Great Gaelic Goings On – You Need An Update!
Gaels are real people and they tend to do really cool things. While Gaelic activism often requires us to narrowly draw down our focus onto the ancient origins and past experience of our Scottish Gaelic ancestors, we are fortunate to be refreshed by the active, innovative and vibrant – not to mention living – Gaelic community in Scotland and the Gaelic Diaspora. That’s the thing that is so often, and so surprisingly, forgotten about Gaelic culture. Gaelic culture is very much alive today and there are some great and friendly people around the world actually living it in ways that are informed by our ancestors but not necessarily chained to them.
Well, that living breathing Scottish Gaelic community has been rockin’ over the last few weeks. In fact, so many good things have been on the move that a general update is warranted. So an update it will be in no particular order of awesomeness. Here’s a little of what’s going on in Gaeldom.
Over the last ten days, many folks have gotten their first sight of an important new initiative called The Scottish Gaelic Foundation USA, or Gaelic USA for short – and they’ve liked it. For those who missed it, Gaelic USA is a new organization in the process of formation with the Gaelic American heritage and community at its heart. Gaelic USA aims to help reclaim and revitalize the language and heritage of the Gaels in North America at a formal level and to build bridges between communities of all sorts, including academia. Thanks to all who have left comments, ideas and offers of support. Good things continue to chug along. For instance …
The Gaelic USA formation committee is happily morphing into a great little Board of Directors. Gaelic USA Board of Directors’ award-winning Director Liam Alastair Crouse (more on Liam and a brand new 2015 Scottish Gaelic award below) is working on an outstanding new logo for Gaelic USA that captures important ideas from the Gaelic homeland as well as critical links with the Gaelic Diaspora. We can’t wait to share. Beyond logos, formal incorporation and application for tax exemption for The Scottish Gaelic Foundation USA are expected prior to the end of the year.
In the meanwhile, the Gaelic USA website continues to expand with new information and dimensions regularly. Keep an eye out for new Gaelic USA membership opportunities as well as that important and popular “Donate” button coming soon to GaelicUSA.org. Make sure to follow Gaelic USA to keep up to date on progress.
2015 Scottish Gaelic Awards – Go Rhode Island!
Just a few years ago, Scottish Gaels began to formally appreciate their own heroes through a big annual awards event called the Scottish Gaelic Awards. This year’s Scottish Gaelic Award winners were announced just a few days ago and they featured a big win by a great son of … Rhode Island!
Yes, it’s true - an American lad deeply involved in Scottish Gaelic revival on South Uist. Since April this year, Liam Alastair Crouse hailing from the great little state of Rhode Island has been an important part of the creative team supporting the innovative and energetic program called Ceòlas Uibhist. In addition to being a new Director at Gaelic USA, Liam is the Gaelic development officer for the award winning Hebridean music and culture project located on South Uist.
Ceòlas snagged the 2015 Scottish Gaelic ”International Award” for it’s work drawing participants and visitors to a range of varied Gaelic music school and events in the western isles. Ceòlas draws people from Europe, Canada, China and Sri Lanka and, say this year’s Gaelic Awards judges, “stands tall on the international stage”. According to its website, “Ceòlas is committed to transmitting a vibrant Gaelic culture to future generations. Since its establishment in 1996, Ceòlas has grown from a week-long music and dance school to become one of Scotland’s leading Gaelic culture, heritage and arts organisations.”
Good Old-fashioned Gaelic American Radio
Here is a potentially very exciting Gaelic American initiative that plans to bring Scottish Gaelic radio to the United States in just a few days on December 1, 2015. What a concept. According to its website, Rèidio A-Màireach (“Tomorrow Radio” in English) is a “Baltimore-based, 24×7 streaming internet radio station dedicated to bringing you the best in Celtic and Folk music from the UK, Ireland and Nova Scotia as well as Folk/Americana from the United States and Canada. Our Celtic music collection includes a considerable amount of music sung in Scottish Gaelic and while that tends to be our main focus, we also play many tracks sung in English by artists from all over the world.”
As part of its regular schedule Rèidio A-Màireach also plans to feature Scottish Gaelic programming from Guth nan Gàidheal, (“GnG”) a radio co-venture between Rèidio A-Màireach and An Comunn Gàidhealach Ameireaganach (The American Scottish Gaelic Society, “ACGA”). It is anticipated that programming on GnG will include music, story-telling and current affairs primarily in the Scottish Gaelic language, and while some content will be presented in English, the focus is always on Gaelic music and culture.
Some folks may remember Guth nan Gàidheal from it’s brief inaugural flight during the first few months of 2015. GnG broadcast from January through May this year prior to it’s host radio station closing its doors. Rèidio A-Màireach provides new wind for ACGA’s innovative project to help make Gaelic American culture and language a living, breathing presence across America’s infamous and always hip radio waves. Can’t wait.
Scottish Diaspora Digital Museum
This is by far the most innovative and important Scottish heritage project seen in a long, long time. It is a project that is sorely needed and that others, including yours truly, have often dreamed of because the primary historical resources of the Scottish Diaspora are at risk of loss.
The remarkably talented and just plain cool Dr. Tanja Bueltmann’s Scottish Diaspora Digital Museum provides the beginnings of the safety net that is desperately needed to locate, preserve and assess the Scottish historic treasures that are collecting dust waiting for the bin in Grannies’ attics all over the world.
Here’s how it works: ordinary folks who are blessed to possess physical reminders of their Scottish ancestry – Dr. Bueltmann calls them “Objects” – can now digitally preserve their heirlooms (scan them photographically) and deposit them with the Scottish Diaspora Digital Museum, where they are preserved, organized and made available for others to enjoy and, importantly, study. The idea of “Objects” is broad – letters, jewelry, clothing, medals, old haggis pelts, everyday items, bibles – the list of mementos of a Scottish migrant’s life is inexhaustible. The Scottish Diaspora Digital Museum will allow us all to explore the history of Scottish migration and the Scots abroad through these previously unavailable “objects” and their stories – this is the idea behind the Scottish Diaspora Digital Museum and it is a marvelous one.
So, got Gaelic or Scottish stuff? Start digitally preserving it! The technology is easier than you might think. You can do this. At least hop over to the Scottish Diaspora Digital Museum Contributions Page to learn what it takes to digitally preserve your family’s treasures for future generations. Be a part of the world’s Gaelic heritage! How cool is that?