Congratulations to Ceilidhmakers who have been nominated in Community Project of the Year sponsored by Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust in the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2018. Vote now!
We asked Christine Kydd of Ceilidhmakers the following questions.
Tell us about yourself
One school child wrote on a card to us "Ceilidh Makers, you are my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”
Ceilidhmakers is a collective of songmakers and creative people co-ordinated by freelancer Christine Kydd, often including pioneer Songmaker in Schools mentor and NaTrads Hamish Henderson Award for Services to Traditional Music award recipient, Ewan McVicar in the delivery.
Ceilidhmakers has a track record of creating and developing exciting and curriculum -enhancing projects in schools and communities, including ICT based quizzes and CPD for teachers and classroom staff. Some of these are Creative Scotland YMI funded, particularly in Angus and Aberdeenshire.
Recent projects from other non-traditional music funding include "Telling our Stories" for Tay Landscape Partnership – celebrating people and place in new songs we facilitate – including school project work, story, landscape, built environment as well as calendar events, local history and contemporary culture. We also commissioned some art quilts from Perth based Piece Partners to illustrate the website and hard copy publication.
Christine is an experienced administrator and animateur, in former roles as Music Development Officer, Cultural Co-ordinator and ongoing roles as Traditional Arts Consultant and contractor to Local Authorities.
Based in Scotland, Ceilidhmakers has been invited to speak in Europe as an example of best practice in the classroom and Christine was the UK representative in a European publication offering pedagogical notes on how best to teach particular songs in other languages, for teachers in Europe.
We mainly work with songmaking, but we also incorporate skills like dance and we have worked to support emerging practitioners where possible, such as Amy Lord and Ciaran Ryan. With larger projects we would love to involve more dance; traditional crafts, and we also introduce a range of instruments to the children to let them see and hear and play clarsachs, banjos, whistles and many other instruments.
Our model of delivery is clear and professional but it also has flexibility and allows us to respond to individual schools and communities and work with them appropriately, to celebrate who they are.
Why are you involved in Scottish music?
Ceilidhmakers' core duo, Christine and Ewan, were both captured by Scotland's music and tradition in their teens, and became lifelong activists, singing and sharing songs, encouraging and supporting others to sing and play and create within the tradition. Ceilidhmakers is an expression of and commitment to actively and vigorously promoting and celebrating, developing and documenting our heritage.
Any particular career highlights?
Mats Melin and Christine came up with the name and the concept in the early 2000s and the combination of song, songmaking, social dance and step dance, took off immediately.
With Mats. blessing, as he went to teach at Limerick World Centre of Music and Dance, Ewan McVicar then joined Christine to re-shape the project and focus mostly on music and songmaking. A nine-school project led to a contract with Aberdeenshire Council YMI, a larger scale contract with Tay Landscape Partnership, and further contracts with Angus Council. The biggest highlights come from the childrens’ comments: "that was a brilliant moment when I played the clarsach." (P1) Ceilidhmakers you are my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow." Highlights including getting thanks from children and teachers and hearing that they have taken the songs they made and are using them in celebration.
What are your plans for the future?
Ceilidhmakers are delivering projects in Aberdeenshire schools (YMI) and Angus now, including a project focussed at Kirrie Connections, called Behind our Doors. It aims to involve the whole community in all aspects of the stories behind the people and the built environment through song and rhyme. We're pleased to be delivering projects where our knowledge of traditional music and songwriting skills are a good fit and where organisers and funders would not necessarily have looked to tradition to deliver the desired outcomes. We are also working alongside the Cultural Co-op on a large project. We are currently working with a number of host organisations and funders, and aim to continue to work using exciting and diverse approaches in a number of disciplines, and to train as well as deliver.
If you wish to attend the final ceremony, tickets are available to buy via: https://www.horsecross.co.uk/whats-on/the-mg-alba-scots-trad-music-awards-35002 For box office call 01738 621031 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Bands performing on Saturday 1st December include includes Croft No Five, Mànran, Karine Polwart Trio, Hannah Rarity, Eabhal, Catriona Watt, Gordon Duncan Experience and Gerda Stevenson. and more to be announced. There will also be a late night ceilidh after the Awards till 1am.
If you would like to support Hands Up for Trad in their work with Scottish trad music and musicians please consider supporting our Patreon campaign. We have 3 tiers starting at $1 a month and everything helps support us in our work. Read more at www.patreon.com/handsupfortrad