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).

IMG_3421

 

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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Invitation to Unmute

Le Gordon Wells

MOOTPicFinal

Who remembers we once mooted a MOOT?

Well, the idea of an Island Voices “Multilingual Open Online Teach-in” is now no longer, um, moot – for want of a better word. “Chan ann a h-uile latha a bhios mòd aig Mac an Tòisich”, mar a chanas iad, (“It’s not every day Mackintosh throws a party” – loosely) but its time has come.

“Talking Points” with Tormod

We’ve recently placed a whole series of “Talking Points with Norman Maclean” recordings on our YouTube channel, built on a merging of materials and ideas from the Soillse/UHI Language Sciences Institute projects Mediating Multilingualism and Saoghal Thormoid. In the last few weeks of the funded period for Mediating Multilingualism, linguists in universities in Scotland, India, and Jamaica discussed topics of common interest with UK-based community language speakers, stimulated by brief extracts from the final session of Saoghal Thormoid. And these discussions are now available to view.

It’s an experimental format, mixing subtitled Gaelic recordings with live English debate. The topics are sociolinguistic, covering Language Endangerment (Gaelic Trajectory?), Language Hierarchies (English Ascendancy?), and Language Contact (Bilingual Balance?). And they may raise just as many questions as answers, if not more. Just the thing then for the enquiring mind, and quite in the spirit of the “Teach-in” philosophy described in our 2019 post! In the end, we didn’t set up a separate online forum then, and we won’t now. There are perfectly good comment and reply functions on YouTube and here on WordPress for any questions readers or listeners may have.

YouTube Playlist

But to help provide a degree of focus or sense of direction – without closing down the options for diverging lines of thought and enquiry – we’ve put together a special “box set” International Island Voices MOOT playlist on YouTube that brings together the Talking Points material with some other key videos from our overall body of work which underpin and exemplify our multilingual approach.

Previews

By the way, we knitted some 2-minute Norman Maclean “highlights” into the recorded discussions, as an aide memoire for the longer extracts that were being discussed. If you want a quick taste of a topic, we’ve extracted them here, and you can take a quick look at any of them now, before choosing which full discussion to dive into for the wider treatment.

1. Gaelic Trajectory? 2. English Ascendancy?
3a. Bilingual Balance? 3b. Homecoming Postscript

Taking Part

There’s no start or stop date on this. The “Talking Points” participants are separated by up to ten and a half hours difference in time zones between India and Jamaica, so a simultaneous “launch” has not been feasible. And our geographical catchment is worldwide, so the approach is deliberately asynchronous – completely independent of any timetable. View the videos, ask questions, and make comments (which will be moderated) as and when you can and wish. Please be polite, and be prepared to be patient if waiting for responses.

Choosing where to comment is up to you. Specific queries about particular videos may be best posted under the relevant YouTube clip. But if your point or question is more general, then a comment here under this WordPress post may be the best place.

Binge-watching the whole playlist in one go is probably doable, if challenging, but perhaps not the best way of giving yourself time to think through issues that arise and about which you may have questions. A better approach might actually be to split up the longer discussion videos into smaller chunks – for which the “chapters” function in YouTube may well come in handy. If you take a look at the video description for any of these long clips you’ll find timed listings for each of the speakers, which you can click on to go straight to that particular point in the film.

And any time you catch yourself wondering which one’s Treebeard, it’s probably time for a break…

We’re pleased to have a receptive and supportive audience and readership, of course, but comments, questions and other feedback are always very welcome. Wikipedia tells us “Teach-ins are meant to be practical, participatory, and oriented toward action. While they include experts lecturing on their area of expertise, discussion and questions from the audience are welcome…”

Dear readers, whether you have questions or suggestions, the MOOT is open. We invite you to “unmute”!

