This month’s talk is an unusual opportunity to find out about how fiddles are made, and to hear locally-made instruments being played.

David Vernon is an experienced maker of violins as well as violas, cellos and classical guitars. He started working in Manchester but moved to Angus 18 years ago, leaving his violin business to spend more time making instruments.

David will talk about the art of the violin maker, and will bring several partly-built instruments to show how they are constructed. Some of his fiddles will also be demonstrated by Gordon Penman.

The Wighton Centre in Dundee Central Library holds the collection of old Scottish music books bequeathed to the City by Dundee merchant Andrew Wighton in the 19th century. The collection includes much fine old fiddle music from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Admission to the talk will be £5, or £3 for members of “Friends of Wighton”. It is on Saturday 17th March 2007 at 2pm in the Wighton Centre, Dundee Central Library

On Wednesday lunchtime 7th March the Friends of Wighton lunchtime concet was given by smallpipe maker and player Ian Kinnear, accompanied by guitarist Nigel Jelks. They played a lively selection of traditional Scottish dance music and slow airs, delighting the audience.

Forthcoming events in the Wighton Centre include Violin maker David Vernon on Saturday 17th march at 2pm, talkinag about his fiddles (and showing some part-made examples). The fiddles will be demonstrated by Gordon Penman.

Wighton Harpist Simon Chadwick is presenting a whoile day of early clàrsach events on on Saturday 24th March, including recitals at 11am and 3.30pm, and talks at 12 and 2.45pm, and a hands on session at 1.30.

The April lunchtime concert is in the Steps Theater in Dundee Central Library, by trumpeter Euan Crabb on Wednesday 11th April at 1.15pm


Early clàrsach specialist Simon Chadwick from St Andrews will be showing off a new instrument in Dundee on Wednesday 21st February – a brand new replica of the famous medieval Lamont harp, with strings of brass and silver wire.

The new harp is the latest in a series of replica Gaelic harps that are being made by master luthier David Kortier, of Minnesota, for the Historical Harp Society of Ireland. David visited museums in Scotland and Ireland in 1999 and 2000, to measure and photograph the ancient Gaelic harps. Since 2005 the HHSI, of which Simon is Honorary Secretary, has been commissioning replicas of these fascinating ancient relics. The harps are used by students at the annual summer school, Scoil na gCláirseach, and are also important research tools to help understand how the old instruments were strung and played.

The instruments have been carefully designed by David Kortier, so that although they are simplified in construction and assembled with machine tools for economy and speed, they preserve all of the unusual proportions, measurements and ergonomics of the original. “None of the old harps is in good enough condition to play” says Simon; “they are too old and fragile. Accurate replicas are the only way to hear the original sound of these instruments. Though we would love to give each student a hand-crafted, carved and sculpted facsimile replica, these simplified but accurate Student replicas are the next best thing”.

The original Lamont harp was made in Argyll in the 1400s; it was taken to Atholl in Perthshire by Lilias Lamont in 1460 and was preserved there until it was moved to the National Museum in Edinburgh in the late 1800s. The new replica is a rare chance to see and hear how it must have been when it was new.

Students at the Summer School in Ireland have been delighted and impressed with the Student replicas of the Trinity College harp – Ireland’s national emblem, and famous from its appearance on Guinness labels – that David Kortier made for the HHSI. Perhaps the new Lamont replica will create as much interest and excitement in Scotland!

Simon’s recital – demonstration, which runs from 1.15 to 1.45 pm in the Wighton Heritage Centre, upstairs in Dundee Central Library, will showcase historical music from Ireland and Scotland, played on replica harps: as well as the new Lamont harp, Simon will be playing his replica of the Queen Mary clàrsach which has gold strings.

The new replica Lamont harp is available for rental now to anyone who would like to learn the medieval harp playing techniques, and orders can be placed with the Historical Harp Society for instruments from the next batch.

For more information about Simon’s workshops in Dundee visit
http://www.simonchadwick.net/wighton

For more information about the HHSI Student Harps (including the Student Lamont harp) please visit
http://www.irishharp.org/shop

Wednesday 21st February 2007, 1.15 to 1.45 pm
Wighton harpist series
Early clàrsach demonstration-recital
Simon Chadwick
Wighton Centre, Central Library, Wellgate, Dundee, DD1 1DB
Admission free
tel 01334 474263

The sound of fighting will echo through Dundee Central Library on Saturday 17th February, as Tom Spiers tells the story of Scottish Soldiers over 600 years through Traditional Songs and Ballads.

Starting at 2pm, the Saturday Talk, hosted by the Friends of Wighton, will be an exciting and colourful look at how military adventures are celebrated and commemorated in music and verse.

The Wighton Centre holds an amazing collection of old Scottish music books, many dating from the 18th century. The Friends of Wighton were formed last year to help bring its treasures to the people of Angus, Fife and Dundee through a range of musical events.

Forthcoming events:

Saturday 17th February, 2pm
Tom Spiers, The Fighting Scot
Wighton Centre, Central Library, Wellgate, Dundee, DD1 1DB
Admission £5 / £3 members

Wednesday 21st February 2007, 1.15 to 1.45 pm
Wighton harpist series
Simon Chadwick, Early clàrsach demonstration-recital
Wighton Centre, Central Library, Wellgate, Dundee, DD1 1DB
Admission Free!

