YOUNG musicians who only a few weeks ago conquered Japan with their Rising Sun Tour will tomorrow take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony to mark the 74th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.

Eight youngsters from the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra (AFO) have volunteered to travel from Ayr to Edinburgh to perform at the event in St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh.

They were among 66 musicians who travelled to Japan last month and played the first music to be performed in the Hiroshima Peace Garden – Lament for the Children of Hiroshima – to open the ceremony.

The piece, composed by Harry McFarlane, a 90-year-old former music teacher – was premiered in Hiroshima by Mia Walsingham, the 17-year-old leader of the AFO.

They will also play Japanese folk tunes they performed with the whole orchestra in Japan to highly appreciative audiences.

Walsingham had the honour of being the first musician to play music in the peace garden, which included playing for the Mayor of Hiroshima and the Under Secretary General of the international organisation Mayors for Peace.

After the moving event, she told The National: “What the lament stands for is more emotional than the music itself. I was given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“I was quite nervous at first with all the TV cameras, VIPs and journalists around, but once you start playing you forget about that and become very focused on the music and what it stood for.

“With my musician colleagues we are all honoured to be World Peace Tartan ambassadors and we will all be wearing the tartan.

“We are all becoming more and more aware that we are contributing to building a culture of peace with our music.

“I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to play the Lament for the Children of Hiroshima again and on this anniversary of the catastrophic bomb blast.”

The bombing of Hiroshima and, three days later Nagasaki, effectively ended the Second World War by bringing about the surrender of Japan.

However, it came at a terrible cost with the obliteration of both cities.

Hiroshima Day has now become a focus for anti-nuclear and anti-war demonstrations and discussions.

The Chado – way of tea – ceremony can be understood as a spiritual and aesthetic discipline for refinement of the self and the world.

It is a 16th century living art form with the principles of harmony, respect, purity and tranquillity, which has been described by 15th Grand Master Daisosho Sen Genshitsu, thus: “Think of the tea bowl as the earth and of matcha as its green; in other words, nature.

“When you receive a bowl of tea, you confront the preciousness of life – you receive life itself.”

Japanese Tea Master, Mio Shudo, who will lead tomorrow’s ceremony, said: “We invite all those interested to come and remember the terrible event in Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945 and all those who perished and suffered that day.

“We also invite people to come and experience a traditional Chado Japanese tea ceremony.”

Shudo added: “We are so looking forward to being joined by the young Scottish musicians of the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra with their beautiful and heartfelt contribution for this Hiroshima Day.”

David Moore, the AFO’s music director, said: “Cultural exchanges and the performing and sharing of music are all contributions to building a culture of peace and we are so proud to be doing this in our lives through Scottish traditional music.”

Victor Spence, who founded the World Peace Tartan, added: “It was my privilege to confer the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra with ambassadorship of the World Peace Tartan.

“I can’t think of anything more exciting that a young group of Scottish traditional musicians being World Peace Tartan ambassadors.”