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On behalf of the Steering Group for Scotland’s Global Impact, I am writing to thank you and the young people you work with for the fantastic performances that helped make this major conference such a success. We would like to convey our sincere appreciation for your help and to say quite simply that the event was much enhanced with your input.
Jean Urquhart, Chair of Highland Homecoming 2009
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Senior Fèis Tutors for 2010

Tutors

Ali Hutton Ali Hutton
Ali Hutton is from Methven in Perthshire and has been playing the Highland bagpipes since the age of 7. He toured throughout Europe with the Vale of Atholl pipe band for a number of years, winning the national youth pipe band competition as their pipe major. Through this he received tuition from the virtuoso piping brothers Gordon and Ian Duncan. He studied Scottish Music at the RSAMD and also plays guitar, whistle, bouzouki and bodhran. Ali has played in a number of groups and is currently a key part of leading Scottish traditional band "Back of the Moon" plus playing with Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson, Brolum, The Trotters and the Jamie Smith Experiment. Ali is an outstanding piper, and great all round musician.
 
David Nisbet David Nisbet
David is convenor of Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin. He grew up learning the accordion in the Scottish Borders under the tuition of the late Bill Sharp. His early experiences of traditional music were at the local Accordion and Fiddle Clubs, concerts and ceilidhs where he developed his experience of playing for dancers. David has won many competitions and performed at events and festivals across Europe, Scandinavia and the United States. He has recorded for BBC Scotland's 'Take the Floor', Border Television's Hogmanay programmes and appeared on BBC 2's 'Leviathan'.
 
John Somerville John Somerville
Originally from the Highlands of Scotland, John is one of a new breed of exciting and dynamic accordion players to recently emerge from the vibrant Scottish music scene. He has constantly been refining his unique style of accordion playing, performing and writing for a whole host of bands and artists.He started off as a founding member of electro-folk pioneering group Croft No. Five, with whom he toured extensively throughout the UK and Europe. He can be heard with Treacherous Orchestra, Halcyon, Cask Strength Ceilidh Band, and Feis Rois (Voyage of the Hector).
 
Ross Martin Ross Martin
Ross Martin, from Arisaig, is man of great musical talents who is in constant demand as a session player. He was immersed in wild, west coast dances and sessions from an early age. His driving yet sensitive guitar playing has made him one of the highest regarded accompanists on the scene today. He learned his trade in Hebridean and west highland dance halls and has gone on to tour the world extensively with Tabache, Fred Morrison and Ceolas and has performed with Deaf Shepherd, Liz Doherty, Iain MacDonald, Bonnie Prince Billy, Julie Fowlis, Aonghas Grant snr, Roddy Woomble, Mary Smith, It's Jo and Danny, Fergie MacDonald and an Indian wedding band. He currently plays with the bands Cliar, Harum Scarum and Daimh, and has featured on numerous albums including Julie Fowlis’s solo work “Mar a tha mo chridhe”.
 
Mark Neal Mark Neal
Mark Neal grew up in East Kilbride and moved to Edinburgh to study, quickly getting involved with the music scene in Edinburgh. Also a multi instrumentalist, he focuses mainly on Guitar and Cittern but suffers from the shared complaint of playing anything that comes to hand. Mark also plays with the bands Teannaich and Heeliegoleerie and has played in a variety of different musical projects of different styles including jazz, blues, rock and gospel along the traditional folk music. These different styles can often be heard in his accompaniment as Mark has a love for blending these different types of music together. Mark has just finished an Acoustics PhD. If you're lucky he won't tell you about it.
 
Daibhidh Walker Daibhidh Walker
After training at SMO in performing arts and since his graduation - a long time ago - Daibhidh has worked in Theatre, Radio and Television in both Gaidhlig and English. He comes from the Island of South Uist but like most of the generations before him had to move to the mainland to find work. Daibhidh sees that the Feis movement has, and will be a catalyst for the future of sustaining a culture of Music, Song, Drama, Folklore and above all Gaidhlig Language for generations to come.
 
Donal Brown Donal Brown
Donal hails from Huntly and is a 2002 graduate of the BA Scottish Music Course at the RSAMD. Donal has been heavily involved in the traditional music scene in Scotland from an early age. He grew up Highland Dancing and later went on to play pipes for some of Scotland’s top Highland Dancers at international competitions and festivals. His involvement in Scottish music and dance has enabled him to perform with many of Scotland’s most entertaining professional groups including: Breabach, The Unusual Suspects, Dannsa, The Battlefield Band, James Graham and The Scottish Stepdance Company. A former step dance tutor at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Donal enjoys teaching traditional Scottish stepdancing and his talents are widely regarded.
 
Gary Innes Gary Innes
Gary Innes is from Spean Bridge and has been playing music professionally since 2003. He released his first album "How's the Craic" in 2005 and he and Ewan Robertson released the album "Shouts" in April 2009. Gary is also part of the acclaimed super group Box Club which has 4 of Scotland's finest young accordion players. The guys took out their debut album in 2008 and have been widely in demand ever since. Gary has been fortunate enough to travel the World since 2003 – America, China, Kazakhstan, Europe to name a few but some highlights would be performing for a World Peace concert in Amman, Jordan for the Royal Family and his stints with Scots Legend's Runrig. Outside of music Gary is a Scottish Internationalist at Shinty and plays for Camanachd Cup Champions Fort William. He is fortunate enough to hold every senior medal in Shinty and captained his side to a famous victory over local rivals Kilmallie in 2005. He has also been lucky enough when not playing in cup finals to help commentate for the BBC on their live matches usually featured on BBC2.
 
