Gaelic gospel choir looks forward with hope

Soisgeul featured in the massed choirs of ‘Glòir’ at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall in 2019.

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Soisgeul, Scotland’s Gaelic Gospel Choir, will make a virtual ‘musical promise’ online next month as a weekend of music and celebration looks forward to a post-Covid world when singers and audiences can gather again.

Làn-Dùil (In Hope) takes place from April 23 to 25 with workshops, events and cèilidhs online, led by the Soisgeul’s artistic director Mary Ann Kennedy and principal guest leader, the highly respected gospel director Gareth Fuller.

There’s an open invitation and a warm welcome for all Gaelic choristers and singers from other traditions and audiences worldwide to join in the exciting weekend of music.

An Comunn Gàidhealach, organisers of the national Mòd, will be hosting ‘Làn-Dùil’ as part of a series of events aimed at supporting their community. Since lockdown, many Gaelic choirs in Scotland and further afield have worked hard to keep their singers’ souls and voices going and ‘Làn Dùil’ is also recognition of these singers and their determination to carry on singing.

Soisgeul has a broad ranging repertoire, from traditional spiritual songs to Gaelic versions of gospel classics.

The ‘Làn-Dùil’ weekend kicks off on Friday April 23 with a special online showing of performances from key inspirations for Soisgeul over the years. Online workshops on Saturday April 24 and Sunday April 25, led by Gareth and Mary Ann, will introduce new singers and established Soisgeul members to new repertoire and take them through some firm musical favourites.

On the Sunday morning, there will be a unique opportunity to watch the Demus Productions’ documentary for BBC ALBA tracing the formation of the choir. And a Saturday night online cèilidh, hosted by Celtic Music Radio broadcaster and Soisgeul member John Joe MacNeil, will feature singalong choir performances and a specially recorded set of ‘dances for the front room’ by Ingrid Henderson and Iain MacFarlane of Glenfinnan Cèilidh Band.

Mary Ann Kennedy said: ‘It’s so exciting that after a year away from being able to sing together, we have this fantastic opportunity to show folk we are heading slowly but surely back to being able to make music together. We’re grateful to An Comunn Gàidhealach and to funders Bòrd na Gàidhlig for their support.’

Soisgeul – the Gaelic for gospel – last met up in March 2020, the day before the UK went into national lockdown.

Booking details for individual events or the whole weekend are available via the website and Eventbrite.