Fèisean have restarted

Following its postponement at Easter, due to Covid, 5 Latha is being held this week at the Gearrannan Blackhouses, Isle of Lewis, with young people taking part in a wide choice of activities all delivered through the medium of Gaelic.

Each day Iain MacMaster (Glenfinnan Cèilidh Band) and Ellen MacDonald (Sian/Dàimh) are leading music and song workshops with the group and throughout the week they will be learning about a number of community activities including crofting, wildlife, Harris Tweed weaving and cooking.  All the activities are designed to encourage the use of Gaelic and expand the vocabulary of those involved.  

Fèisean nan Gàidheal Development Manager Calum Alex Macmillan said: “It is fantastic to be able to return to the Gearrannan Blackhouses for the first time since 2019.  We are delighted that a large number of participants have signed up for the activities and indebted to the people from the community who will lead them.  We are grateful to Bòrd na Gàidhlig for the funding support that allows us to organise 5 Latha and also to those in the Carloway community who give us such a warm welcome.”

A community cèilidh will be held in Ionad Ghrinneabhat on Thursday 7th July with participants, tutors and supervisors from 5 Latha entertaining members of the local community.

This promises to be a busy period for Fèisean nan Gàidheal with Fèisean across the country making a welcome return to in-person activities during the summer holidays after a 2-year hiatus due to the Covid pandemic.  Hundreds of young people will have the opportunity to learn traditional music, Gaelic song, drama, dance and art from highly-skilled tutors.

During the pandemic, Fèisean embraced digital technology and continued to deliver varied programmes of tuition with regular online lessons and workshops, keeping participants engaged and providing employment opportunities for tutors.  Fèisean now have the opportunity to return to face-to-face activities, which is very much welcomed by committees, tutors and participants alike. 

Arthur Cormack, Fèisean nan Gàidheal Chief Executive, said: “With financial support from Creative Scotland, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, The Highland Council and Argyll & Bute Council, Fèisean nan Gàidheal is delighted to assist Fèisean as they make a welcome return to delivering events in-person.  We are focussed on assisting voluntary committees to make the job of running Fèisean as easy as possible.  The enthusiasm of Fèis committees is always inspirational and we wish them every success with their upcoming events which, as well as bringing communities together to experience their culture, will support the local economy and offer employment to freelance artists”.

In addition to 5 Latha and the Fèisean, Fèis Alba – a training week for young musicians – is happening at the Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music at Plockton High School before those young musicians begin touring round their communities, starting next week, in their Fèis Cèilidh Trails.

Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s annual Gaelic Drama Summer School is also taking place in Portree this week with young people from across Scotland attending.

With support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Creative Scotland the school will be under the artistic direction of Mairi Morrison, assisted by Rachel Kennedy.  Both women, from the Isle of Lewis, have many years’ experience between them of working with young people, developing their skills in different aspects of drama work. 

Shona MacLennan, CEO of Bòrd na Gàidhlig said: “We are delighted to support this project which is so important for young people.  It offers them a chance to use their Gaelic outwith school and helps deliver the aims of the National Plan to normalise Gaelic.  Furthermore, it adds to wellbeing and we hope that everybody enjoys the Summer School.”

For more information on Fèisean events visit www.feisean.org or find us on facebook.com/feisean.

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