Here, retired headteacher Willie Macdonald reads out extracts from the emotionally intense poetry of the North Uist bard Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna, and discusses them in Gaelic and English. The conversation moves on to focus on the impact on families, including Willie’s own, of the losses suffered in the First World War, and the land raids undertaken by returning soldiers hardened by conflict, and willing to face imprisonment in pursuit of their claims to decent crofting land.
Willie was recorded by Mary Morrison and Laura Donkers for the project “An fheadhainn tha laighe sàmhach“, run by Comunn Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath. You can find the book of Dòmhnall Ruadh’s poetry, with full parallel English translations, via this link to the Gaelic Books Council.
As part of the “An fheadhainn tha laighe sàmhach” project Mary Morrison and Laura Donkers recorded the Reverend John Smith of North Uist as he describes the 1923 dedication of the North Uist war memorial.
This is followed by two of his own compositions. The first, in Gaelic, starts with the striking and memorable line “Cha charaid, ach nàmhaid, cogadh”, and was written in response to losses in his own family. His second poem, in English, reflects on the courageous sacrifices that were made by many, and finishes as strongly as the first one started: “We will remember them”.
The Virtual St Kilda exhibition is up and running at Taigh Chearsabhagh, and the “mystery voice” is now revealed as that of regular Island Voices contributor, Archie Campbell, who also prepared the Gaelic version of the bilingual introduction. The project is headed up by the St Andrews University Open Virtual Worlds research group, working closely with local groups in Uist.
The exhibition gives you hands-on interaction, via an Xbox controller, with a digital re-creation of the St Kilda of the 1880s. You can walk around Village Bay (or fly over it!), exploring inside and outside various buildings. Clicking on various objects will take you to additional information, and the project is further enhanced by additional video work with island children offering imaginative interpretations of scenes and stories, ably facilitated by Mary Morrison – to whom Island Voices followers need no further introduction…
The film below was edited together by the St Andrews team. It integrates their own digital reconstruction and video work with stunning natural footage from UistFilm, as well as, flatteringly, some re-purposed shots from Island Voices’ own St Kilda documentaries in English and Gaelic. Archie’s voiceover is truly bilingual, alternating regularly and consistently from Gaelic to English. It’s a very interesting and still experimental format, so comments and suggestions are most welcome.
Tha pròiseact ùr aig a’ bhuidheann, air a bheil an t-ainm “Telephone Befriending”.
Cluinnear barrachd mu dheidhinn le bhith a’ putadh air an dealbh shìos air neo an seo, no ma thathas airson barrachd fhaighinn a-mach mu dheidhinn faodar fòn a chur gu 01870 603233.
(Read about this in English on the Am Pàipear Voices page here.)
Dominique Déhu et Agnès Blaziak se sont déplacés vers Uist il ya moins d’un an, après avoir vendu leur entreprise en France. Ici, ils parlent à leur professeur d’anglais, Mary Morrison, sur le travail qu’ils ont trouvé dans Uist, leurs aspirations pour l’avenir, et pourquoi ils ont choisi cet endroit pour s’installer ici. Agnès parle aussi de sa fille Amélie qui s’est installée facilement dans son nouvel environnement, et à quelle vitesse elle apprend l’anglais!
Thàinig Dominique Déhu agus Agnès Blaziak a dh’Uibhist o chionn faisg air bliadhna, an dèidh dhaibh an gnìomhachas a reic san Fhraing. An seo, tha iad a’ bruidhinn ri Màiri Nic ’IlleMhoire mun obair a fhuair iad an seo, agus na planaichean a th’ aca san àm ri teachd, agus ciamar a thaghadh iad an t-àite seo airson a bhith fantail ann. Tha Agnès a’ bruidhinn cuideachd mu dheidhinn a nighean Amélie agus mar a tha i a’ faighinn air adhart na suidheachadh ùr, agus i ag ionnsachadh cho luath!
Dominique Déhu and Agnès Blaziak moved to Uist less than a year ago, having sold up their business in France. Here they talk to their English teacher, Mary Morrison, about the work they’ve found in Uist, their aspirations for the future, and why they chose to settle here. Agnès also talks about how well her daughter Amélie is settling into her new surroundings, and how quickly she’s learning English!
Tommy Macdonald’s fascinating collection of interviews for the Stòras Uibhist project about Bonnie Prince Charlie has been gathered together on a single page on the “Outer Hebrides” website, dedicated to encouraging visitors to “experience life on the edge” here in the Western Isles.
That’s a message that Guthan nan Eilean is more than happy to support and endorse! The physical environment on its own is quite stunning. Combine that with a multicultural and multilingual history and heritage that live on to this day, and you have a winning combination of natural and cultural attractions.
Here’s the page where you can access all the Bonnie Prince Charlie audio material “in song and story” (and in three different languages) with a single click.
Tha pròiseact ùr a’ tòiseachadh le Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath. Cùm cluas ri claisneachd!
Originally posted on An fheadhainn tha laighe sàmhach:
So far the project has been overwhelmed with all your offers of reminiscences and artefacts and we are so grateful to you for these. It will take us some time to visit you all and gather such precious, personal and unique information. An important principle of this process is that nothing will be publicly shown without your permission. We will however be attempting to find photographs of as many of the Uist Fallen as we can, which may mean that we begin to post some unidentified forces photographs, in the hope that someone may identify them.
A piece of good fortune
Laura Donkers has been working on a two week placement with us this month, as part of her Master of Fine Art degree at Dundee. This placement has been of immense help to the project, since she had already been commissioned by CEUT to …
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Burns night in Sabhal Mòr Ostaig was celebrated in some style a couple of nights ago. Student Sophie Stephenson offered something old and something new with the bard’s own “Tae a louse” followed swiftly by Lorna Wallace’s brand new “Tae a selfie”.
An interesting contrast with the Benbecula Burns night also given the Clilstore treatment a wee while back!
The Kallin Shellfish video, made by ESOL learners back in 2006, was among the first experiments with supporting UGC (User Generated Content) by the Island Voices project. It’s since been viewed with interest by many ESOL teachers around the world, and earned a special mention in the Island Voices chapter in this British Council book on innovations in English language teaching. The production standards are some way from broadcast quality, but its human qualities shine through still. It was planned, shot, edited, and scripted by the learners themselves. And now that script has been given the “Clilstore treatment” too, so you can listen and read at the same time. Follow this link.
Jean-Didier Hache is a frequent traveller between Paris and Uist, having the good fortune to have a home in each location. He is also a writer and historian, among other things, and so is perfectly placed to offer Tommy Macdonald a French perspective on the Bonnie Prince Charlie story.
Early in the new year the two sat down for a dram and a brief chat, in which Jean-Didier added more biographical detail on the comings and goings of the multilingual Uibhisteach Neil MacEachan, the prince’s constant companion during his travels in Uist. We also learn more about Neil’s son, “The French MacDonald”, who rose to high rank in the French army during Napoleonic times, and about whom Jean-Didier has written this book.
Tommy and Jean-Didier spoke first in English. The conversation is split into two parts, the first dealing with the father, the second with the son.
On Neil MacEachan:
On Alexandre MacDonald:
After that Jean-Didier delivered a précis in French, for the benefit of Francophone listeners, while adding some more detail on specific events and sites in France that relate to the tale.