International Island Voices MOOT: the YouTube Playlist


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Gaelic Jorni

Le Gordon Wells

Jorni3“Winta jos a ton ina spring ina di Outer Hebrides, we de pan Scotland wes kuos. Di priti plies dem mek yu memba se dem ailan ya suun fulop a piipl we lef dem yaad an kom pan alidie ina di at mont dem we suun riich, bot rait ya nou wan gruup a luokal piipl a go pan a chrip pan di Naatwes kuos a Ireland. Bak ina di diez,  dem wuda chavl bai waata an wuda go fram ailan tu ailan ina dis lang schring a komyuuniti we piipl ongl chat Gaelic. Bot nou-a-diez Benbecula ierpuot gi piipl wan iiziya an muo komfatebl wie fi go bout dem bizniz…” (Jamiekan)

“Mu dheireadh thall tha sinn a’ cur ar cul ris a’ Gheamhradh anns na h-Eileanan Siar, sa chuan pìos a-mach à taobh an iar na h-Alba. Tha na seallaidhean àlainn gar cuimhneachadh gum bi luchd-turais gu leòr a’ tighinn ann am mìosan blàth an t-samhraidh. Ach an-diugh fhèin tha sgioba de dh’Eileanaich a’ dèanamh an slìghe gu taobh an iar-thuath na h-Èirinn. Aig aon àm, b’ e bàta a bhiodh aca, a’ leum bho eilean gu eilean ann an sreath slàn de choimhearsnachdan Gàidhlig, ach tha port-adhair Bheinn na Faoghla a’ dèanamh gnothaichean nas fhasa dhaibh an-diugh…” (Gàidhlig)

Jorni2“Tá an tEarrach ag teacht sna hOileáin Siar amach ó chósta thiar na hAlban. Cuireann na radharcanna áille i gcuimhne dúinn go mbeidh neart turasóirí ag triall ar na hoileáin seo sna míonna teo atá le teacht. Ach san am i láthair tá buíon oileánach ag imeacht ar thuras go cósta Iarthuaiscirt na hÉireann. Blianta ó shin is turas farraige a bheadh ann, ag imeacht ó oileán go hoileán i slabhra de phobail Ghaeltachta. Ach anois cuireann Aerfort Bheinn A Faoghla modh níos áisiúla taistil ar fail…” (Gaeilge)

“Winter is just turning to spring in the Outer Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland. Picturesque scenes are a reminder that these islands will host a steady stream of holidaymakers in the warmer months to come, but right now a team of islanders is heading off on a trip to the Northwest coast of Ireland. In earlier times the journey would have been by sea, hopping from island to island in an unbroken string of Gaelic-speaking communities. But now, Benbecula airport offers a more convenient means of travel…” (English)

Following his work on the Tobar an Dualchais Dijitaizieshan Senta, Hugh Campbell of the University of the West Indies Jamaican Language Unit has kindly voiced another Island Voices film – the “Gaelic Jorni” documenting the seminal linkage with Irish language speakers in Donegal.

As with his first film, this is part of the transnational “Mediating Multilingualism” project linking Scottish, Indian, and Jamaican universities. Congratulations also to the UHI IT team for adding Jamaican to the growing list of languages in which the university’s webpages are now available!


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Seanchas le Magaidh Smith

Le Gordon Wells

Maggie (2)“Bhuail e mi nach eil cruinneachadh de sheanchas a tha a’ buntainn ri Sgìre nan Loch an àite sam bith, is gum bu chòir dhomh cuid aca a thoirt cruinn agus mar a bha sa chleachdadh bho chionn fhada an aithris. ‘S e bha nam amharc gum biodh iad ri làimh dha daoine òga a tha ag iarraidh an aithris aig a’ Mhòd, no aig a bheil ùidh ann am beatha anns an sgìre bho chionn fhada”.

Magaidh Smith explains how the need for a collection of traditional tales from the Lochs district motivated her to record some in the old style. They might be useful for young people entering the Mòd, or who are interested in the traditional life of the area. We’re delighted that she offered them to Island Voices to place online. They will also contribute to the Stòras Beò collection.

Here she retells the story of Calum Bàn, Tacksman of Laxay, from her own knowledge of oral tradition.

