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Hebrides News


This year’s Ceòlas summer school in South Uist was a huge success say organisers.


Tutors comprised of some of the best traditional musicians, singers and dancers from Scotland and Canada.


Dancers Mats Melin, Frank McConnell and Sophie Stephenson held classes ranging in skill from complete beginners to experts soon to be teaching themselves.


Fin Moore and Seonaidh MacIntyre led the Piping for Dancing classes. Griogair Labhruidh, of North Bail’ a’ Chaolais, is becoming a great exponent of pìobaireachd. Ashley MacDonald led the youth pipers and their own compositions, performed at Friday’s concert, were at very high standards and their contributions to the cèilidhs were outstanding.


Shelly Campbell and Kenneth MacKenzie, from Cape Breton, were joined by Allan Henderson and Eilidh Shaw, teaching youth and adult fiddle classes. Their own skill was ably demonstrated to full-houses at the evening cèilidhs and concerts throughout the week.


Ingrid Henderson, whose clàrsach class was highly appreciated, was indispensable during the week’s numerous cèilidhs. Mary Ann Kennedy, who MC’d the Cèilidh Mhòr, described her not only as a highly talented musician but that ‘rare’ type of person who is also an adept accompanist.





















Gaelic class numbers are steadily growing each year and have become a great draw to many students looking to experience the authentic Gaelic-speaking communities in Uist. Ably handled by Catrìona MacIntyre, Catrìona Black and Ailig ‘Bhaltos’ MacDonald, the Gaelic drama showcased at the Friday crossover concert is one of the highlights for many.

In particular, the 2017 summer school will be remembered for the song. New to the week was Mary Jane Lamond, from Cape Breton, who was joined by Rachel Walker and Christine Primrose. Their contributions, along with a number of local talent, on Wednesday night’s song cèilidh was considered by many in attendance as the best singers’ concert ever held by Ceòlas.


The theme, centred around Bho Ghinealach gu Ginealach, a book of song-poetry from the Campbell family of Taobh a Deas Loch Baghasdail in South Uist, saw a mixture of local and Highland songs for two and a half hours of spellbound unaccompanied performance.


The Campbell family themselves were represented by Ruairidh MacKay, Dòmhnall Ruairidh and Dòmhnall Anthony Campbell, who sang their personal favourites.


















Walks centred around two books: the recently relaunched Eriskay Where I Was Born went out to Roisinis to hear readings by Màiri MacKenzie, and Bho Ghinealach gu Ginealach saw the Campbells giving a tour of their own township in Taobh a Deas Loch Baghasdail. Rona Hyslop, a Gaelic learner from Fife, exhibited her fine oil paintings all week long.


The proposed music centre development at Cnoc Soilleir in Daliburgh was discussed on Thursday by John Renshaw who consulted on four possible building options for the site.

Canadian fiddler Kenneth MacKenzie was one of the tutors

The youth pipers

The evening ended with a rendition of ‘A Pheigi a Ghràidh’ performed by 18 singers on stage. Worthy of a mention was a surprise appearance by Michelle MacNeil Walker (pictured left) from Barra who left the audience wanting more of her singing.


All events were to full houses, with the community coming out in droves to hear the talented tutors. The cèilidh mòr featured the usual huge programme which enabled the tutors to share their talent with the wider community. Griogair Labhruidh sang two songs off his debut album ‘Dail Riata’, which marked 10 years since its launch.


Sold-out Ceòlas 2017 abuzz with music and craic  

11 July 2017