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SMO students join forces with Gaelic musical greats on island tour

Students from Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI will embark on a musical island tour this week where they will play alongside some of Scotland’s finest Gaelic singers and musicians.

The 15 students from the BA (Hons) Gaelic and Traditional Music degree programme will visit venues in North Uist, South Uist and Skye. The students will play at four separate events and hold a music workshop for children on their tour between 7 and 20 March. The students will be joined at the various events by several of Gaeldom’s best-known musical talents which include Allan MacDonald, Arthur Cormack, Christine Primrose, Blair Douglas and Dàimh.

The tour builds upon the success of last year’s 40th Anniversary tour by music course students and the hope is that it will now become annual event where the college gets the chance to reach out to the community.

Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) Gaelic and Traditional Music, Dr Decker Forrest, said: “Outreach and engagement with other Gaelic-speaking communities is something the college is constantly trying to develop. Last year’s tour demanded a tremendous effort from the students, who were largely responsible for its organisation, but everyone was determined to return to strengthen ties with some of the communities visited as well as to form new connections with one or two other places.

“We were particularly delighted to be asked to return to Stoneybridge, South Uist to perform with local talent and to deliver a workshop to children the following day. There was a fantastic response from the community last year and the opportunity for our students to engage with Gaelic-speaking children and to support the important work of Fèis Tìr a’ Mhurain was an opportunity we were keen to repeat.”

Also as part of the tour the students will hold a special concert in North Uist as tribute to the late Ivan MacDonald.

Dr Forrest said: “When performing in Uist last year, we were hosted one night by Ivan MacDonald who died tragically later that Spring. Ivan was a great piper and wonderful friend to some of the musicians on the course and the students felt that it would be their way of paying tribute to Ivan’s friendship and hospitality by performing  at Carinish Hall with piper Allan MacDonald, an inspirational musician and friend of Ivan’s.”

The students will also be performing in two locations on Skye. The first will be in the newly refurbished Kilmuir Hall and will feature course tutor and acclaimed singer Christine Primrose along with Arthur Cormack and Blair Douglas. The tour will then come to a close in the Talla Mhòr at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig where the students along with ‘Gaelic super-group’ Dàimh will perform.

The first tour event will be a Community Ceilidh in Stoneybridge Hall on Friday 7 March from 7.30pm, and a children’s music workshop will be held in the same venue the following morning, Saturday 8 March, between 10.30am and 12.30pm. The concert in Carinish Hall will be held on Saturday (8 March) night from 7.30pm with a dance to follow. The concert in Kilmuir Hall on Skye will be held on 15 March from 7.30 with a dance afterwards, and the final tour event will be held in the Talla Mhòr at SMO on 20 March from 7.30pm, again with a dance afterwards.

There will be a raffle at each concert and tickets can be purchased at the door. For more information contact Marketing at SMO on 01471 888 218.

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