Showing posts with label gaelic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gaelic. Show all posts

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Queen Elizabeth's Respect for the Scottish Nation

 


Professor Tom Devine was commenting on the radio on this historic week after Queen Elizabeth’s death, as her cortege left Balmoral’s estates. He said the Queen showed a deep affection for Scotland and recognised the distinctive Scottish nationhood - perhaps reminiscent of past generations that we appear to have lost in our modern times.

 As Scotland pre-eminent historian, he was knighted by the Queen a few years ago. At this ceremony, the queen said that she was pleased to be honouring a Scots scholar and historian and she raised her voice – “who has written extensively on Scottish history.“  

 Devine said, “Its  a shame some UK politicians can’t speak of Scotland with the same level of respect. “

I notice the Welsh language had pride of place in the Welsh ascension ceremony today for new King Charles. So why is the Scots language still treated as an embarrassment? Its shocking that Scots history and culture have been so deliberately suppressed over the past century in Scotland. Children were belted in schools for speaking in Scots and teachers were told they would sound ignorant if they spoke in Scots! 

 

In Maori schools in New Zealand, Maori children are taught  Maori words and culture and to be proud of their heritage. So why on earth must Scots be embarrassed of their wonderful Scots culture? Many Scots are totally ignorant of Scots history and have been taught only English culture. 

 

The Welsh also sang the Welsh national anthem. We in Scotland urgently need new words to Flower of Scotland OR a new Scots national anthem!! Hint, hint Proclaimers, Dougie MacLean…etc.

 

I would like to emphasize to those who like the union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland – 

Scotland’s independence is NOT in any way about not having “unity” here in the UK. In fact I hope we can have much better and more successful unity after indy – its about how Scotland is best governed in the best interests of all those who live in Scotland.


I lived many years in the United States – the states are united, but also independently run their own affairs. For instance, each state organises their own trade deals, vat rates, immigration, laws, and other economic levers. So I firmly believe that Scotland needs their own self governing levers to best address the needs and best interests of the people of Scotland. I would be for a slimmed down monarchy, and I don’t like the term ‘subject’ and would much prefer ‘citizen.


I hope the recant services and ceremonies around the Queen’s death, show any doubters that Scotland is its own distinct nation, one of the oldest in Europe. I hope all those who dislike Scottish traditions, were able to appreciate the beauty of Karen Matheson’s Gaelic song at the St Giles service. It was highly significant that the ancient Scots crown of James IV was placed on the queens coffin, as Queen of Scots. 


I had heard from several sources that Operation Unicorn was well planned ahead of time. I hope we can have unity as well as the best of self government. As Succession actor Brian Cox recently said in his chat with Nicola Sturgeon at the Edinburgh book festival, " Its not about personalities but about country and democracy." 

“Its time to be free!”


Tuesday, 30 June 2020

The Poems of Ossian



Macpherson’s poems of Ossian translations from the Gaelic traditions – had a profound influence on many painters, poets and writers. And his books were read internationally. The poet MacDiarmid lamented for Scotia’s lost music. 

Professor Alan Raich writes in his National articles - Immense, deep ... and surprisingly rich: The legacy of Ossian
By Alan Riach Professor of Scottish Literature at Glasgow University

“The poems of Ossian had a profound influence but the idea that Macpherson perpetrated a “hoax” persists. This is unjust and inadequate. In Fiona Stafford’s words, Macpherson’s Ossian is “pre-eminently a text of the margins – not in the sense that it is peripheral to serious literary study but because it inhabits the margins of contrasting, oppositional cultures.

For Macpherson’s ‘translations’ involved acts of interpretation not only between Gaelic and English, but also between the oral culture of the depressed rural communities of the Scottish Highlands, and the prosperous urban centres of Lowland Britain, where the printed word was increasingly dominant.”

In this context, they are “less the work of an inexpert linguist, or an unscrupulous ‘Scotsman on the make’ than a sophisticated attempt to mediate between two apparently irreconcilable cultures.”

The legacy of Ossian, beyond Macpherson’s actual works, is immense, deep and surprisingly rich. Images of Ossian have perennially been a subject for the visual arts. 
“To remember the great music and to look
At Scotland and the world today is to hear
An Barr Buadh again where there are none to answer
And to feel like Oisin d’ éis na Féine or like Christ.”

