Places for Ceolas’ renowned Summer School will open on Wednesday 1st February. The yearly event which started in 1996 will be held in the newly built Cnoc Soilleir building in Daliburgh on the island of South Uist – a Gaelic education and cultural hub in the heartland of the language, a joint venture between Ceòlas and the University of the Highlands and Islands. The Sgoil Shamhraidh (Summer School), which will commence on Sunday 2nd July, will see participants gathering from across the globe to attend a week of tuition in Gaelic, song, music and dance, along with an array of live music every evening.
Catherine Ann MacPhee, highly acclaimed Gaelic singer and tradition bearer from the island of Barra who now lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, leads an impressive line-up of world class tutors. Echoing the festival’s strong musical links between South Uist and Cape Breton, multi-instrumentalist Kyle MacDonald will return for his second year at the festival and will be joined by first-timer Kolten MacDonell who hails from Glencoe, Cape Breton, and plays fiddle, piano and is a prominent step dancer. Gerard Beaton will join the Cape Breton contingent again this year to tutor advanced step dance.
Uist’s very own Gillebride MacMillan, Gaelic singer, poet, composer and Outlander star, will provide tuition in Gaelic language, conversation and grammar. A number of other regular faces will join the line-up including award-winning South Uist Gaelic singer Màiri MacMillan, media professional and talented step-dancer Jayne MacLeod from Lewis, one of Lochaber’s finest multi-instrumentalists Ingrid Henderson will tutor harp, and Moidart’s distinguished piper, singer, composer and folklorist, Allan MacDonald will tutor Ceòl Mòr and Pìobaireachd Song. Mòd Double Gold Medallist 2022 and winner of MG Alba Scots Trad Gaelic Singer of the Year 2022 Ruairidh Gray will also be on hand to play for the famous Reels and Quadrilles classes. A full list of tutors can be found on our website at www.ceolas.co.uk.
A range of daytime community events during the week will include a class on Seanchas (Folklore), a class showcasing local dances and the famous walk with a dram with local historian and singer Donald Ruairidh Campbell. The evening events will include the opening cèilidh on Sunday night, an evening of Gaelic song on Monday night, Tuesday night will see a showcase of music from Cape Breton, a display of piping will entertain audiences on Wednesday, Thursday will be an evening of dancing and fiddle music, and the week will come to a close with the eminent Cèilidh Mòr showcasing the range of talent over the week. Ceòlas are delighted to be streaming some of the evening content across the world through social media platforms and YouTube. Ceòlas are working in partnership with Keith Morrison, MG Alba Scots Trad Studio Engineer of the Year 2022, of Wee Studio on the Isle of Lewis. More information about streaming will be available soon. More information about the events and booking is available at www.ceolas.co.uk.
This year’s Sgoil Shamhraidh will go back to its original roots providing tuition for participants who are at an intermediate or advanced stage in their language and musical discipline.
Catherine Ann MacPhee said: “It is such a great honour to be asked back to Ceòlas’ annual Sgoil Shamhraidh. As always, it is a pleasure to share the stage with a diverse range of acclaimed musicians and tutors for a week-long festival of tuition and music-making showcasing our language and culture. This year brings our communities together as we reflect on the theme of homecoming and the 100th anniversary of the SS Marloch leaving our shores for Canada.”
Iain MacDonald, renowned piper, multi-instrumentalist and Ceòlas’ Artistic Director said: “Our yearly Sgoil Shamhraidh continues to grow from strength to strength. We are delighted to welcome such a talented group of tutors to the festival which includes four artistes who are coming from Cape Breton. We very much look forward to welcoming participants to the Gaelic heartland of South Uist for a week of language learning and instrumental tuition with world class artists and tutors. We would like to thank our funders, our local community, our board of directors and local committee, our partners including Cnoc Soilleir and the University of the Highlands and Islands for continued support.”
Ceòlas’ year-long calendar of events commenced in the New Year with a number of community events in January as part of Fèis Chullaig. An evening of song and music from New Tradition and an afternoon of piping from the finest young local pipers were part of the programme.
In mid-February, Ceòlas will host a new online school called Sgoil Fhèill Brìde. The online school will include three days of language and music tuition from Catriona Black, Catriona MacIntyre, Màiri MacInnes, Seonaidh MacIntyre, John Carmichael, Robbie Greig & Sophie Stevenson. The new school will include two events – a Valentine’s online house cèilidh from Uist featuring a range of musicians including Màiri MacMillan, Sineag MacIntyre, Mary Ann Kennedy, Dòmhnall Ruairidh Campbell, John Alec MacKay & Shona Masson. A second Cèilidh na Lasaig will be held in Cnoc Soilleir as well as online at the end of the online school. The cèilidh will feature legendary band the Sounds of Kilpheadar, Chloe Steele, Janice Simpson, piper Joseph Nicholson and a group of young players – Niall MacDonald and Doireann Marks, under the tuition of Pàdruig Morrison of Beinn Lee.
Our annual symposium will take place on 28th and 29th April. This year’s topic will be emigration as we mark 100 years since the SS Marloch left our shores for Red Deer, Canada. A special evening of pipe music will start the weekend. Saturday events will include a historical walk, a talk featuring song by Gillebride MacMillan taking the audience on the journey of the SS Marloch, and the weekend will finish with a family dance. During the month of April, we will also welcome students from Glasgow University who will take part in three weeks of Gaelic immersion. During the three weeks, students will work with a range of local experts in language, history, crofting, fishing and local culture, to be further immersed in the Gaelic language. Earlier on in the month, Ceòlas in partnership with Stòras Uibhist and other local organisations, will take part in a special event marking the SS Marloch centenary in Lochboisdale, bringing together a group of Primary school children from across Uist to perform a newly commissioned song by Gillebride MacMillan.
During the year, Ceòlas will be hosting a number of family cèilidhs in partnership with other local organisations including Cothrom, Stòras Uibhist, Fèis Tìr a’ Mhurain and Tagsa Uibhist. Ceòlas continue to promote a range of different musicians and bands. September will see the return of the incredible duo – Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham.
Our Gaelic classes will commence in September with provision available on Uist as well as online worldwide. Our experienced tutors support with language acquisition and conversation from a beginner level to supporting advanced language users in grammar and local language idiom.
Às an Tobar – the literature festival, will end the year with an array of events showcasing local writers and new books in partnership with Comhairle nan Leabhraichean (the Gaelic Books Council).
Seonaidh MacIntyre, piper, member of Trail West and Board Director of Ceòlas said: “I am delighted to see such a wide array of events taking place for the promotion of the Gaelic language, music, culture and heritage of our islands. I am particularly pleased to see the introduction of streaming of Ceòlas’ events to allow audiences across the world to enjoy such a sensational selection of musical performances. On behalf of Ceòlas’ board, I would like to thank our funders, partners, fellow board members and volunteers for continued support. I would like to thank the staff team at Ceòlas who do a remarkable job organising such a diverse and broad calendar of events.”
Ceòlas would like to thank our core funders Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Creative Scotland as well as Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Scottish Government for ongoing support. Ceòlas would also like to thank all local and national partners who support and work in partnership with our projects, the local community, our local committee of volunteers and our Board of Directors. More information about all our other events will be made available on our website at www.ceolas.co.uk as well as on our social media sites.