In 2011 a project was launched on Islay to try to encourage young people living on the island to engage with their Gaelic heritage. As part of the Rogha Bardachd Ìle project local musician Clare Jordan composed new music for words taken from poems written by Islay bards. One of the pieces Clare composed was based on the lament for Sir Lachlan Mòr Maclean taken from William Livingstone’s epic poem Blàr Thraigh Ghruineart. So moved were we by Clare’s melody that in 2012 the choir commissioned her to compose two further songs based on that same poem. The resulting Blàr Thraigh Ghruineart suite comprised a song for each of the ladies’ and men’s choirs and a third song for the mixed choir. These songs are now included on Còisir Ghàidhlig Ìle’s album ‘Sruth air a’ Charraig’ and were sung as the choir’s own choice pieces for the National Mòd in Dunoon in 2012.
These three Blàr Thraigh Ghruineart songs were the core element of a Gaelic community project that became known simply as Blàr. With these three songs as the central plank, Clare Jordan wrote additional music and, with Iseabail Mactaggart as Producer, we brought in the additional support of over 110 local musicians – mostly young people- and, when added to the choir’s 30-strong membership this resulted in a cast of over 140 participants. Every school and every musical group on the Island was involved in the production which also incorporated a stunning film by local artist Raymond Lafferty.
Two sell-out performances of Blàr were performed at Bowmore Hall Islay on the evening of 30 May 2013. A DVD and booklet are available.
We gratefully acknowledge support from:
Argyll & Bute Council
Awards for All
Bòrd na Gàidhlig
Comunn na Gàidhlig
The Mactaggart Third Fund
The Schroder Foundation
Iomairt Ghàidhlig Ìle agus Dhiùra