Two classic Scottish Gaelic songs — Gillean Ghleann Dail for men and A Fhleasgaich Òig as Ceanalta for women — were chosen as prescribed songs for the Gold Medal competition at the U.S. National Mòd this September. These are both highly popular songs that have been recorded by several artists, including Arthur Cormack, Flora MacNeill and Maggie MacInnes.
The men’s prescribed song, Gillean Ghleann Dàil (“Lads of Glendale”) was composed by Iain Dubh MacLeòid, known as Iain Dubh Dhòmhnaill nan Òran (Black Iain son of Donald of the Songs). The song is a warning to the young men of Glendale on the West Coast of Skye about the hardships of life at sea in the 19th century. Iain’s brother Niall MacLeòid is a famous 19th century Gaelic Bàrd or poet, best known for his collection Clàrsach an Doire (1893), which may contain some songs by Iain Dubh. The works the father and both sons are featured in “The Glendale Bards,” edited by Meg Bateman and Ann Loughran (Birlinn, 2014).
Download a PDF copy of the song at mod-2017-mens-prescribed.
Here’s a recording of Scottish Mòd Gold Medalist Darren MacLean singing the song. More recordings may be found on Tobar an Dualchais.
The women’s prescribed song, A Fhleasgaich Òig as Ceanalta (“O Young and Gentle Lad”) allegedly was composed by one Ceit NicFhionghain of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull. Our version has the object of her affection being a MacPhàil from Mull, though there are several different but closely related versions.
Download a PDF copy of the song at mod-2017-womens-prescribed.
Here’s a YouTube video of the Gaelic group Cliar performing the song:
We hope you enjoy these songs, and we hope to hear many people singing them at the U.S. National Mòd, Sept. 23!
To those always looking for new reading material in Gaelic, especially from North America, we recommend a visit to the website of the Nova Scotia Archives. There, in a section on historical newspapers, you’ll find four Scottish Gaelic periodicals, all published in Sydney, Cape Breton, in the first half of the 20th century: Teachdaire nan Gaidheal (1924-1934), Fear na Céilidh (1928-1930), Mosgladh (1922-1933) and An Solus Iùil (1925-1927).
These newspapers followed Mac-Talla, a biweekly newspaper published by Jonathan MacKinnon from Sydney between 1892 and 1904. The entire corpus of Mac-Talla is available online through Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Scottish Gaelic university on the Isle of Skye. Some issues are also available through the Nova Scotia archives.
The periodicals are only part of the records preserved by the Nova Scotia Archives that document the province’s rich Gaelic roots and continuing Gaelic-language culture, heritage, and traditions. Some additional links to resources are collected under the archive’s Gaelic Resources: Goireasan Gàidhlig page.
The archives presented these four Gaelic newspapers in partnership with the Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University, and Nova Scotia’s Office of Gaelic Affairs.
Two East Coast Gaelic Learning Communities plan to meet up on Sunday, June 4, from 1-5 pm, for a picnic and Gaelic hike at Carderock Recreation Area just outside Washington, D.C.
Gàidhlig Photomac, a group of Gaelic learners in the DC-Northern Virginia-Southern Maryland area, will join with Sgoil Ghàidhlig Bhaile an Taigh Mhòir, the Baltimore Gaelic School, for càirdeas, ceòl, cluichean agus coiseachd (fun, music, games and walking).
The outing will start at 1 pm (try to get there a bit early), with a short class and a game, followed by the hike (which should be an easy one). We’ll learn appropriate Gaelic phrases and vocabulary on the way, and return for our picnic by about 3 pm.
This is the first joint event sponsored by the two groups, and a sign of growing interest in linking Gaelic Learning Communities throughout North America in social activities as well as language learning.
ACGA recently completed an initial survey on Gaelic Learning Communities and is looking for ways to actively support and encourage them and connect them.
For information on the picnic, visit Sgoil Ghàidhlig Bhaile an Taigh Mhòir’s Facebook page, or the Meetup page of Gàidhlig Photomac.
— Liam Ó Caiside
We’re delighted to announce Mary MacMillan, Gaelic teacher and singer from South Uist, will join us this year as an instructor at the Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week.
Mary taught at the 2010 Gaelic Week and now she’s coming back by popular demand. This week’s program runs from Sunday, July 2 through Friday, July 7, 2017 at Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, North Carolina. (Register here).
Mary MacMillan was born and raised on the island of South Uist in the Western Isles of Scotland. Scottish Gaelic is her first language. She has been singing Gaelic songs all her life and was a regular singer at the local Uist Mòd and cèilidhs from the age of five. As a teen, she competed and sang nationally.
Mary now has a career teaching in Gaelic medium education. Gaelic singing is an important part of her life and she regularly sings at cèilidhs and festivals throughout Scotland and Ireland. She is also an experienced fèis tutor. In 2007, she won the Traditional Singing Gold Medal at the Lochaber Mòd and the following year she was runner up in the Pan Celtic Festival in Donegal Town, Ireland.
Mary sings many songs collected from South Uist tradition bearers, and she is interested in a wide range of contemporary and traditional songs. She is one of the singers featured along with Seumas Campbell, Margaret Callan, and her younger brother Gillebrìde MacMillan, on the CD “An Lorg nam Bàrd: In the Footsteps of the Bards: Traditional Gaelic Singing from the Uists”. Mary has also sung with the renowned waulking group “Bannal.”
Mary joins two other instructors, Angus MacLeod of Cape Breton and Alasdair Whyte of the Isle of Mull.
We are delighted to welcome Mary back to Beinn Seanair!