Scotland’s Minister for Gaelic is leading the applause for a music festival’s efforts to put the language centre stage.
The award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival is a strong supporter of the Gaelic culture and makes sure it is seen and heard regularly during the four-day event. The event, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, has recruited Gaelic-speaking students from the local Nicolson Institute to mingle with festival goers and encouraging them to try out key Gaelic phrases such as –
Madainn mhath – Good Morning
Feasgair math - Good Afternoon
Tapadh leibh - Thank You
Oidhche mhath - Good Night
Caite bheil…? - Where is…?
Thall an siud! - Over there!
Tapa leibh.- Thank You
Glè mhath! - Very good
The students will have a prominent presence at the festival, dressed in red t-shirts emblazoned with the logo Tha Gàidhlig Agam (I have Gaelic) . Gaelic phrases, including Cail as ur? (Anything new?) and Ceol cumhachdach! (Powerful music!). will also be printed on balloons which will be visible at various locations on the festival site.
In addition, HebCelt will be holding its regular Gaelic learner taster sessions, while part of the festival website is given over to discussion in Gaelic.
Dr Alasdair Allan, MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Outer Hebrides) and the Minister for Scotland’s Languages, welcomed the festival’s latest efforts to promote Gaelic.
He said: “This is another fine example of the good work being done by HebCelt to promote Gaelic to a large audience. It means the language will be prominent during the festival and will encourage people, even those not familiar with the language, to see and hear it being used in everyday situations. That kind of exposure and experience is vital to Gaelic’s sustainability.
“Hearing Gaelic being spoken, and used in traditional and contemporary songs at the festival, adds to the character and appeal of HebCelt.”
HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan added: “The strong Gaelic element in the festival reflects the importance of the language and culture to our community. We very much want to make it an integral part of the event’s sights and sounds for the benefit of local people and also for visitors to the islands.”
Chrisella Ross, Gaelic family learning tutor at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council), added: “HebCelt is centred in that rare space - a Gaelic community where you can genuinely hear (and hope to use) plenty Gaelic outside of the classroom.”
The 20th anniversary HebCelt hosts a wide-ranging programme of events in the main festival arena and the an Lanntair arts centre as Stornoway, as well as in communities across Lewis and Harris.
Featured acts include Idlewild, Afro Celt Sound System, Treacherous Orchestra, the Karen Matheson Band, Shooglenifty, Chastity Brown, Le Vent du Nord, Raghu Dixit and Salsa Celtica.