Karaoke sa Ghàidhlig

Le Gordon Wells

Roll over, Beethoven!

Irish-speaker Seán Ó Muiris has announced a new voluntary and non-profit initiative to replicate his work in producing an Irish language karaoke repertoire with a parallel Scottish Gaelic stream. First fruits can be tasted in the YouTube link above, with his rendition of Runrig’s classic “Alba”.

Scottish Gaelic enthusiasts “of a certain age” may recall a previous venture in the karaoke genre, spearheaded by Comann an Luchd-Ionnsachaidh, nach maireann, in collaboration with Clydebank College (also no longer with us in the shape pictured here).

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As Gordon Wells’s notes to that pioneering production point out, “Scottish Gaels had of course … developed their own (pre-electronic) means of musical entertainment without instrumental backing, in the shape of puirt-à-beul…”. He also remarked that “Singing can be very helpful for the language learner. It allows you to concentrate on your pronunciation, and helps to fix unfamiliar vocabulary in your memory.” So, given that the original cassette-based package may not have fully withstood the test of time, this new venture in the world of Gaelic karaoke could well be overdue!

Seán makes the point strongly that his innovative approach is undertaken in a completely voluntary capacity, without any institutional backing, for the benefit of the Gaelic languages. You can hear him talking about it in detail in this interview in Irish for RTE. With over 100 karaoke versions of Irish songs on his YouTube channel he now wishes to start something similar for Scottish Gaelic and is offering to run free training seminars for anyone who might be interested in helping out.

His graphic below gives more detail:

karaokesaGhaidhlig

 

 


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Locks, Links, and Languages

Le Gordon Wells

It’s April 2020 and the global lockdown continues, whether you’re on the West coast of Scotland or in West Bengal. We’re largely “confined to quarters” in the international bids to lessen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The internet has many faults, but now offers the potential to afford mental release in times of physical restriction, at least to those fortunate to have access to it. Here’s an example.

Animesh Biswas is from Nadia, West Bengal, India. Graduating from the Department of English at the University of Kalyani, he is an independent reasearcher working on Bangla folk songs. He has no training in music, but is learning from the folk singers he meets during his research work.

Attending the North-Eastern Hill University International Language Fest in October 2019, he made acquaintance with Gordon Wells (who was speaking about Island Voices, and its potential as a model for other language communities) and they’ve maintained contact through Facebook since. Having heard him sing in Shillong, Gordon was delighted just a few days ago to receive a recording from Animesh over Facebook Messenger, made in his home in Nadia. Followed by snaps from his camera, and some toing and froing over recording revisions, the ingredients were quickly all present for a new video and Clilstore unit, presenting a Bengali song in the Baul tradition with wordlinked transcript. Ta da!

For the full wordlinked transcript, follow this Clilstore link: http://multidict.net/cs/8515

In addition, Animesh provided this English translation of the lyrics of the song:

You wish to chain my hands and my feet. How will you chain my mind?

You may shut my eyes and my mouth. How will you bind my spirit?

I couldn’t go to the banks of the Jamuna to fetch water. Nor, Sakhi, could I get a glimpse of him who stirs my passion.

You may refuse my wishes and deny my caress. How will you confine my passion?

I bring no shame to my family, nor stigma. What’s wrong with making him a garland round my body?

You may lock me in a room, block my way. How will you alter the cosmic design?

How?

Animesh describes the Baul tradition as being at the confluence of Vaishnavism, Sufism, and Tantric Buddhism. Devotion to the Almighty is the essential component, here expressed through the love of the devotee Radha for Krishna.

Speaking of this song, he says “I think in a way it conveys how pent-up we are in today’s world. Even though in literature we get to visit our dreamland vividly, in actual life it is a distant possibility.”

Perhaps we may also take inspiration from Radha’s spirit of defiance and determination to transcend earthly shackles in times of physical privation?


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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“An Èisteachd nam Bàrd”

Le Gordon Wells

Maggie Smith has been quietly putting a series of fascinating poetry podcasts she’s made on her website over the past few months. With the recent addition of the fourth and final one, the series is now complete. The table below will give you quick links to this full series of poetic Lewis voices. Follow the “Blogpost” link to get to Maggie’s introduction, or go straight to the podcast via “Soundcloud”.

We’ve added it to our dedicated Magaidh Smith page too, where you can also find links to her collections of stories and dramas. Happy listening!

Podcast Links
1. Domhnall Greumach, Tolstadh Bho Thuath, Eilean Leòdhais Blogpost
Soundcloud
2. Criosaidh NicIomhair, Breascleit, Eilean Leòdhais Blogpost
Soundcloud
3. Tormod MacLeoid Siadar a’ Chladaich, Eilean Leòdhais Blogpost
Soundcloud
4. Uilleam MacMhathain, Na Fleasarain, An Rubha, Eilean Leòdhais Blogpost
Soundcloud

 


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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