Ceòlraidh & Blas 2008
Fèis Rois launched its first Ceòlraidh event in 2005, in response to a sponsorship opportunity offered by the Faculty of Advocates. The success of this event led to another spectacular performance in 2006, which featured Donald Shaw of Capercaillie leading all of the Ceòlraidh participants in a grand finale.
On embarking on the Ceòlraidh project, there are no preconceived ideas about which professional musicians will be involved – ultimately, it is the participants who suggest who they will perform with. This is what keeps Ceòlraidh fresh and exciting. The 2008 Ceòlraidh offered a fascinating insight into the relationship between teacher and student, whilst engaging audiences with a programme of memorable performances.
As a participant in the 2008 Ceòlraidh I chose World Champion Piper, Robert Watt as my professional musician to work with. I know this section of the website is supposed to be about Fiddle but I have included this here as Ceòlraidh was organised Fèis Rois.
Robert is from Maghera in Northern Ireland. He began to play his first instrument, the Great Highland Bagpipe at the age of seven in his local pipe band, Tamlaght O'Crilly.
He was involved in competing and public performance from the beginning as the band progressed through the competition grades winning most of the prizes available on the way including several Ulster and All-Ireland titles and the World Championships. In 1998 he joined the world famous Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band and spent three years there performing and competing at the highest level at the top of grade one.
It was around this time that Robert took a keen interest in solo performing and competition and he is now regarded as one of the world's leading solo pipers. His solo achievements include the Macallan (renamed MacCrimmon) Trophy Solo Piping Championships at the Lorient Festival in Brittany which he was awarded again for the fourth time in 2006. This is a major event in the piping calendar and this coveted trophy is competed for each year by some of the world's top solo piper from several countries including Scotland, Australia and New Zealand, The USA and Canada, Brittany and Ireland. It is quite a unique event in that it requires each competitor to play a selection of Irish, Scottish and Breton music to a panel of judges from each of these countries with the overall winner being the piper who is awarded the most points in all three events.
|ROBERT WATT AND ALASDAIR TURNER DUETING AT CEOLRAIDH|
He is also four times winner of the 'Highlands and Islands Young Piper of the Year' held annually in Benbecula on the western Isles and at a local level he has been awarded most of the prizes in the competitions in Ireland including several Ulster and All Ireland titles
Ceòlraidh 2008 was made possible through an exciting partnership between Fèis Rois and Blas, and with generous funding from theFaculty of Advocates and Fèisean nan Gaidheal. In 2008 Ceòlraidh was staged at the Spa Pavilion, Strathpeffer.