Guest blog: Fèis Phàislig brings traditional music and culture alive

Fèis Phàislig is an arts organisation based in Paisley that delivers cultural opportunities and events for children across Renfrewshire and further afield. We are very excited to be supporting the bid for UK City of Culture 2021 and to see the impact it will have on the cultural sector within the town.

'Fèis' (pronounced 'Faysh') is the Gaelic word for a festival or feast but over the last thirty years has become synonymous with a series of arts festivals for young people across Scotland. Fèis Phàislig (Paisley Festival) held an inaugural event in 2015 that brought together 60 children for four days of traditional music, singing, drama and Gaelic. Led by some of Scotland's top traditional musicians and tutors, participants took part in workshops across the week to prepare for a public concert on the final day. The week was a huge success and gave all our young people a unique cultural experience as well as a chance to try something new.

In 2016, our Fèis Week expanded with almost 100 participants joining us and even more instrument choices on offer. Again, with a fantastic team of tutors leading the way, the week was hugely successful and we are already looking forward to our third Fèis Week in 2017.

With support from the Paisley 2021 Culture, Events and Heritage Fund, we are excited to be delivering a new programme of weekly instrumental lessons starting September 2016.

We will deliver tuition in accordion, fiddle, guitar and singing with lessons taking place on Saturday mornings during term-time. This programme is a natural progression of our Fèis Week and is an exciting development that allows children to develop their skills in one chosen area across the school year. Participants will be given a number of performance opportunities throughout the year and encouraged to play in a variety of settings to develop their performance skills.

An important aspect of the Fèis is Gaelic and understanding the links the language has with traditional music. Gaelic culture and traditional music share roots that are still very much alive in the folk music scene today and giving young people a knowledge of this allows them to immerse themselves fully in their musical heritage. All of our teaching is delivered in English however participants are encouraged to learn simple words and phrases in Gaelic that they can use with us.

We are delighted and excited to be part of Paisley's bid for UK City of Culture 2021 and believe the huge variety of cultural activity promoted by Paisley 2021 will have a very positive impact on the area. Whether as a participant, volunteer or audience member, we hope to see you soon at one of our events and hope you will join us in spreading the word and showing the world what Paisley can do!

You can check out our events on the Fèis Phàislig website.