Riddell Fiddles: From Borders to Barbados

Riddell Fiddles is a community music group based in Selkirk in the Scottish Borders. Originally started in September 2003 when there was little provision in the area for traditional music learning and playing the group has become part of a popular, fun and creative flow across much of Scotland. During their existence the group have been nominated for Trad Music Awards, Arts and Business Awards and their leader Sheila Sapkota was inducted  into the Trad Music Hall of Fame for services to community music.

The format of Riddell Fiddles has recently changed from the more workshop type setting to led sessions weekly with supported playlists and occasional visiting tutors. Their website is a free resource used the world over and the tune notation is kept up to date by guitarist Donald Knox.

Bands under the Riddell Fiddles banner include a junior core, the very young Bannerfield Buskers based on an estate near Selkirk, a very much in demand ceilidh band and the main performing group.

The community support keeps Riddell Fiddles going and ,although mainly self funding, the help of organisations such as Tasgadh, Creative Scotland, the Lottery, Weir’s Trust and Scottish Borders Council have helped to target specific activities.

The group travels extensively and have toured Cape Breton, Shetland, Bavaria, Ireland and ,more recently, Barbados! Members of Riddell Fiddles have innthe past few weeks played at numerous local events and weddings, open gardens, historic buildings and the Edinburgh tattoo.

Only last week some of the youngsters participated in a pop up musical tour of the remote valleys around Selkirk.

Projects in hand include a tunebook for the session tunes, a staging of the Voyage of the Hector ( John Somerville has been headhunted) and another trip to their twin town in Bavaria.

The group runs on enthusiasm and whacky ideas.The supporting guitar and bass players add musicality and tempo to the musical mayheim which the group create wherever they go.