The announcement that a new BA Degree in Gaelic and Traditional Music will run at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig from September of this year, has been given an enthusiastic welcome by many of Gaeldom’s most successful international artists. For the first time, Gaelic traditional music can now be studied to degree level through the medium of the language itself.

Rising Gaelic music star, Julie Fowlis, a former student at Sabhal Mòr, and recent winner of the BBC Radio 2, ‘Horizon Award’ for the Best emerging Folk Artist, said today, “It is great to see a course like this become available to young musicians and singers with an interest in the language and the culture. There have been courses in the past but none which marry the language with the musical tradition and this was something which was lacking. Singers and musicians will be able to access, the tremendous wealth of musical heritage that is embedded in the language and the cultural heritage of the Gael.

Runrig musician and songwriter Calum Macdonald added, “This is a wonderful opportunity for young musicians and writers from both within the Gaidhealtachd and beyond to access something of immense worth and to use their knowledge of the language and the musical heritage as a springboard for their own development as contemporary artists, writers and performers. Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is perfectly placed to provide this immersed linguistic and musical environment. I am sure that it will play a very significant role in the development of many emerging young Gaelic musicians.

The new course was developed at Sabhal Mòr with the help of an independent team of external advisers consisting of some of the most notable performers, writers, composers and educators in the field, including, harpist, Alison Kinnaird, piper and historian Hugh Cheape, Niall Keegan and Sandra Joyce, of the Irish World Music Centre at Limerick University, composer and pianist Alasdair Nicolson, piper Iain Macdonald, traditional singers Mary Jane Campbell and Christine Primrose, former Runrig singer, musician and writer, Donnie Munro along with the interim programme leader, Dr John Purser, eminent composer, musicologist, historian and writer.

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s Head of Studies, John Norman Macleod explained that the proposal for a degree in Gaelic and Traditional Music was first mooted in 1998 at a conference organised by Sabhal Mòr as part of the Gaelic and Related Studies Scheme and said: “We believe that, with our holistic approach to academic provision through the medium of Gaelic language, we are uniquely placed to offer innovative and contextualised learning in an exciting and dynamic academic and arts environment which will bring together some of the world’s greatest traditional musicians. The College is already full of talented players and singers and this new course will build on that.

Dougie Pincock, Director of the nearby Plockton High School’s, National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music, welcomed the development saying,
“This creates a natural synergy with all our own work here at the Centre of Excellence and I am sure it will provide for a natural progression for many of our present and future students. It offers us great opportunities to work in partnership with Sabhal Mòr to develop the best opportunities for our talented young players and singers.

Applications are now being invited by interested students. Enquiries should be made to the College
Admissions Officer on 01471 888304 or

Editorial enquiries on the Course to :
John Norman Macleod Head of Studies or
Dr John Purser Course Director on:
01471 888 000.