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The Death of Connlaoch: An ancient Gaelic ballad re-born

Singing the Story: The Death of Connlaoch

Saturday 20 October, 6.30 pm, Netherbow Theatre, Scottish Storytelling Centre

From chiefs’ halls to ceilidh houses, heroic ballads and their stories have been at the heart of Gaelic culture for centuries. They form one of the cultural and artistic high points of Gaelic tradition, known from the earliest medieval Gaelic manuscript tradition and from later oral tradition and performance.

On Saturday 20 October, the Scottish Storytelling Festival will host a new performance of Bàs Chonnlaoich, The Death of Connlaoch. Two exceptional performers, singer Margaret Stewart and musician and storyteller Pàdruig Morrison, will use tale and ballad to tell the story of the death of Connlaoch, son of the Scottish warrior princess Aoife and the Irish hero Cú Chulainn, at the hands of his own father.

Working with academic partners Abigail Burnyeat (Celtic and Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh) and Domhnall Uilleam Stiùbhart (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, UHI), Pàdruig and Margaret have drawn on medieval Gaelic tales dating from as early as the ninth century, and ballad texts preserved by folklore collectors in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They undertook the challenging task of recreating the lost air for the ballad, and of finding ways to tell its story that honour both the medieval narratives and the living tradition of oral Gaelic storytelling. Their performance brings story and song together, bringing them back to life for twenty-first century audiences.

A’ Seinn na Sgeulachd: Bàs Chonnlaoich | Singing the Story: The Death of Connlaoch will be a unique opportunity to experience a hugely significant part of European cultural heritage, one of Gaelic’s great gifts to the world.

Margaret Stewart, from Upper Coll in the Island of Lewis, is one of the foremost traditional Gaelic singers and authorities on traditional Gaelic song in Scotland today.

Pàdruig Morrison, from the Island of Grimsay, North Uist, is a composer, actor, and one of the finest of a new generation of traditional musicians. He comes from a long line of Gaelic storytellers and tradition bearers.

This performance is generously supported by the Hope Scott Trust and the Royal Celtic Society.

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