Rachel Walker coming to Ligonier Mòd in September

 

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. Photo courtesy Rachel Walker.

Acclaimed Scottish Gaelic singer Rachel Walker is returning to America, this time to judge the Gaelic song competition at Mòd Ligonier 2019 in September.

The Mòd is a celebration of Scottish Gaelic song, music, poetry and storytelling based on Scotland’s Royal National Mòd and provincial Mòds. ACGA has held 30 National U.S. Mòds, many of them at Ligonier in western Pennsylvania.

Mòd Ligonier will be held Sept. 13-15, with the song competition taking place at the Ligonier Highland Games Sept. 14. More information will be available soon.

The Mòd continues ACGA’s tradition of welcoming Royal National Mòd Gold Medal winners to the United States. Walker, a singer, songwriter and tutor, won the prestigious medal in 2017. She was voted Gaelic Singer of the Year at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards in 2013 and nominated as Composer of the Year in 2015.

She is the conductor of the Lochaber District Gaelic Choir, which has won the Margrat Duncan prize for District Choirs at the last three Royal National Mòds.

In addition to teaching music at the West Highland College, University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI,) Walker performs with the groups Cruinn and Skippinish.

She recently adjudicated the song competition at Mòd nan Lochan Mòra/The Great Lakes Mòd in Ohio.

 

Still time to support ‘Anna Ruadh’

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The clock is ticking on the Kickstarter campaign supporting Anna Ruadh, a translation of Anne of Green Gables into Scottish Gaelic. Supporters have until midnight June 30 (Maritime time) to contribute to the crowdfunding campaign (click here).

As a stretch goal incentive, if the campaign raises CA$2,000 more than the original CA$15,000 goal, the cover illustrator will create original pen-and-ink chapter heading illustrations for the book.

Anna Ruadh is the latest Gaelic publishing project from Bradan Press of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and its founder, president and editor, Emily McEwan. Bradan Press came to life in 2016, with the publication of the Scottish Gaelic Tattoo Handbook, a “think before you ink” guide written by McEwan.

Since that colorful start, Bradan Press has produced several works, including two volumes of bagpipe music by collected by Barry Shears, and collections of Scottish Gaelic poetry by Lodaidh MacFhionghain, Marion F. NicIlleMhoire, Calum L. MacLeòid, and Marcus Mac an Tuairneir.

Canadian author L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables has been translated into more than 30 languages, but not into Scottish Gaelic, even though Gaelic has close cultural and historical connections to the author and Prince Edward Island. “We feel this is a major oversight, connected to the way that Gaels and Gaelic have been deliberately erased from Maritime and Canadian culture and history,” McEwan said in launching the crowdfunding campaign.

Bradan’s goal is to create a translation imbued with the charm and appeal of the original, while subtly localizing the story to represent Maritime Canadian Gaelic culture as well.

Mòrag Anna NicNèill, originally from the Isle of Harris and now a resident of the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, will translate Anne of Green Gables for the publisher. NicNèill has translated five children’s books from Scottish Gaelic to English and has written four original children’s books in Gaelic.

The planned publication date for Anna Ruadh is June 30, 2020. Bradan hope to launch the book in Prince Edward Island following the L.M. Montgomery Institute’s Fourteenth Biennial Conference, 25-28 June, 2020. Contributors to the Kickstarter campaign will receive a variety of rewards, based on their contributions.

Visit Bradan Press and Kickstarter for more information.

 

YouTube nan Gaidheal #1: Can Seo

Since its launch in February 2005, YouTube has changed the way a generation consumes video content, and now it offers new ways to learn languages, including Scottish Gaelic.

There’s a vast and growing amount of material about Scottish Gaelic and in Gàidhlig available on YouTube, which is big enough now to challenge more traditional television, cable and streaming content for viewer’s interest. That material isn’t collated in one place, so you have to search for it, and sometimes it’s hard to find what you need.

In this series of articles, we’ll look at various resources available for Gaelic learners on YouTube.  Eventually, ACGA will have links to these resources on its website. (Shockingly, ACGA has only a couple of videos on its YouTube channel. We’ll have to address that as well.)

We’ll start with a resource that the oldest of ACGA’s grey-heads will remember, but many younger members may not know: The 1979 BBC Gaelic-learning program “Can Seo.”

Can Seo is a 20-episode Gaelic course for beginners that was broadcast in 1979, accompanied by a book and audio and videotapes. At the time ACGA was formed in the 1980s, Can Seo was the latest (really the only) multimedia course available. Distribution and use of the videos was tightly controlled by the BBC (unlike the book and cassette tapes, the videos weren’t available for purchase).

ACGA was licensed at the time to use a limited set of the videos in study groups. Thirty-five years later, all 20 episodes of Can Seo are available on YouTube. You can find them by searching for Can Seo. Much has changed in Gaelic education in 40 years, and there are more recent learning programs, such as Speaking our Language, available, but Can Seo’s lessons are still valuable, not only for the Gaelic content, but its views of life back in 1979!

— Liam Ó Caiside