The Royal National Mòd shines a spotlight on young Gaels 

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After a joyous opening weekend, the Mòd kicks off this week with a focus on youth, with online song sessions for all ages and highlights from the day’s competitions

After a jam-packed opening weekend, The Royal National Mòd 2021 returns this week with a rich programme of celebratory cultural events across the city of Inverness, and online.

There is no doubt that this week will provide just as many delights, beginning as it does with The Mòd Mini Fèis at Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis. This free event, for Gaelic primary children, will offer the chance to take part in music, crafts and games sessions with professional Gaelic tutors.

Wee ones are catered for as well, with beloved TV presenter Linda Macleod taking her Leugh is Seinn le Linda sessions online for children up to the age of 5 this morning.

There is a focus on youth events across The Mòd today, with some children’s competitions taking place at Eden Court from 2pm. A selection of highlights from these will be broadcast online on Facebook from 7pm, for those who are keen to spot the stars of tomorrow.

It’s not just the youngsters having all the fun – North Uist singer Janice Simpson leads a Gaelic singing session online from 7.30pm, suitable for all ages and levels of Gaelic ability.

Online learning has become incredibly popular for Gaelic beginners due to the success of the Gaelic programme on language learning app, Duolingo. Tonight’s workshop will offer an opportunity for learners to meet one another and improve their pronunciation under the skilled tutelage of one of Gaeldom’s finest singers.

Other online events taking place today include a special online literature event with Ruairidh Maclean. Drawing on his recently published book, A Watery View: Place Names of Inverness and Surrounding Area, Ruairidh will take online audiences from the shores of Loch Ness to the bogs of Monadh Mor, in what promises to be an enlightening talk.

As always, in addition to the online events, there will be live music at Eden Court’s outdoor venue, today from 4pm-6pm, programmed by Fèisean nan Gàidheal.

Looking forward to the rest of the week ahead, a highlight will be the premiere of Lauren MacColl’s new work ‘An Ear / East’ on Tuesday, October 12. The piece is inspired by the coasts and waters around Inverness and the Black Isle, where the fiddler and composer was born and raised.

Featuring musical performances by Mairearad Green, Anna Massie and Rachel Newton, and songs from Arthur Cormack and Emma MacLeod, the evening promises to be a special and moving experience.

James Graham, chief executive officer of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said: ‘After a busy weekend, we’re excited to keep the momentum going with today’s youth events. Young Gaelic speakers hold an incredibly significant role in the future of our community, and today shines a light on their abilities and achievements, with a range of events to support, encourage and champion them. We have already had an action-packed few days so far and there are a whole host of wonderful events yet to come this week that we look forward to welcoming audiences to.’

Shona MacLennan, Ceannard, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: ‘The Royal National Mòd provides an exciting and attractive range of events for all age groups. Its focus on young people is invaluable in encouraging youngsters to engage with Gaelic and have opportunities to use it in a fun environment. Gaelic learners, of all ages, are vital to the growth of the language and we congratulate An Comunn Gàidhealach for their work.’

The Royal National Mòd 2021 is using a hybrid approach this year, with a combination of in-person concerts and competitions at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness, as well as a dynamic schedule of online performances being broadcast throughout the week.

A number of Covid safety measures are in place in line with government guidelines to keep audiences and performers safe, including extensive cleaning and ongoing Covid safety checks, enhanced hygiene measures, use of face masks and track and trace check-ins.

Highlights of the celebration will include major competitions An Comunn Gàidhealach Gold Medal final and the Traditional Gold Medal. There will also be unmissable performances from ‘the new sound of a traditional Scotland’ Duncan Chisholm, fiddler Lauren MacColl, new outfit Staran, the famous Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band, the legendary Gaelic singer Margaret Stewart and many more.

The prestigious festival, which was founded in 1891, is supported by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, The Highland Council, EventScotland, The Scottish Government, HIE, Caledonian MacBrayne, The Inverness Common Good Fund and SQA.

The full programme for this year’s Royal National Mòd can be viewed at www.ancomunn.co.uk. Tickets are available to buy from Eden Court box office www.eden-court.co.uk.