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/.

Materials Available for 26th ACGA Mòd

Register to receive materials for the 26th ACGA Mòd by PayPal.

The Mòd materials are ready! Register now for ACGA’s 26th annual U.S. Mòd, to be held in Ligonier, PA on September 20th, 21st, and 22nd 2013. Your registration will get you all the songs required for you to compete in the Mòd in September. The materials are also provided for the mail-in Mòd, for those who want to try their skills at the written word! Please go to http://usmod.wordpress.com for further information and updates on the Mòd. We are very pleased that our adjudicator this year will be Catrìona Parsons from Lewis and Cape Breton!

You may register for these mod materials using PayPal or a credit card by going to http://payments.acgamerica.org.

Once we receive your registration we’ll email you with the link to the Mòd materials and the password to get in and download the sound files and documents.

We’ll also keep you on a mailing list to send you updates about the Mòd, including the forms needed to book rooms at the Antiochian Village, where we stay for the Mòd weekend each year, and for the Mòd banquet choices, as well as the most important thing – what competitions you’ll be doing! Please come register for the Mòd, take part, and help keep the wonderful tradition of Gaelic song and prose alive!

An Naidheachd Againne, Winter 2012 Issue Is Available

The Winter, 2012, issue of our newsletter, An Naidheachd Againne, has been released.

Members should have received it, but they can also obtain it online, by logging in to the ACGA Forum, and checking the Members Room.

Non-members can obtain issues through Summer 2012 in the Public Room of the forum, which requires no login, though you’re welcome to create an account and join our discussions whether you’re a member or not.