Move in North-east to safeguard the clarsach

Clarsach student Shona Coull, 8, branch musical director Irene Watt and clarsach student Iona McFadden, 10, at Dunnottar Castle.
Clarsach student Shona Coull, 8, branch musical director Irene Watt and clarsach student Iona McFadden, 10, at Dunnottar Castle.
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EFFORTS are under way in Aberdeenshire to keep alive Scotland’s oldest instrument.

A special event was held at Dunnottar Castle, near Stonehaven, to launch the North-east branch of The Clarsach Soicety.

The aim of organisers is to promote the clarsach – an ancient harp – across an area ranging from Dundee to Banff and all points in between, including Aberdeen.

Branch convener Iain McFadden, said: “We want to not only support the many clarsach players in the North-east, but also introduce this beautiful instrument to a new generation of both players and fans.

“The clarsach was heard in the halls of kings and the homes of ordinary people across our nation for centuries.

“We want to help ensure it is still heard for centuries to come.”

Apart from the sense of history the clarsach offers, it is regarded as a great instrument for the young to learn, introducing them to a world of beautiful music that can take in solo work, accompaniment and ensemble playing.

Mr McFadden added: “One of the main aims of The Clarsach Society is to make harps and tuition available for those wanting to learn.

“We are particularly keen to do this in the North-east, where previously players and students have had to travel quite far for the support we can now offer.”

As part of launching their drive in the area, branch members will be holding a fund-raising ceilidh in Stonehaven Town Hall on Saturday, November 10.

It will include a short clarsach concert, which will be followed by a ceilidh featuring the music of Danse McCabre.

Iain said: “We hope people will come along to have a great night out, as well as find out more about the clarsach.”