FluteFling Scottish Flute Day 2015

Saturday 9th May 2015: 2nd FluteFling Scottish Flute Day


Many thank to everyone who managed to make the event such a success this year. To Kenny and Sharon for their excellent teaching and willingness to be involved again, to Elizabeth Ford for her illuminating talk (flutes have a rich heritage in Scottish music!). Sadly Andy May couldn’t make it this year, but we hope he made a good recovery and can make it next year.

Thanks too for Nuala Kennedy for putting on such a great evening of flute music with Michel Balatti and guests Cathal McConnell, Niall Kenny and Tom Oakes that got everyone talking and buzzing on Friday evening.

We had two flute-laden sessions of 14 and 13 flutes playing traditional music, which is rare outside Ireland, but similar to last year’s Saturday night one.

Finally, this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Tradfest team, who did a great job in promotion and handling the ticket sales.

We are already thinking ahead to next year, so if you are interested, please join the FluteFling mailing list if you haven’t already done so.

Back by popular demand following last year’s successful event, this year’s day of workshops and tunes focusing on Scottish traditional music on the flute will once again take place in Portobello, Edinburgh.

Topics covered will include:

  • different playing styles
  • tune types
  • technique
  • breathing, phrasing and tone improvement
  • history

Whether you play wooden or Boehm system flute, this is a great opportunity to develop your playing and understanding of an instrument that is undergoing a revival in Scotland. The event is part of Tradfest Edinburgh.

What people said last year that made us do it all again:

  • “A cracking day. It would be very worth making it regular. Such an environment is very galvanising and brings you on as a player”
  • “Great day. More please”
  • “Thoroughly enjoyable format”
  • “Very very good workshop. Good length”
  • “Excellent day, more of the same”
  • “Good to get different perspectives”
  • Great day. Wish it happened more often”
  • Please do this again. Don’t let the momentum fail”

Update 4 May: Andy May wooden flute care talk and guidance:

Edinburgh woodwind repairer Andy May will be joining us from lunchtime on the Saturday in order to offer 1-1 advice, particularly for wooden flutes, and to conduct any minor repairs. Andy will also give a short talk on these matters at the end of the day.

A fine bodhrán player and teacher and traditional singer in his own right, we hope he can be persuaded to join us for the evening session too.

Update 2 May: contact address for Edinburgh Flute Concert has now changed:

Tickets and Info (NB this has changed): 42music42@musician.org

Update 28 April: Friday night Dalriada meetup now to take place in central Edinburgh.

Due to the Edinburgh Flute Concert organised by Nuala Kennedy taking place in central Edinburgh, it is no longer practical for us to meet in Joppa. Instead, there are local options to be decided upon after the gig and the Tradfest Festival Club also has sessions and events on until late.

It has also been confirmed that this is now the only concert of the weekend. See below for further details.

The session at The Dalriada on Saturday evening is now confirmed however and this was a highlight for many last year, perfectly rounding off the day. Open to all and not just flute players! The Sunday lunchtime session in Sandy Bell’s Bar was also a popular way to complete a weekend of fabulous flutiness and this will also be going ahead.

 FluteFling Workshop Details

Open to: wooden “simple-system” flutes (with or without keys), Boehm-system flutes.

Experience levels: this will be subject to numbers of students, but it would be best suited to those who are already able to manage to play the instrument comfortably enough to hold a tune. The ability to sight-read from sheet music is not required for this event.

  • Date: Saturday 9 May | 09.30-16.30 (arrival from 09.00)
  • Tickets: £30 (£25 concessions); note: for workshop only
  • Venue: Portobello Old Parish Church, Bellfield Street, Portobello EH15 2BP.
  • Details of the day are below.

Numbers are limited to 45, so book early to be sure of a place. Booking is through the Tradfest website.

TradFest Logo with tagline Colour

Meet the FluteFling tutors:

  • Kenny HaddenKenny Hadden (wooden flute, Aberdeen)
    Kenny is currently the flute tutor with the Scottish Culture and Traditions group in Aberdeen. He has been playing traditional music on flute and whistle since the early 1970s and was an early member of Scottish folk band Ceolbeg. He has recently recorded with Dundee singer Barbara Dymock. He has also been a flute and whistle tutor at the School of Excellence In Traditional Music in Plockton. His interests include researching original Scottish flute music in archives and collections, and he also co-hosts a folk / traditional music programme, The Wednesday Session, on Aberdeen community radio station “HMU FM.
  • FF_scottish_flute_profile-FB-SCSharon Creasey (Böhm system flute, Glasgow)
    Sharon has been a tutor for RSAMD/ Royal Conservertoire of Scotland (RCS) Musicworks programme and is a deputy tutor for the BA Traditional Music course for RCS. She researched and transcribed material for the acclaimed Hidden Fermanagh project, performing at the Derry All Ireland Fleadh August 2013 and again with Cathal McConnell as part of Celtic Connections 2014.  First picking up the flute in the 1970s, Sharon’s interests include reviving music from manuscripts, old books and from 78rpm and archive recordings from Ireland and Scotland.
  • FF_scottish_flute_profile-FB-GTGordon Turnbull (wooden flute, Edinburgh)
    Gordon has taught whistle with the Scots Music Group in Edinburgh, runs his own classes for flute and whistle, has taught with RSAMD/ Royal Conservertoire of Scotland (RCS) Musicworks programme and taught at the Border Gaitherin’ and Fèis Fhoirt. Since beginning the flute in the early 1980s, he has performed at festivals in the UK and abroad with Irish dance group Absolutely Legless, supporting acts including Dervish, Altan, Sharon Shannon and Andy Irvine. Gordon’s interests include exploring different styles of playing and has shared some of his ideas on The Flow, his website on traditional flute styles, and in the British Flute Society magazine.

