NEW CONTEXTUAL GAELIC SONG COURSE
LEWS CASTLE COLLEGE
Songs and History of the Scottish Gaelic Diaspora
(Exploring songs of Emigration & Clearances)
Lews Castle College, Stornoway, Isle-of-Lewis
22nd to 26th July, 2019
Emigration and the Clearances is a subject which still arouses strong emotions in the Highlands and Islands, and many of us have relatives whose parents, grandparents, great-grandparents etc emigrated to such far-flung places as Australia, Canada, the United States, South Africa or South America. The history of this period has been written about extensively, but many writers fail to cite the words of the Gaels themselves when writing their history.
During this 5-day course you will learn their history from the voices of the people themselves.
We will begin by covering some contextual information relevant to mass emigration from the Highlands and Islands, such as landlords, tacsmen, famine, evictions, emigration schemes and emigration agents.
We will cover songs composed by emigrants and by those who were left behind - their story from their own lips. You will learn about the bards who composed these songs and their personal circumstances, where information is available. These songs will mainly be songs of nostalgia and homesickness, songs of protest against emigration agents, landlords and evictions amidst a few songs of encouragement and hope for a better life in a new land.
The course will be delivered by renowned Gaelic singer and folklorist, Margaret Stewart, from the Isle-of-Lewis, who performs at home and abroad with some of Scotland’s finest traditional musicians. The course is suitable for fluent speakers and those who have little or no Gaelic but who wish to learn about the language and our Gaelic culture. You will learn to sing these songs in a traditional style, with emphasis on correct Gaelic pronunciation, phrasing, assonance and language rhythm.
Accommodation is not provided at the college and must be arranged by students prior to starting the course.
Further information and booking details can be got by emailing Angela.Weir@uhi.ac.uk at Lews Castle College.
Short Course @ Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
THE SUPERNATURAL in GAELIC SONG & STORY
29th July to 2nd August, 2019
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig are delighted to welcome back the renowned Gaelic singer and folklorist Margaret Stewart to the 2019 Short Course Programme with her new course based on one of her own interesting and thought-provoking song-based research projects ‘The Supernatural in Gaelic Song & Story’.
In Gaelic Scotland we have a rich heritage of song, music and lore which reflect a strong belief in the supernatural or otherworld. These reflect how our people used their imagination and how they dealt with thoughts of the afterlife, inexplicable occurrences, unsolved mysteries or disappearances, peculiar shapes and sounds in the landscape or during darkness and so on.
These beliefs manifest the diverse traditions which have contributed to our culture over the centuries, particularly the tales, songs, lore and place-names, relating to the supernatural or otherworld, which we retain from our Pictish, Celtic and Norse ancestry.
During the five-day course Margaret will explore some of the following themes in song and story:
- encounters with the fairy folk,
- special powers bestowed by the fairies,
- spells and curses,
- fairy lovers,
- healing wells,
- water monsters,
- superhuman feats,
- cautionary tales
She will also touch on some material culture referring to the supernatural, such as place names, specific locations and artefacts. This course is suitable for fluent speakers and those who have little or no Gaelic but who have a desire to learn the language in the context of its relationship to Gaelic Song & Traditions. Class tuition will be given in English & Gaelic.
Click on this link for booking details and accommodation information:- BOOKING
Short Course @ Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
ASPECTS OF HIGHLAND MATERIAL CULTURE
(Feartan de Chultar Dùthchasach agus Eachdraidh na Gàidhealtachd)
9th to 11th April, 2018 (NOW ENDED)
This five day course will begin by defining Material Culture, helping students to engage with tangible and intangible culture heritage. The course will cover aspects of our culture and history, daily life in the home and work on land and sea, hardship and pleasure, beliefs and customs as well as song and story.
Subjects covered throughout the course may include :
- Traditional Dwellings, arable and grazings, infield and outfield, seaweed and manuring, tools and methods.
- The daily round, organising of work, repairing the effects of weather.
- Changes from the clachan to the crofting system, animal husbandry, tools and implements.
- Shielings and transhumance.
- Effects of Emigration & Clearances.
- Fishing (herring in particular), boat-building, implements and terminology.
- Inshore fishing and the fruits of the sea.
- Fuel - peat cutting and timber, implements, methods and terminology.
- Traditional food & drink of the Gael.
- By the Hearth - Furniture & Clothing , Waulking & Spinning, Churning and Milling, tools and methods.
- Songs and historical information relating to each subject.
The course will include at least one field trip outwith the college campus and participants are expected to be comfortable walking about 1 mile with ease, so please ensure that you bring a waterproof jacket, a small backpack and comfortable walking shoes. This course is suitable for fluent speakers and those who have little or no Gaelic but who have a desire to learn the language in the context of its relationship to Gaelic Song & Traditions. Class tuition will be given in Gaelic & English and both languages will also be used on excursion.
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig also offer a Post-Graduate course MSc Material Culture and Gaidhealtachd History which looks in more details at some of the topics Maighread will be covering in her week long course. Click on highlighted link for more information on how to book this course - Aspects of Highland Material Culture
Summer Short Course @ Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
(Sealladh Mara air na h-Òrain Ghàidhlig - An Dàrna Tarraing)
A SEASCAPE OF GAELIC SONG - The Sequel
6th to 10th August, 2018 (NOW ENDED)
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig are offering Part 2 of the 'Seascape of Gaelic Song' course, following on from the success of the 2017 course. There is such a wealth of material on this theme that only a fraction of it could be covered during the 2017 course, so it has been decided to offer a follow-up course during the 2018 Short Courses programme.
Gaelic singer and folklorist, Margaret Stewart from Lewis, will lead this unique course which will explore the rich legacy of Gaelic sea-themed song, as well as aspects of West Coast/Skye maritime history, local coastal toponymy and seafaring traditions.
The course may include some of the following subjects and themes:-
- Skye and adjacent mainland Coastal Toponymy
- Gaelic boating and boat building terminology (Skye)
- Gathering the Fruits of the Sea for bait and table
- The Fishing Industry in Skye and Mallaig
- Sea Creatures in Song and Myth
- Smugglers, Pirates, Fishermen & Sailors in song and story.
- The West Highland Galley in Early Praise Poetry
- Rowing Songs
- Sailing Songs
- Fishermen’s Songs
- Songs of the Fisher Girls
- Divided by the Seas - Emigration & Separation
- Love of the Sea verses The Land, Relationships & Family Life
- Drowning Laments
The course will include a field trip outwith the college campus and participants are expected to be comfortable walking about 1 mile with ease, so please ensure that you bring a waterproof jacket, a small backpack and comfortable walking shoes.
This course is suitable for fluent speakers as well as those who have little or no Gaelic, but who have a desire to learn the language. Class tuition will be given in English and Gaelic and both languages will be used on any class excursions.
Click on highlighted link for more information on how to book this course - A Seascape of Gaelic Song.