Ishbel MacAskill Ishbel MacAskill
Ishbel comes from the Point area of the Island of Lewis and was brought up with the rich heritage of centuries old Gaelic music and song which still survives there. Her music and culture are immensely important in her life and for several years she was very much involved in teaching traditional Gaelic singing to children at the numerous Feisean (festivals of music and song) throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Her particular style of unaccompanied, traditional singing, her numerous radio and television performances and countless world-wide live appearances have established her position as probably the best known Gaelic singer today. Regular appearances in her leading acting role in the Gaelic television drama, Machair, has also made her familiar to Scottish television viewers. Her singing takes her to venues throughout the U.K., Ireland, Europe, The Far East and North America. Her recordings are always in demand at home and abroad and significantly, sell to people who have never before heard the Gaelic language. Whether her audience is Gaelic speaking or not her English introductions to these centuries old songs of love, war, sea and landscape, exile and life itself make each one a memorable experience.
 
Gabe McVarish Gabe McVarish
Californian born Gabe McVarish was twice winner of the All American Junior Scottish fiddle championship before returning back to his ancestral homeland of Arisaig in the West Highlands. His playing in Europe, the Americas, and as far afield as North Africa has earned him the reputation of being one of the hottest tickets in the fiddling world. Having earned his BA in traditional music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Gabe has played and recorded with a rich diversity of bands including Cliar, Croabh Rua, Dibidil, Corner House, Hoogie, Its Jo & Danny, The Black Rose Ceilidh Band, and Phamie Gow. Gabe plays regularly with Dannsa, and is one of the founding members of Daimh and is much sought after for dances on the West Coast and the Islands.
 
Patsy Reid Patsy Reid
Patsy comes from Knapp in Perthshire where she grew up playing both traditional Scottish fiddle and classical violin. Competing around Scotland culminated in her double win of the Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship at just 15 and 16 years of age. Patsy remains one of the youngest ever finalists in the BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year competition, where she competed at just 17. In 2004, she gained a first class honours BA Applied Music degree from Strathclyde University, specialising in performance and album production. In June 2006, Patsy graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester with a Post Graduate Diploma in violin performance as well as a Post Graduate Certificate of Education with specialist string teaching. Patsy is an experienced fiddle teacher and is a popular tutor at both the award winning Taransay Fiddle Camp and Alasdair Fraser's Fiddle course at Sabhal Mor Ostaig. At Celtic Connections 2007, Patsy performed with Breabach, the Karen Matheson Band, Maeve Mackinnon and more recently, her 'New Voices' commission Bridging the Gap was well received @ Celtic Connections 2008.
 
Ewan Robertson Ewan Robertson
Ewan Robertson hails from Carrbridge in Strathspey. He was introduced to traditional music at an early age and began learning fiddle and chanter at the age of seven, studying both at school and privately, and through the local Fèis movement which provided him with the opportunity to perform with other young musicians and learn from those who inspired him. Ewan was accepted into the National Centre of Excellence for Traditional Music in Scotland in 2000 where he studied fiddle and pipes. A shortage of accompanists at the school, however, led Ewan to experimenting with the guitar. He then used the vibrant Glasgow session scene to develop a very driving style of guitar accompaniment. Ewan helped to form the band Breabach, who won a Danny Award at Celtic Connections in 2005, and were nominated for Scottish Folk Band of the Year at the 2007 Scots Trad Music Awards. More recently Ewan became the first singer / guitarist to win the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Award.
 
James Ross James Ross
James Ross, from Wick, Caithness, Scotland, began playing music at the age of eight, studying under respected musician and composer, the late Addie Harper. He then went on to study at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, from which he graduated with a BA in Scottish Music in July 2000. He next completed the MA in Traditional Irish Music Performance in June, 2001, studying under Professor Michael o Suilleabhain at the Irish World Music Centre, University of Limerick. James has performed extensively throughout Britain, Ireland and America and currently teaches traditional piano at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Since 2001 James has been part of the late Yehudi Menuhin’s Live Music Now! Scheme, which takes live performance to a wide range of community venues.
 
Fraya Thomsen Fraya Thomsen
Fraya is recognized as one of Scotland’s most promising young clarsach players. Introduced to Scottish Gaelic music through Fèis Rois, Fraya went on to learn clarsach with Corrina Hewat at Balnain House. Fraya later gained an honours degree in Scottish Music at the RSAMD, where she formed a duo with Scots singer/cellist Fiona Hunter, performing at Celtic Connections, and performing/teaching at the Celtic Colours festival. She is now one half of The Duplets, with harpist/singer Gillian Fleetwood. Fraya also gains much enjoyment from the teaching element of her career, as she is passionate about encouraging people and sharing music. She teaches clarsach at Gordonstoun, and has taught in schools as part of the government's Youth Music Initiative. She is also gaining recognition as a composer.
 
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