And it is not only paintings and drawings. The literary influence is there, too, and was felt early. Wordsworth (1770-1850), in “Glen-Almain; or, the Narrow Glen” (1803), a result of his tour in Scotland, writes:
“In this still place, remote from men,
Sleeps Ossian, in the NARROW GLEN;
In this still place, where murmurs on
But one meek streamlet, only one:”

Ghosts and graves and windy hills and caves are an essential parts of the story - 
as in the short, haunting poem
 Ossian’s Grave” by the Russian writer Mikhail Lermontov (1814-41), here given in my own translation:
“In the Highlands of Scotland I love, 
Storm clouds curve down on the dark fields and strands,
With icy grey mist closing in from above –
Here Ossian’s grave still stands.
In dreams my heart races to be there,
To deeply breathe in its native air –
And from this long-forgotten shrine
Take its second life as mine.



** The Gaelic phrases relate to this. In footnotes, MacDiarmid explains “An Barr Buadh” is “somewhat in a state between existence and non-existence.”
And “d’ éis na Féine” is:  “A withered babbling old man, ‘Oisin after the Fianna’ (ie when his love for Ireland made him return to it from Tir-na-nog) in that immortal phrase which has in it more than Virgilian tears.”

In other words, the evocation of Ossian “after the Fianna” –
after his father and family and companions of high youth, health and vigour, have all gone into the past, leaving him old, blind and alone – delivers a permanent image of tragic and irrecoverable loss, encompassing and predating other ancient religions and civilisations.
And there is no fraud or hoax involved in that. Its permanence is also Ossian’s legacy.



Thursday, 5 March 2020

The Highest Apple



The Highest Apple

An Abhal as Airde

"The best apple will be on the higher bough."

 An Anthology of Scottish Gaelic literature, 7th century  to present of 
 Saints, Scribes and Sea lords 600 - 1600

Professor Alan Raich of Glasgow University, highly recommends this book in the National newspaper. He writes this is the most important book of recent times. 

 “For the health of our nation and enrichment of all our people” 

The book explores connections to Ireland; Bards schools; the Ceilidh house; Narrative prose. 

And the adventures of warriors – such as Fionn mac Cumhaill, Alasdair mae Mhaighstir

And the Greatest Gaelic poems of the 1700s

Gaelic proverbs – “An end will l come to the world, but love and music will endure.”

Thig crioch air an t-saoghal, ach n airidh goal is ceol.”


Thursday, 31 October 2019

Victimhood in a kilt


**Scottish Cringe
Historian Tom Devine talks of ‘Victimhood in a kilt” – particularly the popular John Prebble books - 
Glencoe, Highland Clearances. 

Not so long ago, and even now, we are told Scotland needs hand outs and is too wee and too poor! It’s a total lie.
But Scots must stop apologising! The Gulf stream makes our weather temperate and our weather (while it may be changeable) is actually better than many places! I lived in Chicago which in winter has15 feet snow drifts and minus 15 degrees wind chill. Some places suffer tornadoes or Tsunamis.

I grew up with the Scottish cringe. ‘Donald where’s your troosers and naff white heather club sashes. Now at Celtic Connections I see respect for our old bothy traditions and Gaelic songs – for our Scottish enlightenment and our innovations.  




We should in fact be proud!  The trouble is our history has been neglected and suppressed , especially over the past decades. In fact we’ve been told lies and disinformation. 

People in Northern Ireland know about England’s rivers but not about the rivers in Ireland. The Irish were told it was the Scots who murdered when an independence and reform uprising in Wexford in 1798. So then fifty years later Irish troops were used for the Highland Clearances when the people were chased off their lands and put on ships to Canada. 




Thursday, 3 October 2019

Celtic Connections 2020 launched!



CELTIC CONNECTIONS 2020 launched!

16th Jan - 2nd Feb 2020

That cross-cultural, interdisciplinary spirit is at the heart of Celtic Connections,”   
18 days of live music across Glasgow to warm our winter days!  The world’s premier celtic music festival 27thyear, begun in 1994!  One-off musical collaborations, talks, workshops, film screenings, theatre productions, ceilidhs, exhibitions, free events, late-night sessions. Of traditional folk, roots, Americana, jazz, soul and world music. Celtic Connections brings together and celebrates special artistic collaborations. Many of the great innovations are brought about this way. 
GRIT orchestra Bothy Culture Hydro

**Opening concert the GRIT orchestra with new compositions -  “it is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom".   
Premiere for - 700th anniversary of the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath: declaration of Scottish independence - by leading Scottish composers, commissioned for Celtic Connections and performed by the GRIT orchestra, legendary ensemble of folk, jazz and classical musicians and led by conductor Greg Lawson. Founded to continue the legacy of Martyn Bennett, who pioneered the fusion ofl folk with techno dance beats. Composers - Jazz-folk musicianFraser Fifield, cellist Rudi de Groote, Clarsach composer Catriona McKay, saxophonist Paul Towndrow, fiddlers Patsy Reid and Chris Stout. 
Lawson said the new work would interpret concepts of freedom expressed in the declaration within a modern context. To be really free we need to be equal, we need to be diverse, we need to be open, we need to care.  You could say we are taking the declaration and turning it into an appeal: for tolerance, diversity, openness, respect. That's what freedom actually means." 
Niteworks
CONCERTS - A Celebration of Women in Piping  - Louise Mulcahy, Alana MacInnes, Síle Friel, Máire Ní Ghráda, Marion McCarthy, Enora Morice and Robyn Ada McKay.
Auld Lang Syne Burns celebration, with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with Eddi ReaderKaren MathesonJarlath Henderson, Shona Donaldson.

