Dr. Lillis Ó Laoire, Senior Lecturer in Roinn na Gaeilge (Department of Modern Irish), National University of Ireland, Galway is a mother-tongue speaker of Modern Irish and fluent speaker of Scottish Gaelic. Lillis grew up in the village of Gortahork (Gort a’ Choirce) in Donegal’s Gaeltacht and is a world-renowned sean-nós singer. He is the two-time winner of the Corn Uí Riada (Ireland’s premier honour in sean-nós singing), a Fulbright Scholar alumnus at UCLA's Department of Ethnomusicology (1996-1997) and has both written and recorded extensively sharing his vast knowledge of song traditions in both Gaelic Ireland and Scotland. Copies of his books, On a Rock in the Middle of the Ocean: Songs and Singers in Tory Island and Bright Star of the West (co-written with Sean Williams) on the famed sean nós singer Joe Heaney (Joe Éinniú) of Carna, Connemara will be available for purchase and signing at Friday evening's lecture. During Saturday's workshops, Lillis will be offering instruction in the sean nós song tradition of his native Donegal. Joining Dr. Ó Laoire this year as workshop leaders are:
Mary Jane Lamond (Màiri Sìne NicLaomuinn), celebrated ambassador of Nova Scotia’s Gaelic song tradition and internationally-renowned recording artist, has fostered deep affection and respect for the Gaelic language and traditions of Nova Scotia since her earliest memories visiting her grandparents in Cape Breton Island. While pursuing her undergraduate studies at Saint Francis Xavier University's Department of Celtic Studies, she released her first album, Bho Thir Nan Craobh, which set her on her path to an aclaimed career, the heart of which has always remained firmly in the rich song traditions of Nova Scotia's Scottish Gaels. Her latest album Seinn, a collaboration with fiddler Wendy MacIsaac, has received awards and recognition nationally and internationally, including ECMA’s 2013 Group Album of the Year. Mary Jane will be offering workshops on Scottish Gaelic singing, including mouth music.
Jim Watson (Seumas MacBhatair), Manager of Interpretation at the Nova Scotia Museum's Highland Village (Baile nan Gàidheal) in Iona, Cape Breton, is a long-time advocate and ethnographer dedicated to our Maritime region’s Scottish Gaelic traditions and tremendous tradition-bearer in his own right. Jim also assisted his long-time friend and collaborator Dr. John Shaw in recording several of our Island’s last Scottish Gaelic speakers in 1987. This year Jim is returning to the Macphail Homestead to offer workshops in regional Scottish Gaelic song and storytelling. He and his wife Professor Marlene Ivey of NSCAD joined us for last year's inaugural summer Institute and have since offered workshops onsite concerning their collaborations exploring the role of design and digital technology in socially-driven minority language renewal, highlighting their work on the award winning website An Drochaid Eadarainn. Both Jim and Marlene are valued friends and supporters of the Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead, providing integral support towards the success of last year’s Eilean an Àigh events and subsequently offering workshops and lectures towards models for digital technology and design in the maintenance and renewal of local forms of language and culture. Mr Watson will also lead a demonstration of Gàidhlig aig Baile (Gaelic at Home) participatory social language immersion, now widely implemented with success in the Province of Nova Scotia.
Dr. Tiber Falzett is a Prince Edward Island-based ethnologist, Gaelic-speaking musician, Research Associate at the Institute of Island Studies, UPEI and the Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead Foundation’s Chair of Heritage and Culture. He has conducted over a decade of fieldwork among Scottish Gaelic speakers in Cape Breton and the Outer Hebrides and West Highlands of Scotland. His doctoral research at the University of Edinburgh's School of Scottish Studies and Celtic and Scottish Studies department explored the relationship between language and music through metaphor among Scottish Gaelic speakers on Cape Breton Island. Tiber will provide instruction in Scottish Gaelic oral traditions from Prince Edward Island gleaned from archival sound recordings and printed texts uncovered during his ongoing research. This will include locally-composed songs made in the vibrant Gaelic-speaking heartlands that once surrounded the Macphail Homestead.