HebCelt puts stronger accent on use of Gaelic

The Gaelic interaction team, (left to right) Annabelle Maclennan, Rachel Ellen MacKay and Chrisella Ross
The Gaelic interaction team, (left to right) Annabelle Maclennan, Rachel Ellen MacKay and Chrisella Ross

Volunteers at this year’s Hebridean Celtic Festival will be minding their language as they mingle with locals and visitors to promote the native tongue.

The award-winning festival is a strong supporter of the Gaelic culture and is stepping up efforts to ensure it will be seen and heard regularly during the four-day event , which opens tomorrow (Wednesday July 16th) in Stornoway.

This year, for the first time, volunteer staff – both fluent speakers and learners – will be dressed in red t-shirts emblazoned with the logo ‘Tha Gàidhlig Agam’ (I have Gaelic). They will use key Gaelic phrases and encourage music fans to try them out.

Feasgar math - Good afternoon

Tapa leibh - Thank You

Oidhche mhath - Good night

Caite bheil…? - Where is…?

Thall an siud! - Over there!

In addition, HebCelt will be holding its regular Gaelic learner taster sessions during the festival, while Gaelic phrases will be printed on balloons which will be visible at various venues.

HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said: “We are passionate about promoting Gaelic in all aspects of the festival. It is very much a living language here and it is vital it is seen and heard in everyday situations.

“Having the volunteers sharing some simple phrases is an easy but effective way of encouraging its use and ensuring it is an integral part of HebCelt.”

The festival, which is held from July 16th-19th , is also staging a Gaelic Showcase at An Lanntair arts centre in Stornoway.

In addition, the main festival programme will feature on Friday, July 18th, Ceòl Na Cloinne, a group of young musicians and singers from Harris formed eight years ago by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Community Learning and Development Service to give young traditional musicians the opportunity to play sessions together.

The 19th HebCelt will be headlined by Levellers, Big Country and Donnie Munro. Rachel Sermanni, Cara Dillon, Duncan Chisholm, Cajun band Magnolia Sisters, from the US, and Canadian outfit Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys will also be among nearly 40 acts featuring on stage.