Curtain comes down on 2020 Virtual Mod

Oban Gaelic Choir president Mary-Catherine MacLean.

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Singers, musicians and dancers from the Oban, Lorn and the Islands took part in last weeks Royal National Mòd Online 2020 which drew to a close on Friday night.

The virtual  event, run by An Comunn Gàidhealach, was showcased around the world via website and social media with BBC Alba and BBC Radio nan Gàidheal also broadcasting highlights.

James Graham, chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach said: ‘We were delighted with how the event went.

‘There was a real sense of community created online despite the Gaelic community not being able to come together in person for the event this year.

‘We were thankful that there were no technical hitches with the technology and everything ran smoothly. It was a real joy to showcase some of the fantastic performances of participants that we received. And it was particularly pleasing to see so many participating from around the world.’

Among the many taking part were members of Oban Gaelic Choir (OGC) and Oban Mòd Academy juniors.

OGC president and Mòd Academy tutor Mary-Catherine MacLean told us: ‘Entries this year had to be submitted by the performers themselves so I don’t know exactly how many there were but I do know there were quite a few with many of them receiving commendations for their work.

‘The juniors worked really hard to put something together for this year’s event which was a real change from how we usually do things.

‘Credit must also go to An Comunn Gàidhealach, BBC Alba and BBC Radio nan Gàidheal for an excellent week of programming.

‘It was a wonderful week showcasing our love of the language, music and culture.

‘As well as enjoying the online submissions for this year, one of the highlights for me was seeing all the old footage online and the photographs in the Oban Times where we could see friends that are no longer with us and others that we have met along the way an couldn’t see this year due to the circumstances.

‘We look forward to seeing them all again in Inverness 2021.’

Highland Council Gaelic Team joined forces with Dingwall-based Fèis Rois last Friday night to showcase a wealth of talent from across the region as the finale of this year’s online Royal National Mòd.

Curated by Fèis Rois and supported by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Cèilidh na Comhairle featured performances by internationally acclaimed musicians, including Julie Fowlis and Charlie McKerron of Capercaillie fame, as well as former Mòd Gold Medal winners, emerging artists, and young people who have been through Gaelic Medium Education in the Highlands.

Councillor Calum Munro, chairman of The Highland Council Gaelic Committee said: ‘I have been watching the Virtual Mòd online and the quality of the submissions which also displays the talent of ‘competitors’ of all ages is fantastic.

‘The submissions are excellent and include children’s artwork, Gaelic singing and the playing of all forms of traditional musical instruments.’

‘The Highland Council is also very pleased to be supporting and are looking forward to the traditional Royal National Mòd taking place in Inverness the Capital of the Highlands in 2021.’

Fiona Dalgetty, chief executive of Fèis Rois said: ‘We are delighted to work with colleagues at Highland Council to showcase talented musicians and singers living across all nine Highland Council Community Planning Partnership areas.

‘It has been a joy to bring this concert together and I am very grateful to Bòrd na Gàidhlig for their investment, which has enabled us to support artists at this incredibly difficult time.’

The concert was hosted by Julie Fowlis, who also performed alongside her husband Eamon Doorley. Julie was joined throughout the evening by a host of superb singers, including Mòd Gold Medallists Raymond Bremner (1999), Eilidh Cormack (2014) and Rachel Walker (2017).

The concert was intergenerational and saw Angus Mackenzie (Dàimh) and his wife Eilidh (Dòchas), perform alongside their children. Fiddle player, Charlie McKerron was also joined by his partner, talented Gaelic singer Sandra Mackay, and their children, Seòras and Cailean.

Multi-instrumentalist Mike Vass represented Nairn in the concert, while recent graduates and former Tain Royal Academy pupils Chloe Bryce and Kaitlin Ross represented Easter Ross. Accordionist Megan MacDonald from Lairg, performed with up and coming band Eabhal and Mid Ross was represented by outstanding guitarist and former Dingwall Academy pupil, Innes White.