The community of South Uist welcomed a record number of students attending the Ceòlas summer school in the first week of July, 2018. A total of 142 students attended the school, taking part in classes including piping, fiddle, dance, clàrsach, Gaelic language and song. A new Gaelic-medium class on Uist-based oral-lore, or seanchas, was also well attended.
With the weather in full cooperation and all classes filled to the brim, the summer school’s success meant that it is nearing capacity for its current location in Sgoil Dhalabroig. Friday’s Cèilidh Mòr in the Southend Hall was sold out, with standing room only, and all other events were very well attended by both students and locals. The new building of Cnoc Soilleir, for which presentations were held during the latter half of the week, will relieve this issue when it is due to open in 2020. Dr Alasdair Allan MSP, Iain MacMillan and other community representatives also visited the school to be updated on the project.
In addition to daily classes, two walks, one lead by Mrs Fiona Bird foraging at Bàgh Mòr in Taobh a Deas Ghleann Dail and another by Ceòlas’ Liam Crouse and Roddy MacDonald of Lochboisdale to Cill Choinnich, Lochboisdale, were attended by more than 40 people each. At the Cill Choinnich Walk and a Dram, Liam spoke about one of Ceòlas’ latest projects working in partnership with Dr Thomas Clancy of Glasgow University’s Celtic Department to research the early ecclesiastical history of Uist, of which Lochboisdale features at least two sites. This project, funded through Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Colmcille scheme, will launch a website in August containing a directory of hagiotoponyms in Uist.
Monday night’s Piping Night was recorded by the BBC for both piping programmes, Pipeline and Crunluath. In addition to the BBC, Mìcheal Klevenhaus and a crew from Media Coop were recording aspects of the summer school for a forthcoming programme on the connections between Gaelic music and Beethoven. Two further Ceòlas stalwarts also visited the 22nd summer school, Ryno Morrison, who MC’ed the Cèilidh Mòr, and Hamish Moore, who originally started the school in 1996.
All those who attended 2018’s summer school remarked on the excellent programme. Amongst the comments was that of Shelly Campbell, fiddler tutor, of Cape Breton who remarked: ‘Another amazing week of music, Gaelic, laughter and friendship in the inspiring setting of South Uist. Gaels on both sides of the pond are ‘cut from the same cloth’ and Ceòlas allows those bonds to be reunited. I consider myself extremely blessed to have been able to experience this reuniting the last few years. Many many thanks to all who make this happen. The celebration of the beauty and richness of Gaelic language and culture during Ceòlas week is of the upmost importance to South Uist, Cape Breton and the Gaelic world in general. Cumaibh Suas a’ Ghàidhlig!’
Ceòlas would like to thank our sponsors, Creative Scotland, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, HIE, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, as well as our community commity members, tutors, volunteers and supporters. [:gd]Chuir coimhearsnachd Uibhist a Deas