Gaelic festival welcomes special guests
The Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead is inviting guests to join in its inaugural Eilean an Àigh: Celebration of Island Gaelic Language and Culture Festival, taking place on site this weekend in Orwell at 271 Macphail Park Rd.
Beginning the evening of July 31 and continuing throughout the day on Aug. 1, Mary MacGillivray, festival director and Island singer-songwriter, along with Tiber Falzett, Islandbased Gaelic-speaking scholar and musician, have organized an event that will appeal to Islanders of all ages and backgrounds. Activities range from learning the choruses of locally-composed Scottish Gaelic songs and nature walks exploring the Gaelic names and lore of plants and animals in the Macphail Woods to bilingual storytelling sessions with tea, as well as a hearty Gaelic-inspired lunch highlighting site-sourced produce.
Organizers are also pleased to host John Shaw of the School of Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh, and James Watson of the Nova Scotia Highland Village Museum, who worked together recording surviving Island Scottish Gaelic traditions in 1987 under the auspices of the Institute of Island Studies, UPEI. Watson will be leading a workshop focusing on the regional repertoire of Scottish Gaelic songs as well as a hands-on thickening frolic (luathadh) that will allow participants to join in around the table with choruses they learned in the workshop.
Meanwhile, Shaw will deliver the second annual Sir Andrew Macphail Memorial Lecture, sponsored by the Institute of Island Studies. Shaw will share personal observations from the field-recording project he led in 1987, now housed at Robertson Library, UPEI. His presentation will also offer potential ongoing applications for these archival recordings in facilitating grassroots Scottish Gaelic linguistic and cultural renewal in the province.
The festival will conclude with Taigh Cèilidh ‘ic Phàil (Macphail Cèilidh House) grand finale concert with special guests, including many talented Island musicians and singers for an evening of song, story and foottapping tunes.
Spaces are limited; pre-booking is highly recommended. Full two-day festival passes, including special lunch, evening lecture and finale cèilidh concert, are available. There will also be limited passes available for these events individually.
“Thigibh air chèilidh; bidh fàilte chridheil romhaibh (come for a visit; a hearty welcome awaits you)!” says a release.
For more details and prebooking, visit www.macphailhomestead.ca or phone 902-651-2789.
John Shaw, right, of Celtic and Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh, and James Watson, centre, of the Nova Scotia Museum’s Highland Village in Iona, Cape Breton, share a song with Allan MacLeod, a mother-tongue Gaelic speaker from Rocky Boston, Cape Breton. Shaw and Watson are part of the inaugural Eilean an Àigh: Celebration of Island Gaelic Language and Culture Festival, taking place this weekend in Orwell.