An Naidheachd Againne: Prospects for Gaelic in 2030; Carina MacLeod interview

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The latest edition of An Naidheachd Againne (“Our News” or “The News At Us”) is available to members of An Comunn Gàidhealach Ameireaganach (ACGA). The quarterly newsletter — now in its 26th year — is a leading source of information in and about Scottish Gaelic around the world, published by our association in North America. Most of the articles, news stories, columns, and features are bilingual, with some features, such as the serialized fantasy novel, Sgoil nan Eun, published only in Gaelic.

Th2019-12-06_Alba2030_BannerPice Spring 2020 issue starts with “Alba 2030 : Buaidh is Piseach / Prospects for Gaelic in 2030,”an important article by Dr. Wilson MacLeòid (McLeod), professor of Gaelic at the University of Edinburgh. In December, about 60 people, MacLeòid included, gathered at the Scottish Parliament to discuss where they expected or hoped the language would be at the end of this new decade. There are few opportunities for concerned Gaelic speakers to gather together in this way, he notes. Here’s an excerpt:

“Chan eil e idir furasta fàisneachd a dhèanamh a thaobh na bhios an dàn don Ghàidhlig san àm ri teachd Anns na 1950an bha mòran eòlaichean glè dhubhach mu chor a’ chànain, agus iad an dùil gum biodh i marbh am meadhan an 21mh linn. ….

.. It is by no means easy to make predictions about the future prospects for Gaelic. In the 1950s many observers were very pessimistic about the outlook for the language, with some predicting that Gaelic would die out by the middle of the 21st century.”

Fortunately, the status of Gaelic is in many ways much more secure in the early 21st century. But is it sustainable? That’s a question MacLeòid addresses in this issue’s lead article.

Other articles and features of this issue of An Naidheachd Againne include reviews of recent books, including Dr. Michael Newton’s “The Everyday Life of the Clans of the Scottish Highlands” and John Murray’s “Reading the Gaelic Landscape,” an interview with Carina MacLeod, the Gaelic-speaking comedian and actress from the Isle of Lewis, and information about the 2020 Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week, scheduled for July 5-10 in North Carolina.

As always, there’s information about upcoming events, online learning resources, interesting websites, grammar and conversational Gaelic, and more. To receive the newsletter, simply join ACGA, following the link on this website. The cost for an annual membership, which includes four issues of the newsletter, is only $35. If you’d like to review back issues, visit our free archive.

Britton, Kennedy, MacPhee coming to 2020 Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Week

Three highly acclaimed Scottish Gaelic singers and educators will be instructors at this year’s Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song & Language Week (GS&LW): Catriona MacPhee, Wilma Kennedy, and Màiri Britton. Registration for the GS&LW is now open, and may be completed online here.

The GS&LW will be held from Sunday, July 5, through Friday, July 10, at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina. Information on accommodations and costs is available on our 2o2o GS&LW page.

We are delighted to welcome Britton, Kennedy, and MacPhee to this year’s Gaelic song and language week.

Màiri Britton
Màiri Britton

Màiri Britton, a native of Scotland, now lives in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where she teaches at St. Francis Xavier University.  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.

She also is manager of the Nova Scotia Gaelic song project, “Language in Lyrics” (www.languageinlyrics.com), at Cape Breton University.

Wilma Kennedy
Wilma Kennedy

Wilma Kennedy is an award winning singer and actress originally from Glasgow but whose roots are in Skye and Tiree. She is a native Gaelic speaker who has sung for as long as she can remember and most recently sang with her family as part of “The Campbells of Greepe.” 

She is one of the few singers who has won both Gold and Traditional Gold Medals at the Royal National Mòd. Her passion for sharing and teaching songs is evident in her career both as a former Gaelic Song Tutor at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music and as conductor the Dundee Gaelic Choir.

Wilma currently teaches at a Gaelic Medium Primary School, with pupils from age 5-11 in a multi-composite class. She loves teaching her pupils songs as a way of telling social history and also for pure enjoyment. Wilma is particularly interested in waulking songs and sang for many years with the Glasgow Waulking group Bannal.

Catriona DEALBH
Catriona MacPhee

As the daughter of Mòrag and Finlay MacNeill, Catriona MacPhee grew up with Gaelic and the Highland Bagpipes, and they have remained lifelong passions. She won the Traditional Gold Medal at the Royal National Mòd in Lochaber in 1999, and represented Scotland at the Pan-Celtic Festival in Tralee, Ireland, in 2000.

Catriona has been a teacher for 28 years, the last 11 of them at the Inverness Royal Academy, and she is the chair of the Gaelic Teacher’s Association. She also is a member of the City of Inverness Pipe Band and has sung for many years with the Inverness Gaelic Choir and the group Siaban. “Gaelic, teaching, singing and piping have enhanced my life at all stages and I don’t intend to change that any day soon!” she said.

Spring Scottish Gaelic Classes Planned for New York

Screen Shot 2020-02-15 at 11.15.30 AMThe New York Caledonian Club, the heart of the Big Apple’s Gaelic Learning Community, is offering beginning and intermediate Scottish Gaelic classes this spring, and enrollment is open now.

The classes, which begin Feb. 25 and will run through May 5, will be held at the Ripley-Grier Studios in Midtown Manhattan, at 520 8th Avenue (between 36th and 37th Streets).

The beginner’s class (Scottish Gaelic 101) will be taught by John Grimaldi, and will use “Seallagain” — a free course by Catrìona NicIomhair Parsons available online — as its textbook. The intermediate class, Reading Scottish Gaelic, will be led by Don Ross, and will explore Gaelic literature. Both classes will be held on Tuesday evenings, starting at 6:30 p.m.

Tuition for both classes is $125 for NYCC members and $150 for the general public.