An t-Sultain aig Fèisean nan Gàidheal : September at Fèisean nan Gàidheal
In addition to regular Fèisean activity throughout the country, the Fèisean nan Gàidheal team has been busy with several September special events, in particular the Blas Festival, bringing traditional music and Gaelic song into primarily rural Highland communities. Blas ran for nine days at the start of the month and delivered over 25 concerts and cèilidhs, three online workshops, four livestreamed concerts as well as music performances and drama workshops in schools.
The opening concert, which took place in the Highland capital’s beautiful cathedral, centred attention on young artists, both local and international. Séamus and Caoimhe Uí Fhlatharta are noted for their sean nós singing (unaccompanied traditional Irish vocal performance in the Irish language) and their unique arrangements of both Irish and English language songs. They take a particular interest in vocal arrangement as well as playing a multitude of instruments including Irish harp and fiddle. The weather was kind as they toured the Highlands, showcasing some of the country’s most beautiful locations and village halls to the visiting musicians. Séamus and Caoimhe said of the Festival:
“Bhain muid an oiread sult as ár gcuid ama ag taisteal ar fud ardchríocha na hAlbaine mar chuid d’Fhéile Blas 2023. Ba mhór an phléisiúir dúinn an stáitse a roinnt le ceoltóirí agus fonnadóirí den chéad scoth agus an deis a fháil an chéad glúin eile a spreagadh sna mbunscoileanna áitiúla. Tá muid ag súil go mór filleadh ar ais ar an áit álainn seo arís gan mhoill. Ár mbuíochas le coiste Fhéile Blas! “
“We had the most enjoyable week travelling around the Scottish Highlands earlier this month as part of Blas Festival 2023. What a privilege it was to share the stage with the finest of musicians and singers in gorgeous locations. We really enjoyed getting to perform for some of the local primary schools and inspire the next generation of musicians and singers, as well as taking inspiration from some very talented youngsters. We are already looking forward to making our way back very soon. ‘Móran taing’ to all at Blas Festival for an amazing week!”
The festival closed with a performance in Fort William that included over 50 young musicians gathered together from Fèisean throughout the country for a special showcase concert.
Both these events, along with some other workshops and concerts from the festival, can still be viewed online through FèisTV
The Fuaran project has now been running for several years and aims to engage young Gaelic singers with tradition bearers and researchers. This year 6 participants gathered at the end of August in the village of Cromarty on the Black Isle to take part in Gaelic song workshops with 2023 project mentor Deirdre Graham and record songs they had been collecting and researching with support from freelance broadcaster and researcher, Jo Macdonald over the previous months.
Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s formal education service has been running three music projects in schools over the month – YMI is on course once more, with musicians delivering traditional music sessions to all 170+ primary schools in Highland in partnership with High Life Highland and local area Fèisean, Seinn a Gaelic song based project in Uist and Barra primary schools and Mod Academy in support of children in Renfrewshire preparing them for Mod competition and enhancing the experience of Gaelic song in the area.
You can read more about Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s work on the website here