You can access a wordlinked transcript on Clilstore with the video embedded here: https://multidict.net/cs/10037

Here she brings back to Gaelic life a story from William Cummings’ edited collection “Family Traditions: John Macleod, 11 Melbost”.

You can access a wordlinked transcript on Clilstore with the video embedded here: https://multidict.net/cs/10036


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Hebridean Dijitaizieshan Senta

Le Gordon Wells

DijiSentaWahn shaat flim ina di Jamiekan langwij bout di Tobar an Dualchais (Well of Heritage) Dijitaizieshan Senta ina South Uist, ina di Outer Hebrides ina Scotland.

We were pleased to get Island Voices representation on the Digital Museum’s truly continent-spanning special event on International Mother Language Day this year. Starting in Bangladesh, where the movement began, the various sessions crossed Asia, Europe, and Africa, before finishing up with speakers from the Americas.

Gaelic was presented alongside Jamaican, and from that initial contact an exciting collaboration is growing up between the University of the Highlands and Islands Language Sciences Institute and the Jamaican Language Unit of the University of the West Indies Mona Campus. This is being developed through the enlargement of the inter-university Mediating Multilingualism project, which was already linking UHI with Indian partners.

The Jamaican Language Unit conducts research on the Jamaican language, and advocates for the recognition and officialisation of the language, and its teaching to native and non-native speakers. As part of Mediating Multilingualism it will oversee the creation of audio and audio-visual materials in the Jamaican language, the provision of transcripts, translations, and related lexicographic work, plus compilation of a 500,000-word corpus.

Test Clilstore units are now coming through, based on Island Voices documentary material, making use of the same Custom Wordlist function first tested out on Okinawan. Here’s an early sample, adding yet another language to our Other Tongues collection. The Tobar an Dualchais film was first made in Gaelic and English for Series Two Enterprise, with a Scots version following later. Many thanks to Hugh Campbell and the Jamaican Language Unit for this new production!

Hugh’s voiceover narration has been transcribed using the approved Cassidy-JLU orthography for the Jamaican language. Here’s the wordlinked Clilstore unit, with every word clickable for a Jamaican to English translation: https://clilstore.eu/cs/9897


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Scotland’s Gaelic College: an Okinawan take

Le Gordon Wells

Okinawandumptitle (2)

ソールモールオスタイク んでぃいーる スコットランド ぬ ゲーリック 大学に ちーてぃ うちなーぐち っし  うんぬきやびら。

(“Nach bruidhinn sinn mu dheidhinn Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Colaiste Ghàidhlig na h-Alba, ann an Uidsianàguidsidh – cànan Okinawa.”)

At Guthan nan Eilean we centre our Gaelic attention on the Hebridean islands where the language is still most widely spoken, while reaching out to a worldwide community of interest. We believe this provides a firmly grounded platform, rooted in day-to-day vernacular practice, on which to build links and relationships with other linguistic communities who may be facing similar challenges, transcending nationally drawn boundaries of frequently debatable relevance or disputed authority for those who actually speak the languages in question.

So we’re delighted now to add Okinawan – another island language at apparent risk of societal desuetude – to our list of Other Tongues in which our films have been re-purposed. Here, Tomoko Arakaki of the Okinawa Christian University has provided a fresh voiceover for our short documentary film about Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. This was first made in Gaelic and English for Series 2 Generations, with a Breton version following more recently. It’s a source of pleasure and encouragement to us to make this concrete and practical new link across seas and continents, with a view to sharing news and ideas in a manner as suggested, for example, in the “Two Lands Many Languages” film which was shot mainly in Meghalaya during the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Hebridean communities have functioned bilingually for generations, with the balance only tipping drastically in a majoritised monocultural direction within the living memory of current residents – an experience commonly shared in similar contexts across the world. If Island Voices has anything to offer in terms of redressing that imbalance, we’re more than happy to share lessons from our Gaelic work with others.

