Gaelic to star at Glasgow Commonwealth Games

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TRADITIONAL Gaelic talent will help form part of the cultural celebrations to mark the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow - and place the language at the very heart of the Games.

Sabhal Mor Ostaig’s Musician in Residence Mary Ann Kennedy has been commissioned to create and produce an innovative new work for the prestigious UK music initiative, the ‘PRSF New Music Biennial’.

Mary Ann – who comes from the well-known Gaelic musical family, the Campbells of Greepe – will work with an international team on ‘Aiseag’ (The Ferryboat) to form part of The Biennial; the flagship commissioning programme of the PRS (Performing Rights Society) Foundation for the year of the Commonwealth Games.

In the team will be Canadian composer Scott MacMillan; Audio Designer Nick Turner from Watercolour Music, and renowned Gaelic poet Aonghas MacNeacail and, together with Mary Ann, aim to create a new work inspired by human and cultural connections, rooted in the Highlands and the Nova Scotia Gaelic diaspora.

Commenting on the commission, Mary Ann said: “It’s a real honour to be able to bring Gaelic into the heart of the cultural celebrations of the Games in this way, especially in my home-town of Glasgow.

“I’m looking forward to working again with Scott, Nick and Aonghas – and to finding some exciting ways of bringing these maritime worlds back up the Clyde and Thames!”

Mary Ann lives in Ardgour, Lochaber, at the gateway to the Arnamurchan Peninsula which is served by five different ferry services around its coastline.

And the metaphor of the ferryboat is particularly appropriate to the commission as both the Highlands and Nova Scotia maintain networks of small but vital ferry services around their coasts and inlets.

Welcoming the news of Musician in Residence’s role in the Commonwealth Games, Sabhal Mor Ostaig’s Director of Development, Fundraising and the Arts, Donnie Munro, said: “This news is wonderful, for Mary Ann in her own right, as a highly regarded international artist and producer and, of course, also for Sabhal Mor Ostaig, as host to her current artist’s residency.

“This is precisely the type of creative opportunity which the residency programme was designed to facilitate.

“With this exciting project, Mary Ann not only places Gaelic language and culture at the centre of the Commonwealth Games cultural celebrations but, more importantly, places the language and the culture within the wider context of international arts experience.”

‘Aiseag’ is one of 20 UK-wide commissions which will be premièred in different locations around the country throughout the first half of 2014, before gathering at London’s Southbank Centre in London in July, and reaching the Games themselves in Glasgow in August.