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!

Preparing for the Gaelic Song & Language Week this July 9-13

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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.

 

 

Hebridean Students Bring Gaelic, Music to NYC for Tartan Day

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)!

 

Uncovering ‘Hidden History’ in Gaelic Poetry

 

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.