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What is ffidil fawr?

Penwythnos Ffidil Cymreig

Welsh Fiddle weekend

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20fed - 22ain medi 2024 | Sept' 20th - 22nd 2024

Ffidil Fawr means 'big fiddle'...

Ffidil Fawr 2024 is the first edition of this immersive weekend fiddle retreat, hosted by Welsh chamber folk trio and multi-award winners VRï. This gathering will be an opportunity for players of fiddles big and small to share tunes and ideas - so bring your violin, viola, cello, double bass - and even your crwth or viola da gamba - and get ready to explore Welsh traditional music from its most plaintive to its liveliest and most foot-stomping, all the while guided by VRï in their signature chamber-folk style. 

 

Join us for a weekend in the stunning Eryri National Park, during which we’ll help you to expand your repertoire of traditional tunes, develop your style and technique, and facilitate loads of opportunities to make music with others in chamber groups large and small, culminating in a proper ‘Ffidil Fawr’ - all of us together in one great big fiddle orchestra, with music available in advance for people to get their teeth into. 

 

The course is open to any and all string players of intermediate experience and above; so whether you’re a seasoned folk fiddler or have played other genres and always wanted to give traditional music a go, this is absolutely the event for you! Teaching will be done predominantly by ear, but sheet music will be available for all elements of the course for whoever would prefer to read. 

What do we mean by intermediate?

If you're fairly confident playing in first position, know where the notes are (more or less!) and are happy with using the bow, then you'll get something out of the weekend. We'll group folks of a similar standard together so that each class can learn and develop at the same rate. 

Ffidil Fawr will take place at Plas Caerdeon outdoor education centre in Caerdeon, Gwynedd. Situated on the banks of the picturesque Mawddach estuary at the southern tip of the Eryri National Park, this is a fantastic spot to retreat from the bustle of the world and focus on music-making - whilst being easily accessible by car (75 minutes from Bangor or Aberystwyth, 3hrs from Cardiff). Public transport options are available as well, with both Barmouth rail station and regular TrawsCymru bus services to Dolgellau nearby.

Accommodation is shared rooms, but we can accommodate group room bookings. Answer the questions on the booking form to let us know. 

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Where is it happening?

During the day you’ll have the opportunity to work in your main group (based on your experience; choose between foundational, aspirational or advanced) where the focus will be on building repertoire and fundamental technique. During these sessions we’ll also spend a bit of time working on some pieces that we’ll play all together in our Ffidil Fawr Orchestra! In addition to the main groups, we’re offering a selection of optional classes (e.g. self-accompanying a song with your instrument, improvising harmonies to a tune, introduction to bluegrass fiddle). And if you’ve packed your walking boots (and potentially an anorak) then why not get out and explore the beautiful surrounds of the Mawddach valley as well! We’ll ask you to specify your choice of main group when booking, but the optional classes will be available to sign up after arrival. We'll also send you a digital tunebook before the course with some standard Welsh session tunes, so you can arrive with a few up your sleeve.

 

The evenings are dedicated to more informal music-making, with tune sessions encouraged throughout the common areas of the house. We’ll be running two sessions in separate rooms (one fast and furious, the other with a gentle pace) and so we look forward to jamming with you long into the night.

As well as this, on the Saturday evening you’re all invited to a very special VRï performance, where they’ll share their unique brand of Welsh traditional music arranged in their signature chamber-folk style. It’s going to be intimate and unplugged…live in the living room! 

 

Please note - this course is aimed at players of bowed string instruments with an intermediate level of experience or above. However, if you also play something else (no matter how obscure) and fancy playing it in the evenings then please bring it along -  we'd love to hear whatever you've -  it’s great to get a bit of variety into a session!

The weekend is fully inclusive, accommodation will be in Plas Caerdeon and all meals are provided for. Dietary requirements can be catered for, and rooms will be shared with other folks on the course - we have an option for single gender rooms if needed. Arrival is on Friday afternoon, and we'll wrap up and leave after lunch on Sunday.

what's on offer?

2024

sign me up! How do I book?

Price for the weekend is £260, and includes your accommodation and meals.

If you're stuck for a lift, let us know and we can see if we can arrange something.

If you have any questions please pop us an email over at ffidilfawr@gmail.com

Book your ffidil fawr place here

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