Island Voices contributor Catherine Eunson crossed paths with Professor Alan Riach at this year’s StAnza poetry festival in Saint Andrews, where Alan was giving a reading of his newly published, and highly acclaimed, English version of the classic Gaelic poem ‘Birlinn Chlann Raghnaill’ (‘The Birlinn of Clanranald’) by Alasdair Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair.
In the poem the birlinn in question sets sail from Loch Eynort, South Uist.
“Let’s do it”, said Alan.
With these difficult negotiations completed, and financial assistance from Stòras Uibhist, an attractive and bilingual evening programme of poetry and music took place at Kildonan Museum on July 19th, with Alan’s readings complemented by various contributions from local residents and other visiting musicians.
Prior to the event Alan was also able to visit the shores of Loch Eynort where he gave an appetising foretaste of the feast to come:
(Follow this link if you would like to read while you listen.)
The following longer clip shows the final part of the evening, as the birlinn weathers a fierce storm and safely reaches Carrickfergus.
(Follow this link if you would like to read the Gaelic verses that Bill presents.)
The readings were further enhanced with the illustrations that Alexander Moffat had provided for the book. A selection is reproduced here, with his kind permission. (Click to enlarge.)
It’s probably not that often that South Uist plays host to an eminent professor of Scottish Literature, but as Alan pointed out at the end of the evening, its success was owed in no small part to the contributions of other performers. So thanks are also due to Anndra MacIsaac, Marion Morrison, Catherine Eunson, Fiona Mackenzie, Bill Innes, Morag Wells, Alasdair MacIntyre, Rosie Mapplebeck, and Pauline Prior-Pitt.
The summer issue of NATECLA’s journal “Language Issues” takes a look at Community Languages, and features an article on Guthan nan Eilean/Island Voices by Gordon Wells. “Sharing Gaelic Voices: Peatcutting in Polish or Surfing in Sindhi?” can be viewed as a Gaelic-focussed companion to, and update of, the 2012 project description (written from an ESOL perspective) in the British Council’s “Innovations in ELT for Migrants and Refugees”.
Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin of the University of the Highlands and Islands, and the Soillse inter-university research network, adds another perspective: “Guthan nan Eilean may also be seen as creative initial steps in an emerging agenda of documentation of natural language… The project demonstrates how the community of speakers can take a pro-active and productive role… in this vital task.”
Regular readers will have noticed that a “Peatcutting in Polish” video already exists, as an example of the potential for “re-purposing” that is among the issues discussed in the article.
Perhaps more examples will be forthcoming in the months ahead?
It can also be accessed here.
Tha sinn gu mòr nan comain airson na h-obrach a rinn iad air an tar-sgrìobhadh. Tha sin air a bhith na chuideachadh dhuinne ann a bhith a’ cruthachadh aonad Clilstore leis a’ bhidio. Gheibhear an seo e.
Followers of Island Voices may remember that TRACS placed Norman Maclean’s telling of the story of the Battle of Carinish on their own website not so long ago. Now here’s his “Àiridh na h-Aon Oidhche” in the same style.
We are indebted to them for the work they did on transcribing the story. That has been a great help to us in creating a Clilstore unit with the video. You can find it here.
Film aithriseach goirid ann am Pòlainnis airson luchd-ionnsachaidh mu dheidhinn buain na monadh ann an Uibhist.
Short Polish documentary for language learners about peatcutting in Uist.
Between Series 1, Series 2, and other initiatives, Island Voices has produced 25 short documentary clips of this kind in both English and Gaelic. “A Gaelic Journey” also came out in Irish, but this is the first time we’ve produced a Polish version of one of our films.
It may not be the last, however! All we need is a translation of the script and a recorded voice. And, if we can do it in Polish, we can do it in other languages too. Interested?
There’s a packed programme at this month’s Taigh Ciùil, including the launch of the CD of Island Voices contributor Catherine Eunson’s musical collaboration with North Uist resident Pauline Prior-Pitt. Here’s a short sample.
If you can’t make it to the launch there are more details available on Catherine’s website.
Some years previously, and shortly after it was launched, Julie was also a student on the local college music course in Benbecula – a subject area which has since gone from strength to strength, developing into a University of the Highlands and Islands degree course in Applied Music.
Here’s the video that Julie made about the course. Great work all round!
In this truly epic tale, a noble Lewis lady, also known locally (though outwith her earshot) as Bean Dhòmhnaill Ailig ‘Fat’, undertakes a long journey to Tibet, for a special meeting with a special person.
Norman Maclean narrates the gripping Gaelic adventure right through to its scarcely predictable conclusion.
This is the final instalment in his Sgeulachdan Thormoid collection.
The Island Voices/Guthan nan Eilean project is much indebted to Norman for these fantastic contributions. Clilstore versions for learners with clickable transcripts of several of these stories will be coming soon!