Young Scot group promotes Gaelic

Young Scot launches a national campaign last month to interest young people in Scottish Gaelic.
Young Scot launched its Gaelic campaign in Edinburgh last month.

Youth organization and charity Young Scot wants to interest more young people in learning and using Scottish Gaelic. The group launched a national campaign last month that will provide a variety of services, resources and information online in Gaelic on topics from managing money to puberty.

“We know developing language skills is a great way to strengthen career prospects available to Scotland’s young people,” Ruairidh Hamilton, Gaelic Development Officer at Young Scott, said in a statement.

“This project is a really exciting way for Young Scot to give Gaelic speakers the resources that they need and to showcase the benefits of adopting the Gaelic language in everyday life,” he said. “We want young people to have easy access to advice and support that can help them achieve their future ambitions.”

The group, which has 675,000 members aged 11 to 26 in Scotland, has published information in Gaelic on several topics on its website, including a “Simple Guide to Learning Gaelic” and a section on “Cothroman Gàidhlig: Gàidhlig Opportunities.” It also offers discounts on books and travel and rewards for completing activities, such as writing a biography in Gaelic.

There’s growing demand for opportunities to learn and use Gaelic among young Scots, said the organization. Young Scot also wants to encourage members to pursue career opportunities through Gaelic.  A 2014 survey estimated the Gaelic language is worth almost £150 million to the Scottish economy and offers career prospects in industries ranging from tourism to education.

The national campaign was launched at the Young Scot head office in Edinburgh, where first-time speakers and young Gaelic enthusiasts took part in an interactive Q&A with a panel that included representatives from the Scottish Parliament. The event highlighted the benefits of young people learning the historic and culturally rich language in the modern world.

Visit the Gaelic campaign at https://young.scot/gaelic

Follow Young Scot on Twitter at @YoungScot

— Liam Ó Caiside

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ACGA is looking for correspondents interested in contributing short news items about Scottish Gaelic events and activities. Would you like to contribute?  Send an email to Liam.

Mòd Ligonier Puts US Spotlight on Scottish Gaelic Song, Language

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Scottish Gold Medalist Alasdair Currie sings at Mòd Ligonier and the Ligonier Highland Games.


Scottish Gaelic song, story and poetry rang out at the Ligonier Highland Games this year when ACGA held its latest Mòd — a day-long competition in Gaelic language arts and tradition. The popularity of the Mòd — ACGA has held one in Ligonier each year since 1995 — demonstrates how important Gaelic song is to learning, teaching, and promoting Scottish Gaelic in North America.

Mòd Ligonier, held at the games Saturday, Sept. 22, featured singers, musicians, storytellers, a Gaelic choir, and special guest Alasdair Currie, winner of the 2017 men’s gold medal at the Royal National Mòd in Scotland. Alasdair and Mike Mackay, ACGA president, adjudicated the competitions.

AA Scottish Gaelic song competition will be held as well at the Central Virginia Celtic Festival Oct. 27, held in Richmond. That competition is sponsored by the Learned Kindred of Currie and Currie Family Cultural Tent.

The US National Mòd is expected to return next year in a larger format, and perhaps in a new location. Contact Michael Mackay for more information or if you would like to help with the event.

The results of Mòd Ligonier 2018 competitions are as follows:

Bàrdachd (poetry recital):

First place, Anne Alexander; Second place equal Cam MacRae and Hilary Rosado

Sgeulachd (storytelling):

FFirst place, Cam MacRae; Second place, Hilary Rosado

Sight reading:

First place, Hilary Rosado; Second place, Cam MacRae, Third place, Anne Alexander.

Open song:

First place, Anne Alexander; Second place, Hilary Rosado; Third place, Sharon McWhorter

Combined (one prescribed, one self select song):

First place Anne Alexander; Second place, Mary Wake

Accompanied song:

First place, Carol Kappus, Second place, Anne AlexanderK

Còisir (choir):

Còisir Ghàidhlig Ohio

Harmonized singing:

First place, Sharon McWhorter and Anne Alexander.

Photo of Alasdair Currie, top, by Michael Mackay; Photos of Mòd competitions and competitors (Còisir Ghàidhlig Ohio, upper left, seated, Cam MacRae; lower right, standing, Sharon McWhorter) by Thomas Ashby McCown.

Cracking the ‘Halloween Nut’ in North Carolina: A Free Public Event

Samhain

You may be aware that Halloween is derived from the Gaelic (and more broadly, Celtic) festival of Oidhche Shamhna and Samhain. The festival, with its pre-Christian roots, commemorated the last phase of the harvest season, ancestors, and the end of the old (agricultural) year. But how much do you really know about the Samhain customs and beliefs of the Scottish Highlanders?

To dig past the commercial trappings of the modern holiday (and modern misconceptions) and get at its roots, plan to attend a free public lecture at the University of North Carolina Oct. 26 called “A’ Cnagadh Cnù na Samha: Cracking the Halloween Nut: Sensing and Making Sense of a Scottish Highland Calendar Custom.” The lecture will be delivered by Dr. Tiber Falzett, the inaugural visiting lecturer in Scottish Gaelic Studies at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Dr. Falzett will explore the unique and universal aspects of Halloween folkways among Scottish Highlanders in North America and in Scotland, using field recordings of custom and belief within Gaelic-speaking communities, newspaper editorials, and song compositions. Together, these Gaelic voices will bring to life the cultural significance of Halloween for Highland immigrant communities, providing valuable insights into the reasons for Halloween’s near-universal appeal.

