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Scottish Traditional Music

Question Time — Scottish Executive — Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:00 pm on 16th September 2004.

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Photo of Rob Gibson Rob Gibson Scottish National Party 2:00 pm, 16th September 2004

To ask the Scottish Executive what steps it will take to support Scottish traditional music in responding to requests for examples of Scottish cultural excellence to be performed at overseas events. (S2O-3199)

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour

The Scottish Executive is conscious of the scope for using both traditional and contemporary Scottish music during overseas promotional activities and does so whenever appropriate. Examples of that can be found in our recent promotional programmes in Sweden, Catalonia and the tartan day events in the United States.

Photo of Rob Gibson Rob Gibson Scottish National Party

In answer to my question earlier this year, the minister's colleague Andy Kerr dismissed a request to support the invitation to Scottish pipers to play at a tartan day event that was to be organised in Paris. He described the event as "commercial", but what else are the American tartan day events? Does the minister recognise the contradiction in the Government's behaviour in that regard? Will he send an unambiguous message to the Scottish traditional music community by adopting transparent and well-publicised guidelines for any overseas invitations that are received and by showing that our Government is proud to promote our unique culture around the globe?

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour

We actively support traditional music in Scotland. I assure the member that, in any projects and developments in which we are involved, we want to maximise the opportunities for promoting our indigenous culture, traditions and music. That is why a number of visits that ministers have carried out in the past year or so have involved substantial contributions from traditional musicians, such as those who attended the Smithsonian folklife festival, where the stellar talents that we have in Scotland exhibited their work and went down a real storm, so much so that the Scottish Arts Council produced a wonderful CD—"Scotland the Real: Music from Contemporary Caledonia"—which is an opportunity to profile and maximise the wonderful talents that we have in the country.

We will always be innovative in finding ways of addressing the issue and, if good suggestions are made, we will take them on board. My colleague Andy Kerr and I would be happy to support any appropriate suggestions that can be demonstrated to be good value for money.

Photo of Jamie Stone Jamie Stone Liberal Democrat

I am sure that Rob Gibson and the minister will share my delight that the group Gizzen Briggs is coming down from my home town of Tain to play on the day when the queen comes to open our splendid new Parliament building. The minister mentioned a CD. Does he agree that we could probably go a little further to help recording facilities, which would really promote our local music groups?

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour

Throughout Scotland, local recording studios have been developed through a combination of lottery, local authority and Scottish Arts Council funding. During the summer, I visited one such centre: the Lews Castle College centre for music development in Benbecula. One of the key elements of that project is to enhance the work that has been done in the development of music. Another benefit is that the Scottish Arts Council has developed the tune up programme, which covers a variety of forms of music and aims to showcase the best talents that we have in Scotland. I assure the member that we are working on the issue. We can and wish to do much more, but we are working in partnership with other organisations to maximise the opportunities.

Photo of Trish Godman Trish Godman Labour

Question 4 has been withdrawn.