Registration opens for Ceòlas’ Summer School 2024!

Registration opens for Ceòlas’ Summer School 2024!

Registration opened for Ceòlas’ annual Summer School last week and over half the places are already taken.  The Sgoil Shamhraidh (Summer School) will take place in South Uist between Sunday 7th July and Friday 12th July.  The yearly event which will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year, will be held in Ceòlas’ purpose-built home – Cnoc Soilleir in South Uist.  Cnoc Soilleir is a Gaelic education and cultural hub which opened in 2022, a joint venture between Ceòlas and the University of the Highlands and Islands. Participants for the Sgoil Shamhraidh will travel from across the world to attend a week of tuition in Gaelic, song, music and dance, along with an array of live music every evening.

Gaelic singer, Màiri MacInnes from South Uist leads an impressive line-up of world-class tutors.  Traditional Gold Medallist, Margaret Ford, will also tutor Gaelic song.  Echoing the festival’s strong musical links between South Uist and Cape Breton, multi-instrumentalist Kyle MacDonald will return for his third year at the festival and will be joined for the second time by 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 to tutor step dance, as will Tara Rankin who now lives in Tiree. 

Contemporary and ground-breaking instrumentalist, Karen Marshalsay will tutor harp, and Moidart’s distinguished piper, singer, composer and folklorist, Allan MacDonald will return to tutor Ceòl Mòr and Pìobaireachd Song.  Other tutors include multi-instrumentalist and member of Beinn Lee, Michael Steele, Shetlander and award-winning fiddler and composer, Chris Stout, Dundonian piper and bellows piper, Ciar Milne, acclaimed piper and Erbusaig based tutor, Iain Ruairidh Finlayson, multi-instrumentalist and Gaelic singer, Ruairidh Gray.      

Singer, broadcaster and recently named Gaelic ambassador of the year at the Royal National Mòd in 2023, Linda MacLeod will teach Gaelic language along with two regular faces on the Ceòlas line-up – Catriona Campbell and Catriona MacIntyreA 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.  The evening events will include the opening cèilidh on Sunday night, an evening of Gaelic song on Monday night, Tuesday night will see the return of the house cèilidhs, 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.  A number of events will also be held in partnership with Fèis Tìr a’ Mhurain and this year will also see the introduction of late-night sessions on Thursday and Friday night.   Ceòlas will be streaming some of the evening content across the world through social media platforms and YouTube.  Ceòlas are working again 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.   

Iain MacDonald, renowned piper, multi-instrumentalist and Ceòlas’ Artistic Director said: “As we embark on our 29th Sgoil Shamhraidh, we are excited to welcome a great array of fine musicians from across the world to tutor at this year’s festival here on South Uist.  We very much look forward to welcoming participants 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.”       

Places will go very quickly so get booking at www.ceolas.co.uk.  If you have any questions, please contact us at info@ceolas.co.uk or by calling 01851770711.    

During the week-long festival, Uist’s new and innovative Gaelic language plan will be published.  Led by Ceòlas and Uist’s Gaelic Stakeholder Group, this plan will pave the way for Gaelic across Uist with bold and ambitions commitment firmly building on the fantastic work already going on.

Joe MacNeil, Uist’s Gaelic Development Officer said: “The publication of this policy is a huge milestone for the community of Uist.  This plan will see a partnership approach to build on the incredible work already taking place in Uist whilst ensuring that the language and its culture is passed onto the next generation.”  A special publication ceremony will be held during the Sgoil Shamhraidh.  The Gaelic Development Officer post is funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig.   

Ceòlas’ year-long calendar of events commenced in the New Year with a number of community events in January as part of Fèis na Bliadhn’ Ùire.  January also saw the launch of Rèidio Cheòlais – a brand new Gaelic internet radio station broadcasting across the world.  Since the launch of the station, listeners have been listening from across the world – Canada, Australia, Hungry and Berneray – to name but a few!  You can listen to the station via the Ceòlas website, through the Rèidio Cheòlais App (available on the App Store/Android Play Store).  The station continues to grow with new presenters and programmes as well as concerts from the Ceòlas archives.  Ceòlas are also working in close partnership with MG Alba.  Donald Henderson, MG Alba’s Community Content Creator, is based at Ceòlas supporting the development of Rèidio Cheòlais and developing, collecting and creating content from the community.   

In March, Ceòlas will run a Gaelic weekend in-person festival called Fèill an Earraich which will end with a St Patrick’s Day Concert.  During the month of April, Ceòlas 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.  There are limited spaces for B2-level Gaelic learners who wish to join the course, and details will be announced soon.  Ceòlas will also join in partnership with Tobar an Dualchais on the 18th and 19th April for a two-day conference of talks on the archive and the content of the archive.  This will be open to the public and booking will be available soon.  The two-day event will end with a special cèilidh called Dualchas Uibhist.  In May, we are delighted to host a Creative Residency Weekend focussing on song-writing and melody composition.  Workshops will be led by Gaelic singer and bard, Alasdair Whyte from the Isle of Mull, and multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger, Pàdruig Morrison from Grimsay.      

Ceòlas’ annual symposium will take place at the beginning of August.  The symposium will focus on two topics – Abandoned Villages of Uist and the Second Sight.  Full details of this five-day event will be made available soon. 

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.  June will see the mighty Dàimh playing in Grimsay and South Uist, and September will see the return of the incredible duo – Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham.

Our year-long 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.  Our Cabadaich le Ceòlas sessions will run in June and September. 

Isabell MacInnes, Chair of Ceòlas’ board said: “I am delighted as Chair of Ceòlas to see such an array of events taking place for the promotion of the Gaelic language, music, culture and heritage of our islands.  We are well-established in our home, Cnoc Soilleir, here in Daliburgh with our partners at the University of the Highlands and Islands – North, West and Hebrides.  This transformational partnership allows us to grow and develop our work within our local, national and international communities whilst working on collaborative community, academic and research projects with UHI NWH.  Ceòlas will soon publish our Strategic Plan for 2024 – 2029 – an ambitious plan for the future.  On behalf of Ceòlas’ board, I would like to thank our funders, partners 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.