Learning more about the Gaelic customs of Oidhche Shamhna will help attendees compare Halloween’s many divergent re-interpretations as it has become popularized around the world. It will also help Gaelic learners and speakers reconnect with the holiday as Scottish Highlanders and their descendants in North America celebrated it yesterday and today.

The lecture is scheduled for 6:30 pm to 8 pm in UNC’s Kenan Music Building, room 1201, at 125 S. Columbia Street in Chapel Hill. There will be a celebratory reception afterward.

The lecture also celebrates the the first Scottish Heritage USA Scottish Gaelic Visiting Lectureship at UNC, a major step in advancing Scottish Gaelic Studies in the United States. The lectureship is funded by Scottish Heritage USA and is the result of a two-year campaign by the Scottish Gaelic Foundation of the USA or Gaelic USA.

Before coming to UNC this fall, Falzett, a fluent Scottish Gaelic speaker, lectured in the Department of History at the University of Prince Edward Island. He previously lectured at 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.

For more information, visit the lecture’s event page on Facebook.

Registration open for Mòd Ligonier; Islay’s Alasdair Currie to attend

Alasdair Currie
Alasdair Currie, 2017 Royal National Mòd men’s gold medal winner.

Registration is now open for Mòd Ligonier 2018, which will be held at the Ligonier Highland Games in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, Sept. 22, and Sunday, Sept. 23.

Download the registration form in pdf format by clicking on the link below, choose your competitions, and return it to registrar Anne Alexander by email. You may bring payment to the Mòd on Sept. 22.

Mod Ligonier Registration 2018

Mòd Ligonier will feature competitions in Scottish Gaelic song, poetry, storytelling familiar to those who’ve attended ACGA’s U.S. National Mòd in years past. (The national Mòd, which celebrated its 30th anniverary last year, is on hiatus this year as we plan a larger gathering in 2019.)

We’re delighted to welcome as Alasdair Currie and our own Michael Mackay as adjudicators. Currie was born and raised on the Isle of Islay, Scotland, and lived on a farm called Ballachlaven at the north end of the island. He began singing and competing in mòds at a very young age. As a child he won the ‘Dunoon Observer Gold Medal’ for boy’s solo singing 10-12, the James C. Macphee badge for boy’s solo singing 13-15, and the open competition for boys aged 16-18.

In his first year competing as an adult at the Royal National Mòd, Currie won the Silver Pendant in Oban. He finished third in the Gold Medal competition the next year in Lewis and won the Gold Medal in Fort William in 2017.  He is one of more than 20 gold medal winners from the Royal National Mòd since 1998 who have attended the U.S. National Mòd and now Mòd Ligonier.

Alasdair studied bagpipes and small pipes at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye, for three years, achieving a degree with distinction in Gaelic and Traditional Music and received tutoring from Christine Primrose, Arthur Cormack and Blair Douglas.

Michael Mackay
Michael Mackay, ACGA president


Michael Mackay
has been learning Scottish Gaelic since the late 1990s, and is now a fluent contributor to BBC radio and television programs such as Aithris na Maidne (The Morning Report) and Prògram Choinnich (Kenny MacIver’s morning show). 
He also, along with Liam Cassidy and Ed Bradshaw, created an Internet Gaelic news topic show, Gaelcast, and produced An Saoghal Againne, a Gaelic news program for Rèidio Guth nan Gàidheal, now archived and available on Mixcloud.

Mackay is president of ACGA. He has adjudicated at the North Carolina Provincial Mòd, connected with ACGA’s Grandfather Mountain Song and Language Week and the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Mackay has won the gold medal at the U.S. National Mòd several times, as well as getting several first place wins at the Royal Mòd in Scotland in prose competitions, and a second place in the Traditional Gold Medal competition.

Lodging

This year, we won’t be staying at the Antiochian Village. Mòd attendees are free to choose lodging that suits their budgets in the Ligonier area. There are many hotels in the area, but it’s best to book early, as the Ligonier Highland Games draws thousands of people to the region.

We’ll be gathering on Friday night before the Saturday event, and the location and schedule should be available soon. Keep an eye on this page for more information!

ACGA ‘Mini-Mòd’ Coming to Ligonier Sept. 21-23

Celebrating after a recent ACGA Mòd in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. Join us this year Sept. 21-23 in Ligonier for a "mini-Mòd" as we prepare a bigger event for 2019.
Celebrating after a recent ACGA Mòd in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. Join us this year Sept. 21-23 in Ligonier for a “mini-Mòd” as we prepare a bigger event for 2019.

ACGA’s National Mòd in Pennsylvania is on hiatus for 2018 as we re-tool for an expanded event in 2019, but we’ve gotten a large number of inquiries and requests to get together in Ligonier again this year, to have a smaller, informal Mòd.

We just can’t let the year go by without keeping the tradition of singing, storytelling, poetry, and good times going in some form! We are very fortunate to have Alasdair Currie, the An Comunn Gàidhealach Royal Mòd men’s Gold Medal winner from 2017, come visit us for the event – and the women’s Gold Medalist, Rachel Walker, is working with us to come over at a future date! 

We will be in Ligonier , Pennsylvania, Sept. 21-23, 2018, just like always, but we’ll be gathering on Friday at a nearby hotel, and anyone who wants to come to the Mòd can find accommodations in the area — whatever works for your budget! More details to come soon!