Gaelic singing tradition

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The new CD Ceòl à Bhràdhagair, revives the Gaelic singing tradition the unique blas or style of the Westside of Lewis. The Bragar School ceilidh of 33 years ago, a true cultural treasure chest, features school pupils in the early 1980s and legendary Gaelic singers of the era.

The CD has been produced by Urras Coimhearsnachd Bràdhagair agus Arnoil, based at the building, where youngsters received their education for 130 years, until Bragar school closed in 2012.

Bragar and Arnol Community Trust have purchased the building and a volunteer committee are developing the building as a community and commercial facility, with an emphasis on preserving and promoting Gaelic culture.

Bragar School teachers in 1981, Mrs Margaret Mackay and Miss Annette MacAulay, both from Carloway, had the foresight to recruit Noel Eadie to make the original recording at the end of term community ceilidh.

The twenty tracks on the CD include Taobh Siar favourites such as Fiullaigean, Òran na h-Officials , Eilean Beag Donn a Chuain, Tom an t-Searraich and Òran a Bhiùthagan.

The local singers include: The School Choir, Donald M MacInnes, Murdo MacLeod, Annetta MacKay, A MacIver, D .J.Murray Peggy Ann Smith, Murdo Maclean, D.J. Macleod, A.Graham, The Smith Sisters, P.M. Smith and Morag MacLean.

Poetry is by bàrds from Bragar and the surrounding area, popular songs in the district, Bràdhagair mo Ghràidh and Bràdhagair an Taobh Siar, will be new to other islanders.

Oran a’ Recorder written in the early 1960s when the first reel to reel recorders appeared, describes the early tape recorders perfectly:

’S chluinn thu click, ’s an uairsin flick, ’s thig a nise solus air

Cluinn thu srànn ’s chì thu cuibhl’ a tionndadh, cur nan caran orra.

Ceol à Bràdhagair is to be launched at a ceilidh in Bragar School on Saturday 6th December at 3.30pm with some of the original 1981 performers giving a rendition.

The CD priced £10 will be available from local shops, at website and by post from Urras Coimhearsnachd Bràdhagair agus Arnoil, Bragar School, HS2 9DA