Glasgow Letter – with Robert Robertson

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West End Festival 2017
is now in full flight
It is that time of year again and the West End Festival is well under way.
Over the course of the next month, Glasgow will be buzzing from Kelvingrove to the Merchant City with all sorts of music, drama and general partying.
Gaelic choirs at West End Festival
As always, An Lochran have organised a number of exciting Gaelic events for the festival programme. One of these is an excellent series of evenings called Ceilidh Leis a’ Choisir – Ceilidh with the Choir.
This brings each of Glasgow’s big three choirs to three of Glasgow’s most famous Highland establishments. The Glasgow Gaelic Musical Association (the GG) got things started off last week with a ceilidh in the Park Bar just before the Thursday session commenced.
Tomorrow (Friday June 16), the Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir will host a similar ceilidh in the Snaffle Bit and then, on Tuesday June 20, the Govan Gaelic Choir will be having a sing-song in the Islay Inn. All those events begin at 8pm and have free entry.
Seeing Gaelic choir members in the so-called ‘Teuchter triangle’ is, of course, far from unusual – it is something of a natural habitat for many of them. Seeing them all singing together, however, in this relaxed environment surely makes for a good night.
Later on in the month, on Saturday June 24, the choirs will take to the stage together at the Kelvingrove bandstand and bring the sound of massed Gaelic choirs to this unique and popular venue. This event will also be free entry and, going by what I heard about the similar event last year, it is likely to be a lovely afternoon.
Workshops and concerts with fine Gaelic singers
Also as part of the West End Festival, Margaret Stewart will host a workshop called Òrain Sùirghe is Caithris na h-Òidhche (songs of courtship and night visiting) on Wednesday June 21 at 7pm in An Lèanag on Mansfield Street, Partick.
Spaces are limited and the venue is small, so An Lòchran recommend booking your place in advance. Entry is £4 or £2 for concessions. All ages are welcome to this event – although I suppose that depends on how young you would wish your children to learn to sing about courtship and night-visiting.
The following night, Thursday June 22, Margaret is joined in concert by Kathleen MacInnes and ‘Sian’ (Eilidh Cormack, Ellen MacDonald, and Ceitlin Smith) for an evening of Gaelic song featuring songs of female bàrds in the Kelvinside Hillhead Parish Church on Observatory Road.
All the singers will be accompanied by Jenn Butterworth and Ingrid Henderson. All five of those ladies are among my very favourite Gaelic singers so I think this will be a really excellent night.
Tickets are available from eventbrite.com for £12. Student and OAP tickets are reduced to £10 while children can get in for £7. A family ticket costs £30.
The festival runs until Sunday June 25.

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