Am Bratach No. 232
February 2011

A good turnout expected at Scourie’s first ever fèis
Mandy Haggith reports

Scourie will host Fèis an Iar Thuath, its first ever Fèis, on February 18 and 19 of this month when children from around the district will gather for a weekend of music and other Gaelic arts tuition.

Lisa MacDonald, one of the organisers of the 2-day event, said: “We want an initiative that encompasses everyone and that the whole community will feel welcome to come to. A fèis is a fun thing and we hope it’ll show that Gaelic is for everyone.”

There will be classes for children aged 8 to 18 in guitar, fiddle, keyboard, tin whistle, song, dance and drama as well as Gaelic language sessions for adults and Gaelic games for everyone. In addition to the main fèis there will also be a “Fèis Bheag”, a taster session for children who are not yet of main Fèis age but who want to get involved in the fun.
The fèis is being organised by the local development group Am Parbh, which Lisa explained is not only the Gaelic name for Cape Wrath, but also literally means turning point

“There used to be a local group by this name, and this is a kind of reincarnation of it. We hope that it will really be a turning point for the language, and put an end to the decline.”
Lisa is a fluent Gaelic speaker and recently qualified to tutor the language using the Ulpan system. She said: “This whole area is in danger of becoming a Gaelic void. In the long term, it would be lovely if there was Gaelic-medium education available, but that is a great challenge.’

Glenda Cairncross, who has done a huge amount of the organisational work, said that she sees the fèis as just the start of plans to encourage interest in Gaelic. “We are planting little acorns”, she said, “and we hope to have the fèis on an annual basis, along with other cultural events that help people to get a chance to learn and use Gaelic.”
There are now forty-three fèis events organised around Scotland each year, with more than 13,000 children taking part.

Lisa MacDonald said: “We’ve had funding and a huge amount of help in getting organised from both Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Fèisean nan Gàidheal. We’ve had lots of applications for the fèis so far from everywhere between Durness and Ullapool and we hope that we’ll see lots of people at the ceilidh too.”

The tutors, who will include Frank McConnell, Ruairidh Campbell, Lindsay Cherry, Anne Wood, Sheilah Cunningham, Lisa MacDonald, John MacFarlane and Margaret MacFarlane, will lead a ceilidh on Friday night, at Scourie Village Hall, from 6.30pm. Local band, the Sporadics, will also be playing.

To find out more, call Glenda on 01971 502420 or Lisa on 01971 502490 or email mskook abur or eala @email. com.


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