Associated Edinburgh Flute Concert with Nuala Kennedy, Michel Balatti and Friends


Photo by Louis Decarlo

Please note that a workshop ticket does not include entry for these events.

This year, we are very happy to support Nuala Kennedy (Dundalk) and Michel Balatti (Italy), both outstanding flute players in the Irish and Scottish traditions. Accompanied by Mike Bryan (guitar), they will be joined by Cathal McConnell (Boys of the Lough), Niall Kenny, Tom Oakes and Kevin O’Neill (Treacherous Orchestra) and other special flute guests. Watch this space as this is turning into one of the the biggest flute lineups on a Scottish stage for many years and is promising to real treat for any flute fans!

Date: Friday 8th May at 8pm
Venue: 1a Hill Street, Edinburgh (Please note venue change)
. As this is a house concert, there is limited space so see the Facebook event page for details of reserving your seat.

Tickets and Info (NB this has changed): 42music42@musician.org

While this is not part of Tradfest, The Nuala Kennedy Trio is however also performing as part of Tradfest the weekend before on Sunday 3rd May in a separate performance.

Michel Folk Club Torino_small

Photo: Michel Balatti

Michel is an inspiring traditional flute player and teacher from Italy who has moved into traditional Irish music from a classical flute background. He plays traditional Irish music with The Birkin Tree, with whom he has recorded four CDs. He has lived in Ennis, County Clare and performed internationally with many noted musicians, including Martin Hayes. He has also introduced the simple system flute into Italian traditional music.

As well as performing alongside Nuala, Michel is offering 1-1 flute lessons at £30ph on the Friday during the day and on the Sunday afternoon 14.30-19.30. If you are interested in Michel’s lessons, please contact Amble Skuse: amble [at] ambleskuse [dot] com

 Elizabeth Ford talk

We are delighted to welcome flute player and Glasgow University PhD student Elizabeth Ford to the final period of the day. Elizabeth’s research on the history of the flute in Scotland is helping to reaffirm the role of the flute in Scottish music, for example on the relationship between piping and flute playing. Elizabeth will give a short talk to share aspects of her research.

Probable outline of the FluteFling weekend (updated 28.04.15)

Note: more on these events as they become firmed up.


  • Daytime: Michel Balatti 1-1 lessons.
  • 20:00: Edinburgh Flute Concert with Nuala Kennedy, Michel Balatti and friends 8pm
  • 22:00 – late: There is a Tradfest Festival Club at The Pleasance and some people may go to somewhere local to the gig venue afterwards.
  • Please note that the Dalriada Bar meet-up and session has been cancelled due to the Edinburgh Flute Concert now being held in central Edinburgh.


  • Workshops
    • 09.00: Arrival
    • 09.30: Session 1
    • 11.00: break
    • 11:15: Session 2
    • 12.45: break
    • 13.30: Session 3
    • 15:00: break
    • 15:15: Session 4 (all tutors, Q&A; talk by Elizabeth Ford on aspects of flute playing in 18thC Scotland; talk by Andy May on wooden flute care.)
    • 16:30: end
  • The numbers will be divided into three and each group will have time with each tutor over the course of the day. Boehm system players will begin with Sharon so that they will have the opportunity to try out ideas in the other sessions.
  • The final session will involve everyone and is a chance to share, reflect and ask further questions. PhD student Elizabeth Ford will also give a talk on the flute in 18th Century Scotland and Edinburgh woodwind instrument repairer Andy May will also talk on wooden flute care.
  • Saturday evening 19:30-midnight: Free session at The Dalriada Bar, Joppa. Another chance to have a tune and meet the tutors and some of the other people from the day. This proved to be very popular last year, so we hope that you can make it.


  • 12.30 onwards: Farewell session at Sandy Bell’s Bar.
  • Daytime: 14.30-19.30 Michel Balatti 1-1 lessons.

Check back for updates as more details are added.

Photos: Main banner photo and portraits of Sharon and Gordon (c) Ros Gasson. Session photo (c) Peter Saunders. Portrait of Kenny (c) Gordon Turnbull. All used with permission.




4 thoughts on “FluteFling Scottish Flute Day 2015

  1. Hi Gordon,
    Just booked my place on the 2015 Flute Day. Looking forward to the weekend immensely.
    Is there any word on what will happen with regard to the Nuala Kennedy house concert tickets. I’d be very keen to get my hands on one if possible.
    By the way, I ‘ve been checking regularly and found today booking was open on the Tradfest website so I guess you’ll want to change the Flute Fling webpage above.

  2. Hello, Just heard about this event, but alas I am going to a wedding that day. I would love to hear about any other similar events in the future. I played traditional music on the flute for years before suffering a frozen shoulder, but now play more classical music. I still play some folk tunes (without music) and would like the opportunity to play with others and improve my skills.
    Yours sincerely,
    Deirdre Hoyle

    • Hi Deidre, Nuala is playing the week before in Edinburgh and Tom Oakes is teaching and performing at the Border Gaitherin at Coldstream at the end of May. In addition, there are regular classes in Portobello that I run and will resume later in April. If you sign up to the mailing list on this website, you will be guaranteed to be kept up to date.

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