There’s still time to reserve a place at the 20th Annual Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week, which will be held by ACGA July 9 to 13 in Banner Elk, North Carolina, just before the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games July 12 to 15.
We’re working on getting everything ready for the weeklong event at Lees-MacRae College, which will feature Scottish Gaelic language song classes taught by Margaret Bennett, Catrìona Parsons, and Jamie MacDonald, with check-in beginning Sunday, July 8.
The week is an unparalleled opportunity to dive deep into Scottish Gaelic song and language, with classes at three levels for learners ranging from absolute beginners to fluent speakers. Students can mix and match classes and teachers and subjects as they please.
The week also features special events such as sessions on Highland folklore, movies in Gaelic, hiking and evening cèilidhs and song sessions. We hold a popular silent auction. In recent years we’ve had sessions on dance, types of songs and songs from specific places.
We hope you’ll join us! Tiugainn leinn! Spaces and beds fill up quickly in June, so register early. For more information, go to the Events section this website and the Grandfather Mountain GSLW page. To register, click here. And look for more information here soon.
Scottish Gaelic Studies in the United States takes a leap forward with the appointment of Dr. Tiber Falzett to the first Scottish Heritage USA Scottish Gaelic Visiting Lectureship at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
The first lectureship of its kind in the United States is the result of a two-year campaign by the Scottish Gaelic Foundation of the USA / Urras Gàidhlig nan Stàitean Aonaichte.
The organization, also known as Gaelic USA, is a 501c3 tax exempt public charity working to reclaim and revitalize the language and heritage of the Scottish Highlands in America, and to build bridges between communities of all sorts, including organizations promoting Scottish Gaelic on a grass-roots level and academia.
“‘S e euchd mhór agus dhoirbh a bh’ ann gu toirt gu buil, ach se comharra dòchais is cliù a th’ ann aig an aon am a thaobh àrdachadh agus leasachadh na Gàidhlig aig ìre oifigeil anns na Stàitean,” Michael Newton, the secretary of Gaelic USA, said in a statement. (“This is a great accomplishment that was difficult to bring to fruition, and it is a mark of hope and respect at the same time for the elevation and development of Gàidhlig at an official level in the United States” — ed.).
Newton also thanked An Comunn Gàidhealach Ameireaganach / The American Scottish Gaelic Society for its financial assistance in establishing Gaelic USA.
Last July, Scottish Heritage USA, a separate organization, agreed to fund the entire amount necessary to support the 2018-19 visiting lectureship, the first position of its kind in an American university. “The Carolinas were home to the largest Gaelic-speaking communities outside of Scotland for generations and people of Highland ancestry still make up a large segment of the region’s population,” Rev. Dr. Douglas Kelly, president of Scottish Heritage USA, said at the time. “This is an ideal time to foster scholarship about the Gaelic legacy of the Carolinas and North America as a whole in the academy.”
Falzett is a fluent Scottish Gaelic speaker, as well as a singer and bagpiper. He has performed in a range of venues, from village halls to national broadcast media, in Scotland and Canada. He is a sessional lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada, where he has just finished teaching “Introduction to Folklore” and “Scottish Heritage and Culture.”
He also held a previous lecturer appointment in the Department of Celtic Studies, St. Francis Xavier University, in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where he taught courses on the folklore and ethnology of the Gaelic communities of Scotland, Ireland and Canada, as well as Scottish Gaelic.
For the past three years, Falzett’s research has focused on the legacy of the Scottish Gaelic immigrant community on Prince Edward Island. His goal is to create models for re-engaging this community with its cultural heritage at a grass-roots level using archived recordings of some of the last Scottish Gaelic tradition-bearers recorded by his doctoral supervisor, Dr. John Shaw, as well as the late Professor Gordon MacLennan.
A fluent Scottish Gaelic speaker as well as a singer and bagpiper, Falzett has presented and performed in a range of venues, from village halls to national broadcast media, in Scotland and Canada. As an active folklorist and musician, he especially values opportunities to share the Scottish Gaelic language and its music with others. He believes that language and music have the power to break down barriers and bring people together.
At the University of North Carolina, Falzett will begin the visiting lectureship by teaching two folklore classes through the English Department using Scottish Gaelic content material. Gaelic USA is planning events throughout the year to promote the lectureship.
For more on the lectureship and Gaelic USA’s plans for Scottish Gaelic Studies in the United States, visit the group’s website: gaelicusa.org.
To Falzett, Gaelic USA and the University of North Carolina, mealaibh ur naidheachd.
— Liam Ó Caiside, with thanks to Tiber Falzett, Michael Newton and Gaelic USA for use of the photograph and other information.
This past Friday, April 6, was Tartan Day in the United States, and people around the country celebrated Latha an Tartain. New York City hosted its annual Tartan Day Parade on Sixth Avenue, with more than 4,000 registered marchers, including Còmhlan Pìoba Sgoil Lìonacleit, the student pipe band from Sgoil Lìonacleit in the Outer Hebrides.
(See a BBC video report on the band’s trip in Gaelic here).
ACGA director Barbara Lynn Rice had the chance to meet with the students and officials from Sgoil Lìonacleit and e-Sgoil, a distance-learning initiative launched in 2016 by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the Western Isles Council. We’ll have more to report later, but for the moment, enjoy this short video from the Tartan Day Parade. Watch for Niseag (Nessie)!
Gaelic songs can tell us a huge amount about life in Scotland and the surprisingly modern ways in which Gaels saw the world. Even when working with English translations, they reveal the words and thoughts of people who are not normally visible in written histories.
So writes Kevin Grant at the start of his blog for Historic Environment Scotland on “Three Gaelic Bards” and the insight their work provides into Gaelic culture and life in their day.
In the blog, Grant, a casework officer with Historic Environment Scotland, examines the poetry of Mairearad Chaimbuel, Seumas Mac an t-Saoir, and Perthshire poet Domhnall Dubh — 18th and 19th century poets.
Grant wrote the blog for International Poetry Day, March 15, but at ACGA we think it’s worth reading year-round.
To read the blog on the Historic Environment Scotland website, click here.
The premiere Scottish Gaelic song event of the Midwest — Mòd nan Lochan Mòra or The Great Lakes Mòd — returns to Akron, Ohio, June 8-10.
This year’s adjudicator will be Seumas Greumach (James Graham) of Sutherland, Scotland, winner of the men’s Bonn Òr a’ Chomuinn or Gold Medal at the Royal National Mòd. James has been an instructor at ACGA’s Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week and a guest at the ACGA US National Mòd.
Mòd events will include singing competitions, storytelling, poetry recitations, and a workshop. This year we have some exciting events, including an all new competition — a Folk Band Challenge. You don’t need to already have a folk group; any singer or musician can learn the prescribed piece and we will randomly select groups to compete together.
Kids are especially welcome to come take part in the Mòd. We have a competition for Youth age 14-17, and one for children 13 and under.