2014 Gaelic Song & Language Week, Grandfather Mountain


Interested in Scottish Gaelic, the ancient and revered tongue of Scotland that’s spoken and  sung today? Please join us for the 16th Annual Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week, July 6-11, 2014, at Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, NC.

An Comunn Gàidhealach Ameireaganach (The American Scottish Gaelic Society, ACGA) brings you three distinguished Gaelic Instructors for a week of educational and fun-filled classes at Beinn Seanair (Grandfather Mountain, in Gaelic). Christine Primrose is a Scottish Royal National Mòd gold medal winner for Gaelic song. Angus MacLeod is a revered story-teller and has worked in short Gaelic films. They will be teaching the intermediate and advanced classes. Nicholas (Neacal) Freer, a Gaelic learner and experienced teacher, will conduct the beginners’ classes.


Christine Primrose is a native of Carloway, Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides. As part of growing up in a traditional Gaelic community, she began singing at a young age. Christine is a Gold Medal winner for Gaelic singing at the Scottish Royal National Mòd for 1974 and her recent accolades include “Gaelic Singer of the Year” at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards in 2009. Her tours have taken her worldwide, including Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand, taking her distinctive voice and the Gaelic language to a wide audience. She is also in demand as a tutor: she currently tutors on the (BA) Gaelic and Traditional Music Course at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. We are delighted to have her join us at Beinn Seanair.

Here’s a fun clip of Christine in “Kitchen Music”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkpvDIXovt8 where she not only makes the meal, but sings for it, too!

Another clip of Christine performing Mo Cheist Am Fear Ban’ / My Darling Is the Fair One http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ne4UIEWjXE&list=PL280DBF3DE164A29F

Here’s an interesting article about Christine: http://www.folkmusic.net/htmfiles/inart663.htm


Angus MacLeod Photo

Angus MacLeod is a Gaelic speaker, singer, storyteller, artist, writer and actor. He was born to Gaelic speaking parents in a Cape Breton Gaidhealtachd. He learned  Gaelic on his own through song and by speaking with local elders, augmented by classes at various institutions in Nova Scotia. Angus began teaching in 1998. Since then he has taught Gaelic language and song at the Gaelic College of Arts and Crafts, St.Francis Xavier University, and Cape Breton University and at many venues throughout Canada and the U.S. Along with being a performer for Celtic Colours Festival for many years, Angus has appeared as an actor in three Gaelic short films. Angus was the first instructor in North America to use the Total Immersion Plus methodology for teaching Gaelic. He is presently Vice-President of, and a teacher with, the Atlantic Gaelic Academy as well as teaching in-person classes in Cape Breton, online classes as a private instructor and writing a bi-weekly Gaelic / English blog for Celticheart.ca.

He is a renowned story-teller and also an accomplished Gaelic singer who conducts Gaelic song workshops in Nova Scotia. We offer him the heartiest of welcomes to Beinn Seanair.

Click here to see Angus in the first Gaelic language short film made in North America, Faire Chaluim MhicLeoid / The Wake of Calum MacLeod  http://vimeo.com/7221607

Here’s Angus in a excerpt from the 2012 Gaelic rendition of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart / An Cridhe Cabaireach  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqU51d_ZTlA


 Nick Freer Photo

Nicholas (Neacal) Freer has been a student of Gaelic since 1988 and began teaching beginner and intermediate level students in 1995. A keen student himself, Neacal has attended the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s (Nova Scotia), Sabhal Mor Ostaig (Skye), as well as studying with Morag Craig at Cothrom Na Feinne. He served as US National Gaelic Mòd Chair from 2004 to 2010. He has won multiple gold medals in story-telling and been interviewed on Reidio nan Gaidheal. Several of Neacal’s students have gone on to compete at the Scottish Royal National Mòd and in the US National Mòd. Known as an energetic teacher who adds humor and merriment to the learning experience, we are pleased to have Neacal join us this summer.


Please join us for this wonderful week of Gaelic fun and learning! We hope to see you there!

If you can help us promote this great event, please contact John Grimaldi at iainmartainn at aol.com.

Registration is now open. Please visit http://www.acgamerica.org/events/grandfather-mountain/info to register.

U.S. National Mòd Is Coming!

The Mòd is coming!

The 26th annual Mòd is just around the corner – September 21, at the Ligonier Highland Games, near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. A great time to listen to native Gaelic speakers, fluent learners, and adventurous newcomers tackling Gaelic songs, stories and poems in competition and at cèilidhs. A great time to soak up as much Gaelic as you can in a friendly, relaxed environment. A great time to be part of a Gaelic community – without the cost of a roundtrip airfare to Scotland!

Both Gold Medalists from Scotland’s Royal National Mòd will be attending our event. This year, we will have the honor to welcome the female and male medalists, Eilidh Davies and Calum MacLeoid, brought to us courtesy of The Gaelic Society An Comunn Gaidhealach, in Scotland.

We will be having Catrìona Parsons from Cape Breton back as our adjudicator this year. Catrìona has been our adjudicator and a true friend of our Mòd competition since its inception, having been instrumental in creating the Mòd 26 years ago.  We welcome the opportunity to have her with us again this year.