Transatlantic Sessionsfestival favourite’s all-star line-up. Guitar virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel, Tennessee native Sierra Hull, multi-instrumentals Cahalen Morrison. Dervish lead vocalist Cathy Jordan and singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni.

Transatlantic Sessions
**PLUS – Scottish music with Salsa Celtica, Braebach, Lau, Rura, Blazin fiddlesMànran,KinnarisRANTHamish NapierSarah-Jane Summers. 
Americana music -  Iris De MentSturgill SimpsonAnais MitchellThe Lone BellowFrazey FordDella Mae, The Felice Brothers

CELTIC CONNECTIONS ALSO INLCUDES - BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year , Showcase Scotland, The Danny Kyle stage, and its education program. 
Talisk
Blue Rose Code
Rab Noakes

Aly Bain





Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Celebrating indigenous languages

Add caption
 “We loose colour and diversity”\\
Some of the most popular concerts at Celtic Connections festival are the concerts by Gaelic singers. 
Jeremy Dutcher, was awarded Canada’s Polaris Music Prize in 2018 for his album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa. Dutcher, an indigenous artist from  New Brunswick, performed in the Wolastoq language 

This year at Celtic Connections 2019, as part of  2019 Unesco International Year of Indigenous Languages and to give artists space and time to interrogate how Scotland and Canada’s shared colonial histories manifest within contemporary creative practice. 
Jean Cameron in her article, ‘How our Scotland-Canada collab is celebrating indigenous languages’ writes about how she looked at Scotland’s colonial past after working with artists at Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games cultural programme: folk who scrutinised Scotland’s imperial history. …..The Indian Act brought in by Macdonald in 1876 resulted in 100,000 indigenous Canadian children being forcibly sent into the residential school system that removed and isolated them from the influence of their homes, families, languages, traditions and cultures. For too many, these schools were sites of colonial violence where children were subjected to sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the people supposed to “civilise” them. 

Support from Creative Scotland, the Scottish Government in Canada and The High Commission of Canada has enabled us to bring 15 or so artists together, including Kanyen’kehaka (Mohawk) curator Greg Hill from the National Gallery of Canada; Kevin Loring, the first artistic director of indigenous theatre at the National Arts Centre of Canada; Scottish composer and former Young Gaelic Ambassador of the Year Pàdruig Morrison; author Donald S Murray and creative producer Seona McClintock. 
Let us remember why they are smaller and fragile: often due to oppression, cultural imperialism and economic disconnection. These themes will undoubtedly emerge during this exchange. It’s vital to remember language adds colour and tone to life, place, belonging and perspective. If we lose any, we lose that colour and all that it reflects. Nuances and idioms shape us, some words don’t translate, they are untranslatable.”



Language makes us who we are and there is renewed interest in both Scots and Gaelic. Tellingly for the course of the British power in Ireland (the DUP) continue to fight against the acknowledgement of the Irish language, even while original Scots/Irish settlers there spoke Irish Gaelic. In the past century Scots culture was portrayed by an out of touch caricature – of Donald wheres yur troosers, bagpipes and the White Heather Club dancers.
The European project on the other hand values all its regions and understands that EU success depends on the health and diversity of all its constituent parts and the remotest regions and small farms are sent decent grants and support. 



Thursday, 21 February 2019

Celtic Connections music festival 2019


If we loose Indigenous languages wee loose colour and diversity”  Brexit has brought the Celtic nations together

One of the highlights of my year is attending the wonderful and top class concerts of this highly respected folk, world and roots music festival. I’ve been shooting at Celtic Connections now since 2008, and its interesting to see how the festival evolves each year. I enjoy the atmospheric Old Fruitmarket , the main concert hall, the Danny Kyle stage and the enthusiastic buzz of this major Glasgow music festival

This year my concerts included  -  New Traditions: Talisk, Xabier Diaz, Vishten; Grace and Danger: concert to celebrate John Martyn; Kathleen MacInnes and amiina; Transatlantic Sessions with Cara Dillon


Celtic Connections 2019 included the Opening Concert, when 100 young musicians from Scotland and Galicia took to the stage on the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall performed alongside leading traditional Scottish artists.The festival line up included - Cherish the Ladies, Graham Nash, Elephant Sessions, Bokanté, Loudon Wainwright III, Judy Collins, Ronnie Spector & the Ronettes, Kathy Mattea, Shooglenifty, Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert, Susheela Raman, Songhoy Blues, Mariza and a special performance of ‘An Treas Suaile’ (The Third Wave) with Julie Fowlis and Duncan Chisholm.

