Sixty four years ago a young Dufftown fiddler, Alex Grant was one of the star turns at a variety concert in the Mortlach Hall along with the Hillside Skiffle Group, Auchindoun WRI and a host of other talented local folk.
A recording of Alex, who died in 2000, will feature once again in a new community concert being planned as the finale of the Dufftown Stories project. The concert will take place on April 21st 2023 at the Mortlach Memorial Hall in Dufftown.
Through the magic of technology, Alex, who was recorded by Edinburgh University for the School of Scottish Studies Archive, will be heard once again, this time accompanied live on piano by Hamish Napier, the Grantown musician. Mr Napier commented, ‘Alex was a great fiddler in his day, remembered I’m sure by many and we thought that it would be a great idea to include him in this modern-day version of the kind of event that was once popular in the town.’
The item will be one feature of a programme which aims to capture the spirit of the 1959 event and celebrate local musicians and dancers past and present. The 2023 version will showcase local dances from Dufftown Dance Club, tunes, stories and songs from the area, music from popular music club, The Stramash, some poems from editor of the popular magazine and Facebook page Dufftown Speirin’s, Jim Nicol, and a new setting to music of one of Dufftown poet Mary Symon’s best-loved poems. Children from Mortlach Primary will perform songs
written by them at a workshop with Hamish Napier and fellow Dufftown Stories project worker, David Francis.
The project has also produced a ‘Dufftown ABC’, a listing of the town’s distinctive and best- loved features in a poll by townspeople and school children. The ABC has been produced in poster form with illustrations by Aberlour artist, Steve Carroll.
The evening will round off with a dance with music from talented local family Alison and Brona Gillies and their band. Tickets cost £5 (concessions £3, under 16s free) and are available from Costcutter, Balvenie Street, online or at the door. Raffle proceeds to the Mortlach Hall.
Dufftown Stories is one of a series of projects under the banner of The People’s Parish, an initiative of Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland, funded by the Scottish Government’s Culture Collective programme. The People’s Parish brings together artists and people in local communities to reflect on the places where they live, connecting community, local history, folklore and creativity.