If you have ever wanted to see the Mòd or meet with native speakers, to compete and try out your Gaelic, or just to attend the games and take in the Mòd experience, sign up!  The forms to make your reservations are here: http://usmod.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/reserve-your-place-at-the-2013-u-s-national-mod/

The form itself is: http://usmod.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/us-mod-2013-packet-2.pdf

We do ask that you send in your forms by September 14 so that we can get a good head count. We hope to also get a guest to come from Scotland or Cape Breton to do a special program – stay tuned!

We welcome donations to support our efforts to contiue holding Mòd Naiseanta Aimeiragaidh. Donations are tax-deductible in the United States as allowed by law. There is a donation page on the form mentioned above, and you can also donate on the AGCA website.

The Mòd Committee hope you will be able to join us in Ligonier, or if not, that you will consider making a donation.

Leis gach deagh dhùrachd,

Comataidh a’ Mhòid
Mòd Naiseanta Aimearagaidh 2013

2013 Gaelic Song & Language Week, Grandfather Mountain

Interested in Scottish Gaelic, the ancient and revered tongue of Scotland that’s still spoken today? Please join us for the 15th Annual Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week, July 7-12, 2013, at Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, NC.

An Comunn Gàidhealach Ameireaganach (The American Scottish Gaelic Society, ACGA) brings you three distinguished Gaelic Instructors for a week of educational and fun-filled classes. James Graham and Kirsteen MacDonald are both Scottish Royal National Mòd gold medal winners for song. They will be teaching the intermediate and advanced classes. Dr. Jamie MacDonald, who was instrumental in founding the Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week and the NC Provincial Mòd, will be teaching the beginners’ classes.

This year’s instructors:

James Graham is from Lochinver in the far Northwest corner of Sutherland. In 2004, James won the BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Award – the first male and first Gaelic singer to do so. In 2007, James won the gold medal in Gaelic singing at the Royal National Mòd in Lochaber. James is a talented singer as well as an accomplished piper and he has released two acclaimed solo albums. Here’s a sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm-UhubHMZw. James works with many artists in the Gaelic music scene, including Mary Ann Kennedy, Fiona Mackenzie, Brian Ó hEadhra, and Rachel Walker.

Kirsteen MacDonald is an award-winning singer and is a well-known BBC Gaelic television broadcaster. She has worked on the children’s show Dè a-nis? and is now BBC’s first ever Gaelic weather reporter. Kirsteen also presents the weekly news review programme, Seachd Là. In addition to teaching language and song, Kirsteen will also be covering the week’s activities and the Highland Games for the BBC.
Here’s a sample of Kirsteen’s music: http://www.musicinscotland.com/acatalog/MP3_Kirsteen_MacDonald_CDs.html.

North Carolina’s own Dr. Jamie MacDonald will be teaching the beginners’ classes this year. Jamie 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.

Gaelic song and language classes will range from absolute beginners to advanced, so everyone can join in the fun. Every afternoon there will be additional activities, such as special topic workshops and hikes along the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain Trails.

For those who choose to stay on for the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games the following weekend, there will be plenty of Gaelic heard at the Gaelic Tent, including the Gaelic sing-alongs. The 17th Annual North Carolina Provincial Gaelic Mòd will be held Saturday afternoon. The Mod is a Gaelic song competition that is open for anyone who wishes to take part.

More detailed information, including cost and registration form, is available at http://www.acgamerica.org/events/grandfather-mountain/.

To find out more about the Gaelic Week, you can contact Dr. Jamie MacDonald at 902-386-2072 or John Grimaldi at 917-756-3643. You may also contact us by email at gaelteach@gmail.com or iainmartainn@aol.com

Please join us!
A’ cumail na Gàidhlig Beò – Keeping Gaelic Alive!

2013 Immersion Weekend, Phoenix AZ

2013 Immersion Weekend, Phoenix AZ, April 18-21, 2013

Ceud Mìle Fàilte
gu Arizona!
(100,000 Welcomes
to Arizona!)
Caledonian Society Logo

An Comunn Gàidhealach Ameireaganach (ACGA) is pleased to be jointly sponsoring its 16th Annual Scottish Gaelic Immersion Weekend with the The Caledonian Society of Arizona (www.arizonascots.com). This will be the second ACGA Immersion Weekend held in Arizona, after a highly successful event last year in Flagstaff. The dates are April 18-21, 2013. A summary of the schedule is shown below.

The immersion weekend is a unique opportunity for learners of Scottish Gaelic to come together with more advanced and native speakers in both a classroom setting and informal gatherings. Whether you are a new learner with no experience or an advanced speaker, the immersion weekend will provide opportunities to speak Gaelic in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

We’ll likely have informal afternoon, or at least evening events on arrival day, Thursday, April 18th. We’ll have a full schedule of classes, workshops, and special events all day on Friday and Saturday, and morning sessions on Sunday, April 21. Extracurricular activities will include an evening events (banquet, ceilidh) on both Friday and Saturday evenings.

