Gillebrìde MacMillan, Rachel Walker to adjudicate ACGA Online Mòd

Plans are quickly taking shape for ACGA’s first Virtual US National Mòd on Saturday, Nov. 7. Two of Scotland’s leading Gaelic singers and educators, Rachel Walker and Gillebrìde MacMillan, will judge competitions in Gaelic storytelling, poetry, and song, and each will offer workshops as well.

The entire event will be conducted through the Zoom video conferencing app, just like ACGA’s Grandfather Mountain Song and Language Week and the North Carolina Provincial Mòd in July.

Rachel Walker won the women's gold medal at the 2017 Royal National Mòd.
Rachel Walker won the women’s gold medal at the 2017 Royal National Mòd.

Rachel Walker is a Gaelic singer, songwriter and tutor living in the Scottish Highlands. A member of the quartet Cruinn and the group Skippinish, Rachel was voted Gaelic Singer of the Year at the Scottish traditional Music Awards in 2013.

She became involved with Gaelic song from a very young age, competing at local Mòd’s and performing at local cèilidhs. She studied Gaelic song with renowned tutor Kenna Campbell at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She has adjudicated at regional Mòds in the United States.

Gillebrìde MacMillan hails from South Uist in the Outer Hebrides. He is a lecturer at the University of Glasgow teaching Gaelic language, literature, and song. He also is the winner of the men’s gold medal at the Royal National Mòd in Scotland, and a former adjudicator at the ACGA Mòd.

Gillebrìde MacMillan with US National Mòd Women's 2015 gold medallist Connie Smith.
Gillebrìde MacMillan with US National Mòd Women’s 2015 gold medallist Connie Smith.

Gillebride also is a translator, a piper, and an actor, playing Gwyllyn the Bard in Starz Outlander.

We expect the online US Mòd, untethered by a physical location, to draw people from all over North America. We hope you will join us, either as a competitor or an attendee to learn more about Scottish Gaelic culture and the “vocal arts” of song, poetry and storytelling.

Registration information will be available shortly.


ACGA to hold Virtual National Mòd in November

WaulkingMark your calendars — An Comann Gàidhealach Ameireaganach (ACGA) will hold its 31st US National Mòd entirely online the weekend of Nov. 7-8. The Mòd Committee is contacting adjudicators and making plans for the competitions and any other events, and more information will be available soon.

The coronavirus has pushed all types of events online this year, including ACGA’s Grandfather Mountain Song and Language Week. That event not only survived the transition but grew, drawing 43 people this year. We expect the virtual US Mòd, untethered by a physical location, will draw more people from all points of North America as well.

The event will be live, much like the online North Carolina Mòd that followed the Grandfather Mountain week in July. Look for more information at this site and on Facebook soon!

Cape Breton’s Féis an Eilein Goes Virtual, Puts Concerts Online

Many of us are missing the opportunity to travel to Cape Breton this year, especially to Féis an Eilein, which is celebrating its 30th year despite the coróna-bhioras (COVID-19).

The weeklong event in August is a highlight of the Gaelic year in Nova Scotia. The féis, held on Eilean na Nollaig or Christmas Island, is the first to be held outside Scotland.

But don’t despair. Even if you can’t go to the féis this year, the féis can come to you.

Féis an Eilein has gone virtual, like many events, and its concerts are available on the organization’s website, and through its YouTube channel. They’ll bring Cape Breton into your own home.

First up, Aug. 18, was the Mòd nam Fìdhlearan, the Fiddler’s Court concert.

Second, on Aug. 19, Cèilidh nam Pìobairean, the famous Piper’s Cèilidh.

Keep an eye out for other programs from Féis an Eilein.