Scottish musical premier heralds new cultural drive in Aberdeenshire

Cultural bodies from across the North East have joined together to kick off Cultural Connections, a new drive in Aberdeenshire to support traditional music, local language and the culture of the North East.

The Provost of Aberdeenshire, Hamish Vernal, hosted cultural partners, including representatives from the University of Aberdeen and national development organisations as well as artists and musicians, today (Friday, February 24) at Duff House in Banff.

Provost Vernal announced a joint commitment to work towards an Aberdeenshire-wide festival of Doric and traditional music in 2018 as well as a programme of cultural activities in 2017, which is the Year of History, Heritage and Architecture.

The launch of a new grants scheme which offers funding to support sports and cultural projects in Aberdeenshire also took place as part of the event.

Highlights of the event were performances by world-renowned father-son duo John and Patrick Kenny of a replica of the Deskford Carnyx and the premier performance in Scotland of a replica of one of the Tintignac Carnyces, the making of which was supported by William Grant & Sons.

The two carnyces, found in Deskford near Banff and at Tintignac in the Corrèze region of France, are distinctive animal-headed horns dating from 80-200AD which would have been played during war and ceremonies to inspire or terrify listeners.

The audience were also treated to a performance by Banff Academy’s Trad Band as well as a performance of a fiddle medley by North East fiddler Paul Anderson.

Provost of Aberdeenshire, Hamish Vernal, said: “This event has been the perfect springboard for us to celebrate Aberdeenshire’s rich cultural heritage and emphasis our commitment to working with partners to support our local language and culture.

“By announcing a joint statement of ambition with the University of Aberdeen, we are recognising that traditional song and music of the area, along with Doric, form a special part of who we are and are a unique asset for promoting a sense of community and attracting visitors to the area.”

Principal of the University of Aberdeen, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, said: “This is a great example of organisations bringing similar thoughts together at the same time.

“As the council has been thinking about building the presence of Doric in the Aberdeenshire community, at the University of Aberdeen we have been talking with colleagues about how we can further enhance the work we do to celebrate and promote the culture of our region.

“Pride in our sense of place is incredibly important and we’re delighted to be able to work with the council, in partnership, to develop initiatives around the language, dialect, culture and everything that is so wonderful about this part of the world.”

Chair of Aberdeenshire’s Education & Children’s Services Committee, Cllr Alison Evison, said: “The council sees the promotion of North East culture as a very important part of what we do.

“By hosting this partnership we envisage bringing people and groups together, developing community networks, creating shared objectives and strengthening the cultural environment in Aberdeenshire.

“This will help to highlight the unique characteristics of our towns and villages and support work to develop local tourism.”