Scotland's HebCelt Festival Gives Boost To Scots Gaelic Language

Music, dance and the Celtic tongue of Scotland are all on display at one of the world's premiere celebrations of Celtic culture, the Hebridean Celtic Festival.  The festival has been held each year since 1996 on Scotland's Isle of Lewis in the city of Stornoway.   Multiple news reports are reporting that the 2014 HebCelt Festival will feature the Scots Gaelic language.  The Stornoway Gazette under the headline “ HebCelt Puts Stronger Accent on Use of Gaelic – Volunteers at this year’s Hebridean festival will be minding their language as they mingle with locals and visitors to promote the native tongue”, reports that Festival organisers are highlighting the Celtic tongue as they host the thousands of visitors expected to attend. 

A shortened version of the festival Press release follows. The full details of this year’s HebCelt can be found on the festival’s web page linked below:

The award-winning festival is a strong supporter of the Gaelic culture and is stepping up efforts to ensure it will be seen and heard regularly during the four-day event. This year, for the first time, volunteer staff – both fluent speakers and learners – will be dressed in red t-shirts emblazoned with the logo “  Tha Gàidhlig Agam  (I have Gaelic) “. They will use key Gaelic phrases and encourage music fans to try them out.!

In addition, HebCelt will be holding its regular Gaelic learner taster sessions during the festival, while Gaelic phrases will be printed on balloons which will be visible at various venues. HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said: “We are passionate about promoting Gaelic in all aspects of the festival. It is very much a living language here and it is vital it is seen and heard in everyday situations. “Having the volunteers sharing some simple phrases is an easy but effective way of encouraging its use and ensuring it is an integral part of HebCelt.”

The festival, which is held from 16-19 July, is also staging a Gaelic Showcase at An Lanntair arts centre in Stornoway. In addition, the main festival programme will feature on Friday, 18 July, Ceòl Na Cloinne, a group of young musicians and singers from Harris formed eight years ago by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Community Learning and Development Service to give young traditional musicians the opportunity to play sessions together.

The 19th HebCelt will be headlined by Levellers, Big Country and Donnie Munro. Rachel Sermanni, Cara Dillon, Duncan Chisholm, Cajun band Magnolia Sisters, from the US, and Canadian outfit Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys will also be among nearly 40 acts featuring on stage.

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