Producing an accompanying Clilstore transcript – at https://multidict.net/cs/9722 – presented various challenges, not least the lack of an appropriate online dictionary for Okinawan. Fortunately, Caoimhín Ó Donnaíle at SMO has already been putting his mind to this issue in relation to the “Mediating Multilingualism” project led by the UHI Language Sciences Institute. We can look forward to extending his “Custom Wordlist” approach beyond Okinawan to Indian and Jamaican languages in the near future. Watch this space!


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Stòras Beò: Alasdair a-rithist

Le Gordon Wells

AlasdairandKirsty

Alasdair Macdonald talks to his daughter Kirsty. This follows on from the previous conversation Archie Campbell had with Alasdair for Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal.

This time Kirsty took charge of the kit and made the recording herself, capturing a fascinating father-daughter exchange in which more stories were re-told, many of them obviously old family favourites.

In this part, Alasdair recounts a number of tales recalled from his own childhood. Topics covered include hunting for rabbits, a near-drowning before the Baleshare causeway was built, youthful gun-handling, the making of seal oil, the use of horses for ploughing or to haul carts, and illicit fishing attempts with dynamite. These are followed by the recital of more traditional stories such as Cù Dubh Mhic a’ Phì (Àiridh na h-Aon Oidhche) and Isean Mhic Mhuirich.

A wordlinked transcript with embedded video is available on Clilstore via this link: https://multidict.net/cs/9723

In this part, Alasdair relates a story of fairy abduction to begin with, before hitting his stride with a series of anecdotes concerning local “characters” or family antecedents, including Iain Beag, Teàrlach Ruadh, Aonghas Ailean mhic Aonghaidh, and Ailean Heisgeir himself. From there the conversation moves onto deer-hunting escapades around Eaval (and how court appearances would not necessarily result in a poaching conviction), followed by discussion of grazing issues for both cattle and sheep. He finishes by describing traditional methods commonly used to make butter and cheese.

A wordlinked transcript with embedded video is available on Clilstore via this link: https://multidict.net/cs/9724


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Stòras Beò: Pàdruig Moireasdan

Le Gordon Wells

PàdruigandGordonPàdruig Morrison, PhD scholar, crofter, musician, and community activist from Grimsay, talks to Gordon Wells for the Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal project.

We’ve added a Gaelic subtitle option on YouTube for those that wish it, which can be machine translated into multiple other languages through “Settings”. Wordlinked transcripts are also available on Clilstore.

In the first part, he recalls his family history, including his grandfather’s celebrated recordings and their importance for the preservation and transmission of Gaelic culture, and his father’s love of singing and the continuation of tradition. His own Gaelic was nurtured in the extended family and community, with the strong support of his English-speaking mother. An early interest in music was well supported through Uist schooling initially, and then intensively in Edinburgh, where he found additional impetus for his Gaelic through church and university circles. Following his father’s death, he maintained close contact with his Grimsay home, to which he always intended to return.

A wordlinked transcript alongside the embedded video is available here: https://multidict.net/cs/9686

In the second part, Pàdruig makes some comparisons between Irish and Scottish traditional music scenes, drawing on his experience of postgraduate study in Maynooth, where he noted a common preference in rural more “Gàidhealach” areas for a steady swing in contrast with urban centres like Dublin or Glasgow. Now back home in Grimsay he is busy with his croft, in addition to pursuing a PhD. The maintenance of traditional crofting skills is important to him in times of heightened environmental awareness. He is also involved in debates around access to crofts and housing for young people, especially following Covid lockdowns. He is optimistic about developing the common interest of vernacular Gaels and learners in sustaining island communities.

A wordlinked transcript alongside the embedded video is available here: https://multidict.net/cs/9686 

Attentive listeners will have noticed occasional references to earlier films made in the Island Voices series, including some featuring a much younger Pàdruig, as well as his father! You can check back on these in the archives, particularly in the Series 2 Generations section.


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Stòras Beò: Curstaidh NicDhòmhnaill

Le Gordon Wells

KirstyGordonJPegIndependent Gaelic consultant Kirsty Macdonald, from Claddach Illeray in North Uist, talks to Gordon Wells.

