Catriona Parsons has spent most of her life promoting her native tongue – Scottish Gaelic.
Born on the Isle of Lewis she has spent most of her life abroad.
“I never thought when I was growing up that I’d leave my native land and spend at least a third of my days working on behalf of Gaelic in Canada,” she admits.
A linguist, singer, educator and Gaelic scholar, she has worked for many years not only teaching the Gaelic language to anyone with a desire to learn, but also raising its profile within the general community. She has previously authored a three-part Gaelic learners course, as well as several smaller publications aimed at teaching the Gaelic language. Catriona is a former instructor at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton and professor in the Celtic Studies Department of St.F.X. She now works for the Nova Scotia Office of Gaelic Affairs in Antigonish.
Eileanan mo Ghaoil/Isles of my Love is Catriona’s first music CD. “I sang Gaelic songs from the time I could speak,” Catriona says. “Unfortunately I never could seem to find the time to do a CD.” Fortunately she did eventually find the time to select 20 songs from her extensive repertoire, and transcribe, translate and finally record them. Now with the assistance of Sìol Cultural Enterprises, a Gaelic publishing company based in St. Andrews, Nova Scotia, her debut CD is a reality. “I am greatly indebted to Gaels from all over the island from whom I learned idioms and songs that added to my own portion of our Gaelic heritage. Guma fad’ a chinneas a’ Ghàidhlig ann an Eileanan mo Ghaoil! [Long may Gaelic flourish in both my beloved islands!].”
The CD is a mix of the old and the new – five of the tracks are original compositions composed by Catriona herself with the assistance of her late husband William, to whom the CD is dedicated. The remaining tracks are split between songs composed on the Isle of Lewis and on Cape Breton. The final track is a special live recording from Cruinneachadh nan Gàidheal [Gathering of the Gaels] which she help organize in 2008 at St.F.X. when she was still a professor there. It features the Antigonish Gaelic Choir which Catriona used to direct.
Copies of the CD are currently available at www.gaelicbooks.com and the Gaelic Books Council. A portion of proceeds from the sale of every CD will go towards Gaelic scholarships.