Music - Ce˛l
While there are many good exponents of traditional instrumental music throughout the islands, it is for the talents of unaccompanied Gaelic singing (ranging from the puirt a beul - mouth music - to the emotive song of the exile) that the Outer Hebrides is most highly regarded. Whether in the clear bright notes of a singer at a ceilidh (an informal gathering) or the hauntingly beautiful sound of a religious congregation as they join in the precentor in embellishing the melodic notes of a Gaelic psalm, the music very much reflects the history and feelings of the local people. Local songs, written about places, events and people in the islands, are very common and popular at parties and as radio requests.
Accordion music is popular, and a particular Hebridean style of playing is found, sounding similar to the North American Cajun to the untrained ear! The music of the bagpipes is also common, more so than fiddle music, which, though once developed to, a characteristic Hebridean style (now experiencing a rejuvenation from Cape Breton, Canada) is now only sparingly found in these islands. Other instruments are also played, of course, often accompanying Scottish Folk dancing, and if you are fortunate enough to discover a traditional dance evening in one of the small village halls during your stay, you will need plenty of stamina to remain dancing until the last couple has left the dance floor!
If you are really lucky, you may come upon a display of the unique Hebridean dancing, a highly individual story telling form of dance which was rescued from extinction by enthusiasts at the Barra community arts festival (Feis Bharraigh) and which is becoming a popular addition to the repertoire of dancers in other areas of the islands.
Hebridean Celtic Festival - FŔis Cheilteach Innse Gall
Location, location, location and err... music, this Festival has it all; the misty shores of the Outer Hebrides, the sea, the sand, the standing stones and some of the best music you've ever heard. Now more than 15 years old, this vibrant and diverse gathering has become one of the most eagerly awaited attractions on the Celtic music calendar.
Taking place in mid July, the Festival boasts one of the largest venues in the north of Scotland. The large marquee, capable of accommodating up to 5000, is located in the scenic grounds of Lews Castle, Stornoway and plays host to the supercharged late night shows.
Previous artists include a true cross section of contemporary and traditional Celtic music from the likes of the mighty Runrig, Capercaillie and La Bottine Souriante, the fine tradition of the Alasdair Fraser, Natalie McMaster, Sharon Shannon, Davy Spillane and Dougie MacLean; the world influences of Afro Celt Sound System, Baka Beyond; Celtic fusion from Martyn Bennet, Tartan Amoebas and The Peatbog Faeries and some of the finest exponents of the Gaelic tradition, Cliar, Mackenzie, Maggie MacInnes, Alyth McCormack and Anna Murray.
Outside the central marquee you'll find a host of events taking place all over the island, catering for a variety of tastes both musical and otherwise. Workshops often given by many of the Festival's performers can be found alongside lectures and children's entertainment. Numerous pub sessions in Stornoway and the surrounding area also add flavour to both the music and the setting.
Drawing a diverse audience from many parts of the world, this Festival is not simply one of the most exciting events in the Hebrides' calendar - it is an event of international repute, playing a crucial role in the preservation and development of the rich culture of Celtic music that is the heritage of an international community.
Come and join us! Find out more and get your tickets on the Hebridean Celtic Festival web site...
Share in the Gaelic language, the music, the dance and the place!
Ceolas is a unique summer school set in the Gaelic speaking community of South Uist in the Hebrides. Ceolas is a music and dance summer school featuring expert tuition in piping, fiddling, singing, Scotch reels and Quadrilles, Step Dancing and the Gaelic language. Ceolas explores the vital connections between Scottish Traditional music, Gaelic song and dance while allowing ample forms in ceilidhs and in homes, the place which fostered them.
Classes during Ce˛las are all held in Daliburgh School in Daliburgh (Dalabrog) at the south end of South Uist. Each day follows a set format. You can ease yourself into the day by joining one of the optional classes in Gaelic language (for learners) or Gaelic lectures (for fluent speakers),even if you have been out "ceilidh-ing" till dawn!
Typically, tuition takes place between 9.30am and 4.30pm. Thereafter there is a range of options available to participants. A lively fringe programme, which includes cŔilidhs, community concerts and dances, is organised by Ce˛las. A particular highlight are the 'house cŔilidhs' at which tutors, participants and local folk get together in houses in the community and sing, dance and play the night away.
A record-breaking number of people attended the Ce˛las music and dance summer school in South Uist last July. Attendance more than doubled compared with the year before, marking a further major expansion for the event that was first held in 1996.
If you aren't already aware of the old Gaelic saying "Thig crioch air an t-saoghal ach mairidh gaol agus ce˛l" - the world will come to an end but music and love will endure - you'll be a firm convert to its fundamental truth by the end of the Ce˛las week.
Ceolas summer music school takes place in early July each year, for more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.ceolas.co.uk.