Celebrating the Year of Coasts & Waters through Gaelic song

Scottish Government supports new resource championing Gaelic heritage

To celebrate the Year of Coasts & Waters, Gaelic arts organisation, Fèisean nan Gàidheal, is championing the rich collection of Gaelic songs connected toq coasts and waters, with a new song resource which features a weekly series of online content for people to use to learn and enjoy songs, all sung by some of the country’s top Gaelic singers.

‘Cladaichean is Uisgeachan’ (Gaelic for Coasts and Waters) is a Gaelic song resource featuring new recordings of songs and archive recordings along with the history and background information of each song and the links to local Fèisean. A fascinating resource, it provides people with an opportunity to delve into Scotland’s rich Gaelic heritage and culture. Each song is accompanied with an image celebrating Scotland’s beautiful coasts and waters, taken by Cailean Maclean.

Fèisean nan Gàidheal, one of Scotland’s top arts organisations, is working with Gaelic song expert, Jo Macdonald, to compile the resource which includes interesting historical and local information whilst the singers involved include Royal National Mod gold medallists Cristin Mackenzie, Ruairidh Cormack and Jenna Cumming, all members of female trio, Sian (Eilidh Cormack, Ceitlin Lilidh and Ellen Macdonald) and Trail West’s Ian Smith.  So far, the existing videos and recordings have reached over 40,000 people on Facebook and YouTube and the project is only at the halfway mark.

The resource, which has received support from Scottish Government, is an extension of Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s ‘Fuaran’ Gaelic song resource which was established to encourage a new generation of Gaelic speakers and singers to actively engage in the research and collection of Gaelic songs in their local area. In total 52 songs will be added to this expanding resource, 51 from our rich Gaelic song heritage and there will also be a commission awarded to a Gaelic songwriter to compose a new song to celebrate the theme of Coasts and Waters.

Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, commented:

“Scotland’s languages and culture have invariably been linked to the land and sea and I am pleased to welcome this resource from Fèisean nan Gàidheal in support of the Year of Coasts and Waters.  I am sure that this rich resource will not only bring benefits to our young people who are in Gaelic education but also to those at home as well as overseas who are interested in our culture.”

Calum Alex Macmillian, Development Manager, Fèisean nan Gàidheal, said:

“We’re now halfway through our Cladaichean is Uisgeachan project, with 26 songs, complete with new recordings of each one, links to archive recordings, the words, history, background information on the area from where the songs originate and a link to the Fèisean in those areas.

“We are so fortunate to be working with Jo MacDonald on this project, her knowledge and expertise has given us an invaluable new collection of Gaelic songs that will be an invaluable resource for singers and teachers. It has also been fantastic to hear the various singers who have been involved with this project and I hope that this will encourage them, and others, to be singing more.”

Jo Macdonald commented:

“It’s both a pleasure and a privilege to work with Fèisean nan Gàidheal on this project. We have such a wonderful heritage of songs in Gaelic but it’s not always easily accessible especially to young people.  It’s so rewarding to be able to help make more of this rich corpus of song easily available and the Coasts and Waters theme provides a fantastic focus for exploring some classic songs and unearthing new treasures.”

Creative Scotland The Scottish Government Highlands and Islands Enterprise Bòrd na Gaidhlig Highland Council Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Argyll & Bute Council