New Musician in Residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture, has appointed a new Gaelic Musician in Residence who acquired the title “Gaelic Singer of the Year” in 2008. Margaret Stewart was born and raised in the village of Upper Coll on the Isle of Lewis, where song and poetry surrounded her as a child. This brought about a love of music in her and she went on to win the Gold Medal at the Royal National Mod in Airdrie in 1993. Since then, her reputation as a singer has travelled far and wide.
Margaret spent many years living abroad in Venezuela, Canada, the Far East and the Middle East, but nowadays she spends much of the year in Nairn. She has sung at the biggest festivals across Britain and Ireland, including the Edinburgh International Festival, Celtic Connections, Piping Live, Willie Clancy’s Summer School and Earagail Arts Festival in Donegal. She has also graced many international stages including Canada, Singapore, Lebanon, Germany and France.
Margaret is also widely admired as a singing teacher and many singers, young and old, have benefited from her expertise at various venues from Ceòlas in South Uist, to Willie Clancy’s Fèis in Ireland and also Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. She has also occasionally taught at the Plockton School of Excellence and the Royal Conservatoire. As well as teaching, Margaret has also put her knowledge of music and song to good use in the Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o’ Riches project, where she was one of the experts tasked with cataloguing songs from the School of Scottish Studies archive.
She has appeared on many TV and radio programmes and has a great interest in bringing rarely heard songs to the audience’s attention, which she did in programmes such as Na h-Eilthirich and Am Pòsadh Hiortach. Her voice can also be heard singing Jacobite songs in the Culloden Visitor Centre.
Margaret has done much collaborative work with other singers and musicians, and the two CDs she made with piper Allan Macdonald from Glenuig, Fhuair mi Pòg and Colla Mo Rùn, are widely acclaimed, as is her own album, Togaidh mi mo Sheòlta.
She is very pleased to be the Musician in Residence at Sabhal Mòr, and is more than happy to help or advise students and staff alike on a variety of subjects relating to language and song. She will be researching Gaelic songs connected to war and strife in her time at the College.
This post, as with the Visual artist, Drama artist and Writer in Residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, is funded by Creative Scotland.