Molly Richard

Molly is a young traditional musician from Ross-shire. Playing both fiddle and flute, Molly has been involved in some great local music groups, including the Kiltearn Fiddlers and Feis Rois.

Growing up in a musical family I was exposed to the Scottish traditional music scene from a young age. There was always someone practicing an instrument in my house or having friends over for a session and so by being immersed in the trad culture I was stimulated to learn an instrument myself.

When I was eight my dad took me to an auction where we found the most beautiful old fiddle practically being given away. Despite its alluring authenticity it needed a lot of work so we took it to the great fiddle doctor of the Highlands- Charlie Webster- who worked his magic and reinvented a lovely little instrument. This fiddle was so beautiful it inspired me to want to be able to play it well.

With everything you have to start somewhere and everyone who has been through the ‘Kiltearn Fiddlers’ knows where that is- Alpha Munroe’s kitchen. Having a good tutor makes a world of difference when it comes to learning an instrument and Alpha is always so encouraging and engaging. With her, learning to play the fiddle is not a painful experience but a character building and fun social activity. From day 1 we were encouraged to go out in a group and busk, regardless of our ability and how much we’d earn-whatever the sum it was used to buy us an ice cream or a nice reward after. This was a great way to build a platform of confidence and eliminate the fear of performing to the public.

I went on to play in the advanced Kiltearn Fiddlers group for about five years. In this time we were given the opportunity to take part in a huge variety of performance opportunities; from local music competitions to international festivals; both at home and abroad. We even produced our own CD which we recorded in Tulloch Castle. My time in Kiltearn was fantastic. I made some wonderful friends and got to perform in some incredible venues; from Royal Concert Halls to Viking long boat ships. There is never a dull moment during trips away with Kiltearn, perhaps my least favourite however was the unbelievably claustrophobic 11 hour mini bus journey to Wales, with 14 people, 9 fiddles, 2 guitars, pipes, whistles, flutes and a piano- worth the story though.

Having left school it’s now time to allow for a new group of young Kiltearn Fiddlers to develop, to keep myself playing I’ve become an assistant tutor at the weekly Feis fiddle classes. This has been fun and an interesting experience and it’s good sometimes to be reminded where you started and therefore how far you’ve come. Being able to teach others is a very valuable skill to learn. It definitely requires a lot of patience but is fantastically rewarding when you get positive results. I’ve found it really inspiring seeing some of the younger players putting in so much effort and clearly being very motivated to improve. On top of all of this, teaching is also a great way to pick up on some of your own weaknesses. I am so grateful for all the opportunities Feis Rois and the Kiltearn Fiddlers have opened up for me and just wish I could go back and do it all again.

For more information on the Kiltearn Fiddlers or Feis Rois please visit: www.kiltearnfiddlers.com and www.feisrois.org.uk