Wednesday 7th March, 1.15pm -1.45pm
Lunchtime Recital
Ian Kinnear, Scottish Smallpipes
Wighton Centre, Central Library, Wellgate, Dundee, DD1 1DB
Admission Free!

For more info telephone the Friends of Wighton secretary on 01334 474263

On Wednesday 7th February, 1.15-1.45pm, the Wighton Centre in Dundee Central Library is hosting a free lunchtime concert with the traditional singer Barbara Dymock.

Barbara, who is a doctor, learned traditional Scots songs at her grandparents knees, and has been performing since the 1970s. She sings in duos with the likes of Christine Kydd, or Maureen Jelks and in the a capella group Palaver, but Wednesday’s recital will see her performing solo, innovative airings of traditional songs. Merging dynamism, power and grace, delivered with fun, passion, pedigree, Barbara is a fresh veteran of the Scottish music world!

Forthcoming events at the Wighton Centre, Central Library, Wellgate, Dundee DD1 1DB:

Wednesday 7th February, 1.15-1.45pm
Friends of Wighton Lunchtime Concert
Barbara Dymock – Traditional Scots Song

Saturday 17th February, 2pm
Friends of Wighton Saturday talk
TBC

Wednesday 21st February, 1.15-1.45
Wighton Harpist Lunchtime Series
Demonstration-recital with early clàrsach, by Simon Chadwick

Gaelic Singer Anne Lorne Gillies’s presentation on Saturday afternoon in the Steps Theater, Dundee, was a great success. Ann spoke and sang for an hour and a half, delighting the audience with her huge repertory of songs and her personal reminiscences of the great singers she learned them from. She spoke at length about the different types of Gaelic song, and the different places and times when they were sung, illustrating every other sentence with a verse or a few lines of powerful, beautiful singing. She also showed some very interesting photographs from her personal collection and from the Shaw Smith collection on Canna.

After the presentation was over there was an enthusiastic queue to buy copies of her book “Songs of Gaelic Scotland”, which Ann was happy to sign and discuss with each person.

The Friends of Wighton would like to thank Ann for a wonderful presentation, and also many thanks to Kevin Bree and David Kett for their work setting up in the theater.

There will be another Saturday Talk next month, 2pm on 17th February. And the Wighton Lunchtime Concert on Wednesday 7th February at 1.15pm will be given by the singer Barbara Dymock.


The famous singer Anne Lorne Gillies is coming to Dundee next Saturday to talk about Gaelic songs, sign copies of her book and maybe even sing a wee song or two!

The event, part of the Friends of Wighton Saturday Talks Series, will be held in Dundee Central Library at 2pm. Tickets will be available on the door for £5 (or £3 for Friends of Wighton members)

Anne is a Scottish singer, songwriter, broadcaster, author and academic. In a musical career spanning more than thirty years she has sung throughout the world and made many albums, radio and television series.

Her book “Songs of Gaelic Scotland” gives words, translations, musical transcriptions of over 150 songs, all placed within their musical, literary, social and historical contexts. Though meticulously researched, the book is written in an unpretentious, accessible and entertaining style which reflects not only Anne’s life-time as a professional singer and communicator, but also the informal, supportive atmosphere of the many master-classes and workshops in which she has passed on Gaelic songs to the next generation of singers during her long and distinguished career.


The next event in the monthly “Wighton harpist” series will be a lunchtime recital on Wednesday 17th January 2007, 1.15-1.45pm in the Wighton Heritage Centre, Dundee Central Library, Wellgate, Dundee, DD1 1DB. Admittance is Free.

Simon Chadwick will be playing ancient Scottish Gaelic harp music, on his replica of the medieval “Queen Mary” harp with gold and silver wire strings.

The music at this recital will mostly be taken from old Scottish music books in the Wighton Collection, including James Oswald’s “Caledonian Pocket Companion” published in the 1740s, and Daniel Dow’s “Collection of Ancient Scots Music” published in 1776.

Other forthcoming events in the Wighton Centre, promoted by the Friends of Wighton, include the famous Gaelic singer Anne Lorne Gillies on Saturday, January 20 at 14:00, and a lunchtime recital on Wednesday 7th February at 1.15.


Today’s lunchtime recital at the Wighton Centre in Dundee Central Library was an excellent performance on recorders and harpsichord. Angus musicians Isobel Luke and Ethel Allan performed a delicious half-hour set of Scottish tunes taken from rare 18th century music books in the collection.

Highlights included a couple of James Oswald’s “Airs for the Seasons” played on the recorder, and a solo harpsichord sonata by J.C. Luther.

The sound of the Wighton Harpsichord, a beautifully decorated double-manual French style instrument built in 1983, filled the Centre and blended delightfully with Ethel’s expressive recorder-playing.

For more info please visit www.friendsofwighton.com or phone 01334 474263.

The photo shows Isobel Luke playing the harpsichord.

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