8 July 2013
It is the first day of Ceòlas classes and I feel slightly overwhelmed. I am here to record, absorb and enjoy. So much is happening all around; people re-uniting, a kitchen in full swing with home made baking and giant kettles of tea, classes beginning in piping, fiddle, clarsach, song, reels and quadrilles, step dance, Gaelic language … A hum of anticipation and excitement from those who return each year and know the ropes.
I am surrounded by Gaelic speakers, – of course! But the fascinating thing is that people are also here from many countries of the world – Japan, Romania, Germany, Canada, America, Austria, Switzerland – and they are speaking Gaelic too. My Gaelic consists of what I have learnt from the BBC online class, Beag air Bheag. This has been a great help, and a beautiful language to learn, though I am still in the ranks of beginners. But there is a place for everyone here and I am gradually finding my way to that place.
We have all signed up for two classes, a first choice class, which we do in the mornings and afternoons, and a secondary one, which we do between morning tea and lunchtime. I have signed up for Gaelic song and step dance, but I will try and go to all the classes, as I am here to record too. There are also Gaelic language classes between morning tea and lunch.
At the end of the day there is a crossover class, where classes merge – musicians with singers and dancers, to pull the work together for a final event.
It doesn’t stop there, and each evening there is a ceilidh or a concert – tonight a piping concert, and of course the music continues on in the hotels and the bars well into the night.
I am in the swing of staying up late here but the pace has just cranked up another notch!!
(Links to some Gaelic language lessons, some songs and the Ceòlas site are on the blog Scotland Digital Resources page)