Playing on the heart strings, St Andrews Folk & Traditional Music Society

Megan Curtis made the most of her one semester at the University of St Andrews by joining the Folk & Traditional Music Society. We love the flair and enthusiasm behind her work and thought our readers would too.  Check out Megan’s experience below! 

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“While studying abroad at St. Andrews University in the Kingdom of Fife, Scotland, I had the most wonderful opportunity to join a Folk & Traditional Music Society. We met every other weekend, and would spend several hours Sunday evenings singing and playing Scottish and Gaelic tunes.”

“We had several instruments: fiddles, guitars, a ukulele, bagpipes, flutes, and an accordion, with musician attendance averaging 15 people. We also had a about 3-4 people who showed up each week to sing. I am a violinist, but as I did not bring my violin to Scotland, I decided to work on my vocals… Joining the St. Andrews Folk & Trad Society was the best decision I made during my entire time abroad, as I got to be immersed in the Scottish culture in a very active way. We performed as a group at open mic nights, I learned a variety of Gaelic words for our songs, we hosted and attended festive traditional Ceilidh dances, we even attended a Scottish Universities Folk Festival (SUFF) in Edinburgh attended also by three other universities. The Folk Festival consisted of three late nights of jam sessions, music improvisation, and even a traditional Scottish Ceilidh pub dance. ”

“The two songs are Siul A Ruin, in which I had the privilege of singing the solo in the intro of the song in Gaelic, about a young woman lamenting her lover being called off to war, and the second called The King’s Shilling a ballad about the conflicting feelings of patriotism and gloom while serving in the British Army. The photos and videos are from our many jam sessions, including a hike to the top of Arthur’s Seat during the Folk Festival one foggy morning where we played tunes at the top of the mountain, while tourists listened to us (and even filmed us)! It was an amazing feeling to be a part of something so authentically Scottish, and my friends from Folk & Trad are some of the people I miss the most from my experience abroad!”