Our Teachers


Advanced Class: Michael Mackay began studying Scottish Gaelic in 1997 and has become fluent through the help of ACGA-sponsored events and through the teachers and native speakers he has met through the organization.  He has appeared on the BBC Radio nan Gaidheal station for occasional news interviews on Aithris na Maidne and the Coinneach Mòr program, and contributes to the Internet podcast program Gaelcast, together with Liam Cassidy and Ed Bradshaw.  Michael has been teaching Gaelic to students across the country, both on behalf of ACGA and via Skype on the Internet. We’re especially proud of him, though, for his second-place finish in the Traditional Singing competition at the 2011 Royal National Mòd of Scotland.

Intermediate Class: Muriel Fisher has brought the Gaelic language into the lives of more than a thousand students using her lively style of teaching. She is a native speaker from the Isle of Skye, who founded the Tucson Gaelic Institute in 1983 and developed her own two year Gaelic language learning program — available on Amazon. Currently she teaches at the University of Arizona and at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s summer short course program. Muriel conducts classes online, as well. She works with the Linguistics Department at the University of Arizona on a National Science Foundation grant studying the intricacies of Gaelic. You may also hear her from time to time on BBC Reidio nan Gaidheal.

Beginning Class: Scott Morrison has been studying Gaelic for over eight years. His teachers have included: Nick Freer, Liam Cassidy, Michael MacKay, Angus MacLeod (of Cape Breton), and Gillebride MacMillan (of South Uist).

Mr. Morrison has been teaching Gaelic through the Atlantic Gaelic Academy for the past three years and has been teaching his four children Gaelic since he started learning. He also taught at this event last year. An accomplished musician, Mr. Morrison teaches percussion and Celtic Traditional music in his studio called Rimshots. In particular, he teaches the Bodhràn, the Tin Whistle, the Bones, and the Spoons. Mr. Morrison also sings many Gaelic songs (learned from Gillebride) and won the men’s traditional singing contest in the US National Mòd in 2011. Mr. Morrison has also won numerous awards at previous Mòds for Gaelic poetry writing, poetry recitation, and story telling including the coveted Argyll Cup for outstanding scholarship three times.

Our Venue:

Classes and workshops will be at the Irish Cultural Center. This pleasant building is the center of culture for all of the Celtic organizations in Phoenix.

Irish Cultural Center, Phoenix

The Irish Cultural Center
1106 North Central Avenue
Phoenix Arizona 85004

Our Official Residence Hotel:

It is recommended that attendees book rooms at the Phoenix Place Hotel & Suites. We have arranged special group rates here, and transportation will be provided between this hotel and the classes and other events. Call 602-604-4906 to reserve a room. Ask for the ACGA Gaelic Weekend rate ($79/room/night, multiple occupancy allowed). Contact the Registrar (see below) if you would like help finding a roommate.

 Phoenix Place Hotel & Suites

The Phoenix Place Hotel & Suites
3600 North 2nd Ave Phoenix, Arizona 85013
Phone: 602.604.4900
Toll Free: 800.726.9969
Fax: 602.604.4901

The hotel website (http://www.phoenixplacehotel.com/) also contains useful information about local attractions, events, transportation, etc.

Event Schedule

Attendees should arrange to arrive the afternoon or evening of Thursday, April 18. We will have some sort of informal evening event on Thursday for those who arrive early enough. Classes will be held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning, and workshops on Friday and Saturday afternoons. There will be a ceilidh on Friday evening, and a banquet/ceilidh on Saturday evening.

The banquet on Saturday will be provided by the Caledonian Society.

We will be offering workshops on Friday and Saturday on Scottish History, Ceilidh Dance, Celtic percussion and Gaelic song which will be open to the public.

Registering for the Event

You’ll find the registration form, including all costs and special arrangements, here.

For Additional Information

For other information about the event, the venue, the local area, etc., contact either of:

ACGA Announces Youth Membership

The most important issue in keeping any minority language alive is the attraction of young people, be they children, high-school or college students, or other young adults. We often see that young folks who start learning Gaelic find it very rewarding. And it can serve as a gateway into other activities that they also enjoy, such as Celtic music, singing, dancing, Highland games, or learning about Celtic history and culture. ACGA is the principal North American organization supporting Scottish Gaelic and Gaelic culture, and we want to do everything we can to make Gaelic accessible to young people.

So we’ve established a new dues rate of $15/year for members aged 25 or younger. This dues payment entitles the eligible member to full membership. Members receive the quarterly newsletter An Naidheachd Againne (“Our News”), have access to our on-line forum and other resources, and receive tips and information via email. Members may also participate in ACGA events, including the annual Immersion Weekend, Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week, and the ACGA Mòd. There is even a mail-in mòd, in which Gaelic learners can compete from home for prizes, and obtain expert feedback on their Gaelic.

If you’re under 25 and interested in Gaelic, we hope you’ll consider this. Or if you know someone else under 25 who might be interested in this, please tell them about us. Or you could even give them a membership as a gift.

For more information, go to http://www.acgamerica.org/join/membership/.