**A celebration of quality live music and challenging collaborations, which stays true to its Celtic roots and while also being innovative. This years International partner in 2019 was Spain’s Galicia. (given autonomy in 1981). Finland will be the festival’s partner in 2020. The festival includes: Showcase Scotland opportunities; Educational Program with morning concerts and workshops; Celtic Connections encourages new talent Danny Kyle Open Stage. Includes music, ceilidhs, talks, workshops, screenings and more, the world-leading annual music festival Celtic Connections 2019. 

** Celtic Connections encourages indigenous languages – as part of 2019 Unesco International year of indigenous Languages, Canada sent over artists and cultural leaders, representing their indigenous languages, to exchange ideas, dialogues, and to practice with Scots Gaelic talent. To give artists space and time to interrogate how Scotland and Canada’s shared colonial histories manifest within contemporary creative practice. 


18 days of music, ceilidhs, talks, workshops, screenings and more, of this world-leading music festival Celtic Connections. 2000 artists from 25 countries in 300 events on 35 stages across Glasgow – the most widespread Celtic Connections since the festival began in 1994. With attendances over 130,000 the festival was a huge draw for audiences from all over the world. Celtic Connections is a festival which stays true to its Celtic roots, while also exploring new ideas, musical styles including folk, blues, techno, jazz and Americana.  

Donald Shaw, Creative Producer for Celtic Connections, said:The commissions and special collaborations which are one of our hallmarks, have travelled in musical directions which have amazed us all.“We sought to make this year’s festival our most innovative yet and thanks to the musicians who joined us we achieved this. It’s hard to believe it is almost over, and time now to start thinking of how we can better this next year when our incredible festival will return.”        

Alan Morrison, Head of Music, Creative Scotland said:The festival proved yet again that Scotland is as eager to welcome international acts with open arms as it is to share our own musical heritage with all our visitors, building friendships across borders. Celtic Connections 2020 can’t come soon enough.”


Friday, 25 January 2019

Opening Concert Celtic Connections 2019 - Syne of the Times


The Celtic Connections opening night was a rousing concert with over a hundred young musicians on stage, to celebrate the passing traditions between the generations. They enjoyed a memorable experience of Gaelic music alongside some of Scotland’s most celebrated folk musicians.   
  
This opening concert began with a moving film by a young musician and composer from the isle of Grimsby - of his grandfather and father and his hope that the traditions and Gaelic can be passed on through the generations by preserving and celebrating our heritage and culture through music. 

After which we were treated to rousing tunes by the Celtic Galician folk orchestra Son De Seu. There are seven Celtic nations. This year Celtic Connections festival is paired with the small Celtic country of Galicia. 



Also performing were the Orkney youth musicians, HadHirgaan and the young musicians from the 5 Feisean, which is held annually around Scotland.

The evening was led by music director and fiddler Duncan Chisholm. Also appearing were Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, fiddler Lauren MacColl,folk band Daimh, fiddler Aiden O”Rourke, piper Brighde Chaumbeu, and Donald Shaw (festival director) and his Harvest music. Celtic Connections also celebrates folk musicians who gained their success through attention at the festival.


I hope the young musicians were inspired by this memorable opening concert. 
What a first class experience for the young performers tonight. 

I don’t understand Gaelic, but I enjoy the Gaelic singers who perform each year at Celtic Connections. There is something magical about it and Gaelic song is very popular at Celtic. 

2018 was the year of the young people in Scotland, who I hope were encouraged to have their voices heard. 

English is the universal language French the language of diplomacy but Gaelic is the language of the Gods."


Interesting. This year Celtic Connections festival is paired with the small Celtic country of Galicia. 
Galicia sits on the north west corner of Spain – and has had to fight for it autonomy..
They were controlled by Franco's dictatorship. Their democracy was restored when the legislature passed the Statute of Autonomy of 1981 approved in referendum and currently in force, providing Galicia with self-government. (Galicia has a population of 2.7 million)

Galicia, is an autonomous community in Spain’s northwest, is a verdant region with an Atlantic coastline. The cathedral of regional capital Santiago de Compostela is the reputed burial place of the biblical apostle Saint James the Great, and the destination for those following the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. The western cliffs of Cape Finisterre were considered by the Romans to be the end of the known world.