , the Scottish Storytelling Centre is hosting a series of events, beginning with ‘In Conversation’, in which a series of authors discuss their presiding passions.

TRACS and the Scottish Storytelling Centre are delighted to participate in A Year of Conversation 2019, a collaborative project designed to celebrate, initiate and explore conversation through the creativity of those who live in Scotland.

At a time when mutual understanding appears threatened and communities are becoming closed off, we want to demonstrate the power of conversation to reaffirm Scotland as a place where people are engaged with each other and with the world. 
Creative Director of the Year of Conversation, and author of In Another World , talks with us about communities dying and renewed villages. 

Author of The Chinese in Britain discusses startling stories of early Chinese migrants to Britain, not least in Scotland, challenging discrimination in a current climate of negativity towards migrants, with accounts of the innumerable beneficial impacts Chinese visitors and settlers have had on British cultural life over three centuries.
Richard’s newest book Waiting for the Last Bus , explores death and the important lessons we can learn from facing and welcoming death to give us the chance to think about not only the meaning of our own life, but of life itself.

In her new book, Johanna explores Why Gardens Matter, which brings together a lifetime of study and personal experience to highlight garden benefits for our modern society. Reaching back through the centuries, she explores how richly layered our contemporary response to both making and enjoying gardens has become and provides unique insight into how the outdoors can help us find calm in this increasingly busy world.
Storytelling Festival Director goes Coast to Coast 
Canada-Scotland: Coast to Coast is the International Exchange for this year's Scottish International Storytelling Festival ( 18-31 October ).

The first leg of this has just ended with a tour in Canada by Scottish storytellers Jess Smith and Seoras Macpherson , which began at the Toronto International Storytelling Festival where SISF Director, Donald Smith was also on hand to meet storytellers and Festival Directors, and of course to share a few tales...

What Toronto and Edinburgh show is that there is a worldwide renaissance in oral storytelling sources and creative methodologies. But how are these to be developed and applied in contemporary contexts? And what skills may be required? ’ (Donald Smith)
SISF Community Programme – Get Involved 
This year, in celebration of Scotland’s ‘Year of Conversation 2019’, the SISF Community Programme invites you to go Beyond Words.

Oral storytelling can be key in preserving traditions, celebrating old links and new connections and showcasing how music, dance and story help us converse and connect, celebrating stories beyond the written word.

Schools and community groups are encouraged to take part in a storytelling celebration from Monday 2 September – Monday 2 December , with a designated nation-wide Story Exchange on Wednesday 27 November .

Connect with the Scottish Storytelling Forum for resources and subsidised storytelling visits for your event and help spread the word in your community! 
The Art of Treepling: Finale Mini Festival
If you’ve been following the First Footing journey, you’ve seen how the residency has reached across Scotland to bring new energy and support to the Scottish step dance tradition.

The Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland and The University of Edinburgh are delighted to announce the grand culmination of the First Footing Residency – The Art of Treepling – a mini festival of percussive dance including public workshops, masterclasses, work-in-progress showings, dance-for-camera screenings, panels and performances with international dance artists Sandy Silva (Canada), Colin Dunne (Ireland) and artist-in-residence Nic Gareiss (USA).

The Art of Treepling will take place from Friday 7 – Sunday 9 June at venues across Edinburgh.

Full Programme release & Tickets on sale: Friday 19 April
 ‘ Why do so many cultures create audible rhythm with our feet?

'This question-turned-obsession has intrigued me since adolescence. On every inhabited continent, humans have evolved a manner of creating audible dance. What is it in us that drives this remarkable concurrent existence of all these percussive dance forms?

(Nic Gareiss)
A Twist in the Tale!
The Scottish Storytelling Centre and Scottish Storytelling Forum are delighted to be hosting a second instalment of new regular event – Storytelling True Facts – showcasing a new storytelling event with a twist for the culture vulture residents and visitors to Scotland’s capital. Audience participation is welcomed as each session explores a theme to share stories amidst true facts about the people and subject.

The storytellers taking part have just been confirmed and we’ll share the information soon, so make sure you get Thursday 7 May in the diaries and bring along your facts about Inventions!  From paper inventor Cai Lun to world wide web originator Tim Berners-Lee, enjoy tales of discoveries and facts that make you go wow!
Basque Showcase
The Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland are delighted to co-host, with Cinemaattic , the Scottish premiere screening of Dantza , which will be preceded with live traditional Basque dance and music in celebration, as well as Pintxos (Tapas) in Lauriston Hall on Friday 26 April .

Dantza is a musical feature, exploring Basque dances and their ancestral symbolism through a contemporary lens. The project yokes the talents of director Telmo Esnal , artist and sculptor Koldobika Jauregui and scholar and folklorist Juan Antonio Urbeltz .
Angus & Islay Young People Inspired By Traditional Music
The Wayfarers project engaged young people aged 11-26 in two distinct communities – Kirriemuir, Angus and Port Charlotte, Islay – developing traditional music skills through a staged process of exploration, learning, creative work and performance.

Local young people took part in workshops with early career professional musicians, exploring the traditional music heritage of each area. In Islay, the focus was on traditional and contemporary pipe music and Gaelic song, and in Angus, on local fiddle and song traditions, which were researched in advance by the Tutors.

The Participants created new arrangements and shared their explorations through performance at the Islay Sessions and Kirriemuir Music Festival . Hamish MacLeod documented the project and edited it down into this short film.
Basque Showcase
Celebrations for Hamish Henderson’s centenary are well underway, and TRACS is playing a full part.

Things kicked off with a tribute concert at Celtic Connections devised by Lori Watson (Traditional Music Forum Chair) and continue during Tradfest in Edinburgh with A Ceilidh Come All Ye on Sunday 5 May co-hosted by TRACS, Edinburgh Folk Club , and the Edinburgh and Lothians May Day Committee .

The line-up includes Margaret Bennet , Lori Watson , Alison MacMorland with Geordie Macintyre , and Nancy Nicolson .

A full-throated evening of song is expected with music and stories woven throughout. Get your tickets here.

TRACS Summer School this year (1st-3rd August) will be devoted to the legacy and influence of Hamish Henderson. Alexander Moffat ’s exhibition will be on display throughout August at the Storytelling Centre , alongside performances of On the Radical Road , a theatre piece by Raymond Ross based on Henderson’s songs and poetry.

In November, Hamish Matters will be in full flight in Blairgowrie, while the Carrying Stream Festival will feature in Edinburgh. There are also plans to unveil a Hamish Henderson plaque at the School of Scottish Studies Archives on the centenary day – 11th November 2019.
And there's more...
There are still nine fantastic opportunities to develop and embrace traditional arts this spring with TRACS Training & Development , alongside five sessions to delve into Mythology .

From Starting with Stories 1 on Saturday 20 April , to a Midsummer Walk of Arthur’s Seat on Friday 21 June , rejuvenate with traditional arts.

There is plenty more content about projects and community initiatives using traditional arts to inspire in Blethers Spring , from TRACS looking forward, to the Storytelling Forum ’s Marion Kenny representing Scotland with a Storytelling Journey through India, there’s great advice and stories to enjoy.

Traditional Arts & Culture Scotland (SC043009) brings together the Traditional Art Forums of Scotland to provide a common platform and collective voice for Scotland’s rich cultural heritage, and to improve the knowledge, practice, development and advocacy of traditional arts in a contemporary world, making them more accessible to all.