James Graham is from Lochinver in the Parish of Assynt in the far north-west corner of Scotland. He started competing at Mòds (Scottish Gaelic Arts festivals) when he was nine years old under the guidance of his Primary School head-teacher, Kenny Mackenzie, and was greatly inspired also by his great Aunt Seòrdag Murray, a native Gaelic speaker from the nearby village of Achilitibuie.
James graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 2003 with an Honours degree in Scottish Music. There he studied bagpipes and Gaelic song under respected Gaelic singer and scholar Kenna Campbell. In 2004 he won the BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Award – the first male and first Gaelic singer to do so. He has since appeared in several successful and award-winning television and radio music series such as Transatlantic Sessions 4 and won the coveted Mòd Gold Medal at the Royal National Mod in Lochaber in 2007. He is currently a member of Cruinn, a Gaelic singing quartet who were nominated in the category of best folk song in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, 2015. He has taken part in Scotland’s acclaimed Highland Military Tattoo for three years in a row and has also sung at several festivals and concerts across the world, most recently, Celtic Colours in Canada.
With Gaelic roots in Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton and Antigonish counties, Kathleen Reddy first learned Gaelic at St. Francis Xavier University and went on to train as a Gaelic teacher at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. Kathleen has taught at various levels in communities on both sides of the Atlantic, including a period of living on the Gaelic-speaking island of South Uist, where she taught at the local secondary school. Much of Kathleen’s teaching been immersion-based, incorporating traditional tales, songs and cultural practices. After a time spent working as a Gaelic instructor at St. Francis Xavier University, Kathleen has returned to Scotland, where after earning a master’s degree in Celtic and Gaelic at the University of Glasgow, she is currently working on a PhD, as well as teaching classes for university staff and students and through Skype. Kathleen is delighted to be returning to Grandfather Mountain for a second time.
Màiri Britton’s love of the Gaelic language was sparked through attending her local Fèis at the age of five, and it has shaped a journey from her hometown of Edinburgh to the Hebrides, Ireland, and now to Nova Scotia where she teaches Gaelic at St. Francis Xavier University. In her new home of Antigonish, NS, Màiri balances university teaching with running community Gaelic classes and immersion days, using the locally developed ‘Gàidhlig aig Baile’ methodology. She is also manager of the Nova Scotia Gaelic song project, ‘Language in Lyrics’ (www.languageinlyrics.com), at Cape Breton University. She spends as much time as she can visiting local Gaelic elders in in the province to learn from their store of songs, stories and cultural wisdom. A Gaelic singer, step dancer and harpist, Màiri has performed and taught workshops and summer schools in Scotland, Ireland and North America. She is lead vocalist and step dancer in the Gaelic trad group Fàrsan, alongside Elias Alexander (pipes, whistles, vocals), Katie McNally (fiddle) and Neil Pearlman (piano, accordion, step dance). The group released their debut album at the end of 2018 to critical acclaim and are touring in North America and Europe in 2019 (www.farsanband.com).