Competition for budding young Gaelic song writers

Mary Ann Kennedy. Photograph courtesy of Sean Purser.

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Ewen Henderson.

A song-writing competition for young Gaelic speakers with a passion for the environment has been launched by Highland arts organisation, Fèis Rois.

Dingwall-based Fèis Rois is looking for budding Gaelic songwriters from secondary schools across the Highlands to come up with some new Gaelic songs, connected to the environment and Scotland’s landscape.

Caithream na Cruinne, a collaboration between Fèis Rois and Nature Scot (formerly Scottish Natural Heritage), is aimed at emerging young Gaelic songwriters, who take their inspiration from nature and the current environmental challenges.

The project offers four young Gaelic speakers, of secondary school age, the opportunity to write a new Gaelic song each inspired by contemporary environmental themes and the nature around them whilst receiving mentorship from two of Scotland’s top Gaelic musicians and songwriters, Mary Ann Kennedy and Ewen Henderson (Mànran). Each young songwriter will receive 10 hours of one-to-one support and will also have the chance to professionally record their finished song.

Mary Ann Kennedy said: ‘I’m delighted to be working with new young writers creating songs for their own generation in their own language.

‘I wouldn’t be writing today without the support and encouragement of some wonderful wordsmiths and composers, and it’s important to create a community where creativity can thrive.’

Becky Shaw, Rural Development Adviser at Nature Scot added: ‘Nature, and our relationship with it, underpins a long tradition of Gaelic poetry and song. This project builds on that long tradition and will create contemporary nature and environmental writing in Gaelic which recognises the inspiration and concerns of young people.’

Fiona Dalgetty, Chief Executive of Fèis Rois, commented: ‘We want to encourage our young musicians, especially at this time, to create new music and take inspiration from our surroundings, whilst also incorporating their Gaelic language skills. Our young people have a voice and song-writing is a powerful tool to use to let your voice be heard and get your message across.

‘After the success of another recent musical collaboration with Nature Scot. ‘In Tune With Nature’ which has been 12 incredible music pieces and accompanying videos produced, Fèis Rois is really excited to see what our next generation of songwriters come up with.’

To apply, email by 5pm on Monday, November 23 with a summary of why you would like to be considered for this project, also including the name of your school and what year you are in.

For more information about Caithream na Cruinne, please visit