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.
Tiber F.M. Falzett is the University of North Carolina’s visiting lecturer in Scottish Gaelic Studies. His research has explored endangered minority language communities in Atlantic Canada, especially Scottish Gaelic. An accomplished singer and piper, he has taught and performed in a range of venues, from village halls to national broadcast media, in Scotland and Canada. He has taught at the University of Prince Edward Island and in the Department of Celtic Studies, St. Francis Xavier University, in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He especially values opportunities to share the Scottish Gaelic language and its music with others. He believes that language and music have the power to break down barriers and bring people together.
North Carolina’s own Jamie MacDonald holds a Ph.D. in Scottish Studies from the University of Edinburgh and a DipHE in Gaelic and Related Studies from Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in the Isle of Skye. Jamie has taught Gaelic language and song in the U.S. and Scotland, and was Professor of Celtic Studies at St. Francis Xavier University in Canada. He is a member of ACGA’s board of directors.
Andrea Kluge will be helping to teach our beginners’ course in Gaelic this year. A Gaelic learner herself, Andrea studied the language for a number of years in Edinburgh before moving to the Isle of Skye to further her studies at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic College there.
She has a first-class honours degree in Gaelic and was named student of the year during her senior year at Sabhal Mòr. Andrea is currently employed fulltime at the College. In true Highland fashion, Andrea wears many hats at Sabhal Mòr, including acting as Gaelic tutor for evening classes in the community and organising and leading Gaelic conversation groups at the College, usually through the medium of cake.
Everything goes better with cake! In addition to her other duties, Andrea has served as an ambassador for the College, promoting the College at conferences and other venues. In her role as ambassador, she would be happy to answer any questions about Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and their courses.