A Gaelic arts organisation hopes to spread some festive cheer with the release of three new Gaelic songs, with proceeds of the songs going to The ARCHIE Foundation, in memory of Keir MacGruer, who was a pupil at Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis (Inverness Gaelic Primary school).
The songs, written by contemporary Gaelic musicians including BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winner Josie Duncan from Lewis, Pàdruig Morrison of Uist-based group, Beinn Lee, and Gaelic vocal harmony band, Sian. The accompanying videos will also be shared with schools and the 47 local fèisean which Fèisean nan Gàidheal supports as an early Christmas present in recognition of the extra effort made by schools and communities this year while dealing with the impact of the pandemic.
‘Mìorbhail an t-sneachda’ (The Miracle of Snow), has been written and performed by Josie Duncan and Hamish Macleod (both members of band, Inyal) and was inspired by the poem by Aonghas ‘Dubh’ MacNeacail, Bho an cathadh mòr (The Great Snowbattle).
‘Fosgail an doras agus leig a-staigh mi!’ (Open the door and let me in!), composed by Pàdruig Morrison and performed by Pàdruig and his Beinn Lee bandmate, James Stewart, uses a traditional new year chant as the basis of the lyrics, returning in the chorus to the idea of opening the door to allow visitors to enter; particularly pertinent this year, perhaps!
The third song, ‘Gaoth na Callain’ (The New Year Wind), looks ahead to what the turn of the year might bring, was written and performed by Sian band members Innes White, Eilidh Cormack, Ellen Macdonald and Ceitlin Lilidh. The song incorporates the chorus from traditional Celtic New Year rhymes, as collected in the 1964 publication of playground songs and rhymes, Aithris is Oideas, along with brand new words for the verses.
Eilidh Mackenzie, Fèisgoil Manager at Fèisean nan Gàidheal, said: “We commissioned three new songs for the festive period as we thought children and their families might appreciate some new music for this special time of year. We are absolutely delighted with the three songs written and recorded by such talented young Gaelic musicians.
“We hope to raise some monies for The ARCHIE Foundation in memory of Keir MacGruer, a pupil of Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis, who accomplished so much in his short life. The songs , with accompanying videos, will also be shared with schools this week before the end of term as a present from us to all children and teachers in the GME/GLE sector.”
Angela Cran, Keir’s mum, commented: “Keir spent a lot of time in Raigmore Hospital between 2010-12 after being diagnosed, aged 5, with a rare and incurable lung condition, pulmonary hypertension. In early 2012 he started fundraising for The ARCHIE Foundation by drawing cards of his signature superheroes and was thrilled to raise over £2,000 through card sales and his fundraising art exhibition at his primary school, Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis. Sadly, Keir died two weeks later in September 2012 but his connection to The ARCHIE Foundation endures with his wonderful artwork that brightens the entrance to the new children’s unit at Raigmore Hospital that was funded by the charity. Thank you so much to Fèisean nan Gàidheal for supporting The ARCHIE Foundation in Keir’s memory, it means a lot.”
The songs can be downloaded for a minimum of £1 each from Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s Bandcamp page: https://feisean.bandcamp.com. Any schools who don’t receive the songs directly are asked to contact Fèisgoil manager, Eilidh Mackenzie on firstname.lastname@example.org