Published: 06 Oct 2010
Janette Mackay was born and brought up in Strathy, Sutherland. Her parents belonged to Strathy and were fluent Gaelic speakers who were forced to speak English when they went to school. Janette spent her teaching career in North Sutherland (1966 – 2005) and was very much involved with Gaelic music and the Mod.
The picture shows Janette’s Junior choir and it’s worth noting that 25 % of the members of the choir have gone on to have a career that involves Gaelic.
My choice of Music Memory is “A’Mhàiri Bhòidheach” My father often recalled being belted in school for speaking Gaelic. Little wonder they did not encourage their family to speak this language which they were told would “hold us back”. Gaelic was spoken and sung and bagpipes played in our home throughout my childhood and I attribute my interest to my upbringing.
During my teaching career I had a small Gaelic choir which competed very successfully on many occasions at both local and National Mods. My most successful choir – The Farr Junior Gaelic Choir - had only eight members but they returned with the Trophy (sometimes two trophies) from National Mods in Stirling, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oban and Stornoway. This was during the 1980’s and what fun and enjoyment was had by both children and parents who supported and accompanied them.
I believed it was very important to make sure that the children learned our traditional local songs, like The Waters of Kylesku, Naver Bay and our best loved Gaelic song Gleann Gollaidh.
When I meet former pupils at a function or ceilidh they are happily singing these songs – even the boys or perhaps I should say especially the boys!
With the help of Feis Air An Oir , the Tongue Gaelic School and the Gaelic pupils from Farr High School, there is a noticeable uptake in the learning of Gaelic in our area and whereas it used to be spoken mainly by the older generation, very soon it will be spoken mainly or solely by our young folk. That is a very encouraging prospect and so I forsee a much more positive future for the Gaelic language and music in North Sutherland.
Is e an t-òran “A Mhàiri Bhòidheach” a thagh mi. Bhiodh m’ athair gu tric a’ cuimhneachadh air slaiseadh fhaighinn san sgoil airson a bhith bruidhinn na Gàidhlig. Is beag an t-iongnadh, ma ta, nach do bhrosnaich iad an cuid chloinne gu Gàidhlig a chleachdadh oir is ann “a chumadh an cànan air ais iad”. Bhiodh Gàidhlig ga bruidhinn is ga cleachdadh san dachaigh againn nuair a bha sinn ag èirigh suas. Is e sin as coireach gu bheil ùidh agam dhan chànan.
Fhad ’s a bha mi a’ teagasg bha còisir bheag Ghàidhlig agam a bhiodh a’ gabhail pàirt ‘s na Mòdan Ionadail is Nàiseanta. Cha robh ach ochdnar sa chòisir shoirbheachail seo – Còisir Òg Sgoil Fàr. Is iomadh duais a choisinn iad aig na Mòdan Nàiseanta - Sruighlea, Dùn Èideann, Glaschu, An t-Òban agus Steòrnabhagh. Bha seo sna 80an agus is mòr an toileachas a thug e don chloinn is dham pàrantan a bhiodh tric a’ tighinn nan cois.
Bha mi a’ creidsinn gun robh e cudromach gun ionnsaicheadh a’ chlann òrain thraidiseanta na sgìre mar: The Waters of Kylesku, Naver Bay agus an t-òran as caomh leinn uile, Gleanna Gollaidh.
Nuair a thachras mi ri seann sgoilearan aig tachartas no cèilidh bidh iad fhathast a’ seinn nan dearbh òran sin, eadhoin na gillean air neo na gillean a-mhain. Tha Gàidhlig air a brosnachadh san sgìre tro fhoghlam tro mheadhan na Gàidhlig ann am bun-sgoil Thunga agus a-rithist tha Gàidhlig mar chuspair an Àrd Sgoil Fàr. Tha Fèis air an Oir cuideachd air cùl Gàidhlig a bhrosnachadh. Aig aon uair bhiodh Gàidhlig ga cleachdadh le seann daoine ach is ann aig an òigridh a tha a Ghàidhlig an-diugh. Tha seo gu math taitneach do cheann-a-tuath Chataibh gu bheil an cànan is an ceòl beò da-riribh.
This song was sung by our very own Philip Todd in his first year as a Gaelic singer and he won the Mairi Mhor section of the Royal National Mod at Fort William in 2007.
A’Mhàiri Bhòidheach was recorded by Dochas on An Dàrna Umhail Released by Macmeanmna records in 2005 Catalogue SKYECD34
Copies of the CD are available to borrow, at no cost, from the collection of CD’s selected as Music Memory Store choices from the Wick and Thurso Libraries, as a partnership between the Mòd Ghallaibh Fringe and the Highland Libraries. It can be heard on Caithness FM as a part of the Hughie Manson Show on Monday evenings and on Radio nan Gàidheal.
Copies of this CD are available to borrow, at no cost, from the collection of CD’s selected as MusicMemory Store, from Wick and Thurso Libraries. It can be heard on Mondays 7-8pm on Caithness FM as a part of the Scottish Show with Hughie Manson and on Radio nan Gàidheal.
MusicMemory Store is a partnership between the Mòd Ghallaibh Fringe and the Highland Libraries – Caithness branches, Wick & Thurso.Contact The Mòd Ghallaibh Fringe: firstname.lastname@example.org
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