Glasgow Gaelic’s galactic choir performance

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Review and photographs Mark Davey

A Glasgow Gaelic international choir fronted by a legendary Campbeltonian, Mòd winning, conductor sang its heart out on Saturday night.

It was a truly special night, even for non-Gaels, given a taste of the human voice, in its un-amplified natural state, singing a wide range of pieces including: A’bheana bh’aig an tàillear chaol – The lady of the tailor Chaol arranged by James MacTaggart and M. G. McCallum.

M. G. McCallum is described, in Mr Thomson’s recent book: The GG and Me, as the brilliant, but rather scary conductor of (the 1950s) Campbeltown Gaelic choir.

In addition to the Gaelic songs there were a number of outstanding solo singers, performing Gaelic, English and French songs, including American lady Evan Matyas and Frenchman Jeremy Levif, who played his guitar as he performed an Edith Piaf number: Je ne pas travailler.

To mark the coming armistice anniversary, the following day, perhaps a highlight of the second act, was when a combined choir, of Kintyre Ensemble and the Glasgow Gaelic ladies, sang In Flanders Fields, arranged by Roger Emerson.

Two further First World War Gaelic songs, Sine bhàn  and An eala bhàn, were sung by Glasgow Gaelic. Both love songs were written by Scottish soldiers serving in the trenches.

Soloist Màiri Maclean, from South Uist, sang a song about the sinking off Stornoway, on Hogmanay 1918 of HMY Iolaire, which will be commemorated later this year.

During the intervals and as introductory music Campbeltown Brass musicians, conducted by Katrina Barr, played a series of popular classics.

Donations collected at the door totalled £1,092 and will be shared between Campbeltown Brass and RNLI.

All members of Glasgow Gaelic feasted, before the concert, on fare provided by Campbeltown brass players’ mothers in the old hall.

The vote of thanks were proposed by Marjorie Leighton. She gave Kennth Thomson a specially commissioned and labelled bottle, of Sprinkbank malt, to mark his 50 years with Glasgow Gaelic Musical Association. 25_c46glasgowgaelic01_presentation

Kenneth Thomson conducts the combined Glasgow Gaelic ladies choir and Pauline MacLean’s Kintyre Ensemble singing in Flanders Fields. 25_c46Gaelicensemble02

Raibert McCallum guest conducts Glasgow Gaelic. 25_c46glasgowgaelic04_Raibert_McCallum

Katrina Barr conducts the Campbeltown Brass musicians. 25_c46glasgowgaelic03_Campbeltown_Brass

French Glasgow Gaelic singer Jeremy Levif. 25_c46glasgowgaelic05_Jeremy_Levif