Patronymics (and a DNA test) reveal a long Gaelic-speaking lineage on her father’s side, while her mother first moved to Uist to learn the language, then marrying and settling down. From a family of teachers, Kirsty had a difficult relationship with education in her school years, but found her passion for Gaelic ignited when she left Uist to study, first at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, and then Edinburgh University.

Talking to Gordon, she also fleshes out some of her memories and thoughts recently published in her very popular article on “Getting closer to home from a journey away” in the West Highland Free Press, highlighting the treasures of Tobar an Dualchais, and the importance in her eyes of discussing and addressing the concerns of Gaelic speakers in the vernacular community – a topic of current debate.

YouTube “closed caption” videos are enabled here, so viewers have the choice of reading the Gaelic subtitles while they watch and listen. You can also, if you wish, get automatic machine translations of these into English and many other languages through the Settings menu.

A wordlinked transcript with embedded video is available on Clilstore via this link: https://multidict.net/cs/9629

This is part of the Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal project in which the UHI Language Sciences Institute with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and Soillse, together with Irish partners, record the natural speech of Irish and Scottish Gaelic speakers in their own communities with user-friendly equipment and techniques. Alasdair MacDonald, Kirsty’s dad, is already on the Stòras Beò site, but Kirsty’s final words indicate there’s yet more to come from that quarter… Watch this space! 


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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Taisce Bheo: Clíona

Le Gordon Wells

Clíona“Tionscadal píolótach a dhíríonn ar shamplaí cuí eiseamláireacha den chaoi a labhraítear an Ghaeilge agus a’ Ghàidhlig i bpobail Ghaelacha in Albain agus in Éirinn atá sa Taisce Ghaelach. Baintear leas as uirlisí soláimhsithe cláraithe agus teicnící furasta chun an t-ábhar a chruinniú.”

We start with a quote from the Irish language introduction to the UHI “Stòras Beò nan Gàidheal” project, whose Scottish Gaelic samples we’ve been regularly featuring on these pages. It explains that the project aims to collect exemplary samples of Gaelic speech from vernacular communities in Scotland and Ireland with user-friendly equipment and techniques.

The COVID crisis struck just as the Irish recordings were due to be getting underway, causing an inevitable delay. However, following the recent experimentation with Zoom conversations in Scottish Gaelic, a parallel Irish series has now begun recording, following the same pattern. This conversation between Colm Mac Giolla Easpaig and Clíona Ní Ghallachòir is the first to be placed online. Consider it a foretaste of more delights to come!

Clíona is from Meenaclady and Colm is from Gweedore. Clíona is a twenty-one-year-old student who is currently residing in Galway. In the first part of the interview, she speaks about the student experience during the Covid 19 pandemic. She talks about her hometown and her views on the state of the Irish language in the Gaeltacht. She goes on to talk about her interest in singing and storytelling with some mention of local traditions and customs.

A wordlinked transcript alongside the embedded video is available here: https://multidict.net/cs/9452

In the second part of this interview, Clíona talks about the changes occurring in the Irish language communities and her own work experience with both translation and language planning. She goes on to speak about her childhood memories and other interests she would like to pursue. She then speaks about her involvement in drama both onstage and behind the scenes. She discusses the importance of faith in her local area before finally talking about what she would do if she were to win the lottery.

A wordlinked transcript alongside the embedded video is available here: https://multidict.net/cs/9454

If you follow the Clilstore transcript links for either of these clips you will spot an interesting innovation in comparison with the earlier Scottish series. Dr Gearóid Ó Domagáin of Ulster University, who produced the transcriptions, has gone a step further and provided additional footnotes to mark regional variations on the standard. You’ll find these by clicking on the “annotated version” tab in the Clilstore unit. At this point, Guthan nan Eilean aficionados may well also be thinking back to our “Gaelic Journeys” page, and noting previous links to Ulster University and Donegal. This is not the first time Colm has appeared on this site!


Tadhail air Island Voices – Guthan nan Eilean

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