Highlanders and Islanders: Musical Tradition

The heritage, culture and musical tradition brings alive the sights and sounds of ancient and contemporary instruments and song drawing thousands of participants and visitors to traditional music festivals and international competitions. Summer 2013 provided an array of world class events held in Derry-Londonderry, Glasgow and Edinburgh with thousands of performers of all ages from home and abroad.
In Derry, from official ceremonies to the performances in streets, clubs, pubs, halls and many other venues, a highlight was the visit of Irish President, Michael D. O’Higgins on 11 August to declare open the All Ireland Fleadh. Outside the Guildhall he addressed a packed crowd with an inspiring speech that included an opportunity to show case the city and its people worldwide through the celebration of Irish culture during the special year as City of Culture 2013. The all-island event attracted around 300,000 visitors with something for everyone to enjoy. For the first time events were streamed live to television and other media channels in Ireland and beyond.
Also known as the Maiden City, a grand parade of the Derry Apprentice Boys was held on 10 August 2013 with large numbers of pipers and drummers to mark 400 Years of the City Walls (1613-2013). It opened with a re-enactment of the historical conflict to commemorate the 13 apprentice boys who closed the City Gates against an attack known as the Siege of Derry (1688-1689). With roots in Londonderry, the Association is a long established institution with Apprentice Boys Clubs all across Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Canada and the Republic of Ireland.
In Glasgow thousands braved the inclement weather to enjoy the sights and sounds of kilts, pipes and drums at the World Pipe Band Championships on Glasgow Green (17-18 August). A cornerstone of the city’s cultural calendar, a total of 225 bands with 8,000 pipers and drummers travelled from around the world to battle it out for the coveted prizes. Known as The Worlds, people in 150 countries were able to watch the events unfold thanks to internet coverage. In 2013 the competition was extended over two days. With music and pipers of all ages, it ended with a dramatic march past before the world champions were presented with the top award. The Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band from Northern Ireland was crowned world champion for the third time in a row to scenes of ecstatic and spontaneous dancing and the swinging of kilts galore.
The Edinburgh International Festival, ‘A Festival for Everyone’ takes place in August each year. Its multi-facet official and fringe programme is a dazzling spectre of literature, theatre, concerts, films, exhibitions, comedy and street entertainment giving a unique buzz to Scotland’s capital city. In 2013 the Festival theme was to embark on a journey inspired by the way technology seizes and shifts our perceptions of a world that was a feature throughout. The Edinburgh Tattoo and show at the Castle attracts thousands of visitors as a prime Festival venue.
Musical Tradition
A presentation and performance of Ancient Music Ireland takes the audience on a journey from the first habitation in Ireland circa 8,000 BC demonstrating the origins of the whistle and flute through stone and bone and the origin of stringed instruments through to the bow harp. Origins of bronze horns were discussed and demonstrated through the use of animal horns. In a unique presentation sounds thought to have been lost were demonstrated and played in the ongoing human expression of music, the universal language, that all can appreciate.
It was a special event for All Ireland Fleadh 2013 as a show case of instruments from Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Clare, Kerry and Galway, all presented in a unique way.
Ita Marguet, August 2013
Note : Acknowledgement is given to sources used in this text. It is related to ‘Legenderry’ 2013 : Seamus Heaney (1939-2013), and follows visits to Derry, Glasgow and Edinburgh, August 2013.International Newspapers