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Barrowband workshop

Barrowband workshop


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Barrowband delight the Prep School

MUSICIANS from a groundbreaking project put a new spin on the importance of healthy eating by delivering their message by song to girls at the Kilgraston Prep School.

Pupils in Reception, Lower 1st and Upper 1st (P1-P3) took part in a workshop and a live performance this week led by the Barrowband, which sung the praises of bananas, broccoli and carrots.

The group is currently visiting primary schools throughout Perthshire to encourage more children to eat fruit and vegetables and to tackle problems such as obesity.

Andrew McGarva, Director of Music and Deputy Head of the Prep School, said: “The Barrowband entertained our girls in a novel way. They taught the girls about the value of fruit and vegetables through their stories and songs – it looked to me that the aubergine was the favourite vegetable of the day.”

The show, based around a market barrow laden with fresh fruit and vegetables, is the brainchild of the band’s leader, Malcolm Le Maistre.

The singer-songwriter was a member of The Incredible String Band, a pioneering group in psychedelic folk in the 1970s, and also set up the Environmental Arts Theatre Company, based in Edinburgh.

He said: “The message of the Barrowband is simple – that fruit and vegetables are very good for you. They’re colourful and they have great stories to tell. For example, very few people know where oranges come from and how many realise that apples originated in Kazakhstan?

“From a pure entertainment level, the Barrowband works and adults have shown that they like what we do as much as the youngsters.”

Mr Le Maistre, who is based in North Lanarkshire, revealed how watching a programme featuring the TV chef Jamie Oliver had inspired the creation of the six-strong Barrowband.

He recalled: “I remember seeing Jamie Oliver holding up a leek to a child who told him it was a kiwi fruit. A leek is a British vegetable but the child didn’t know. I felt driven to set up something music-based that would raise awareness about fruit and vegetables. I’ve found that if you give people information through song, they’ll often look at issues in a sympathetic light. Very few children or adults who’ve seen the Barrowband and learnt the stories behind fruit and vegetables will be able to look at them in the same way when they next visit the supermarket.”

Mr Le Maistre said that the band, which features a range of instruments including the banjo, sitar, guitar, double bass, cello and accordion, had secured funding from The Gannochy Trust and Creative Scotland to visit schools throughout Perth and Kinross.

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