It was a golden result for men’s and women’s Gaelic singing last night as the prestigious Traditional Gold Medal made its welcome return to the Royal National Mòd in Inverness.
Calum MacColl of Fort William came out on top in the men’s competition, after making it through the qualifying round in the morning to be awarded the coveted gong at Eden Court Theatre last night.
The ladies competitors came from as far afield as Glasgow and Harris to be part of the event this year but it was Emma MacLeod of Scalpay who impressed with a show-stopping performance that scored highest of her competitors.
“It was a great moment winning the Traditional Gold Medal and it meant a lot to me.
“Performing tonight made me think of my Dad who would have been here.
“This is for you, Charlie.
“My Dad’s style was a style I have and will always love – that style that’s all about bringing everyone together in a great traditional, lively ceilidh style – that’s what it’s all about for me.
“It’s a very proud moment and I am sure my Dad is looking on from above.”
“It means an awful lot to have won the Traditional Gold Medal.
“This is my third time trying for it so I wanted to make sure I was prepared this year.
“I actually really enjoyed performing, it was a lot more comfortable and my previous experiences did me justice.
“I’m just absolutely delighted, especially when so many members of my family came to support me.
“It was definitely worth the wait.
“I come from a very small island so it’s so important to me to keep our traditions alive.
“All three songs I sang are all from Scalpay so it’s great to sing songs that represent the island, it’s something that’s very close to my heart.”
Choirs from around Scotland also graced the Royal National Mòd stage once again to the warmest of welcomes in the first of this year’s choir showcase concerts.
Lochs, Lairg, Cowal, Inverness, Mull, Nairn and the Black Isle choirs performed to delighted audiences in the capital of the Highlands.
Today will see Lothian, Oban, Aberdeen, Dingwall, Glasgow Islay, Largs and Govan choirs celebrate a return to singing at the Mòd for audiences in-person, to audiences around the world via an online livestream and viewers at home on BBC Alba.
Adult duet and quartet singing competitions also return today, taking place at 12pm and 1pm respectively.
Elsewhere, the programme includes a family picnic at Abriachan Forest and live music from Eden Court’s outdoor venue, while online audiences can enjoy a talk in English from Ruairidh Maclean as he looks at place names in and around the Highland capital which connect us to water.
James Graham, Chief Executive Officer of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said:
“This year’s Royal National Mòd has been a homecoming on many levels.
“We’ve returned to the capital of the Highlands, bringing Gaelic communities together from the length and breadth of Scotland once again.
“We are also seeing the return of events that many people hold very dear including the Traditional Gold Medal, live singing from some fantastic choirs, and our adult duet and quartet competitions.
“A big well done to our new Traditional Gold Medal winners, their success is richly deserved.
“We now look forward to our final days of fantastic music and culture.”
Chair of The Highland Council’s Gaelic Committee, Cllr Calum Munro said:
“Congratulations to the Traditional Gold Medal winners for their well-deserved achievements of these most prestigious and coveted Mòd awards.
“I was delighted to hear the Highland support for the choir showcase concerts from Inverness and Black Isle choirs and look forward to today’s entry from Dingwall choir.
“Good luck to all the choirs.
“Also on the fringe events it’s great to see support from Abriachan Forest for the family picnic event held locally.”
Shona MacLennan, Ceannard, Bòrd na Gaidhlig quote:
“We congratulate An Comunn Gàidhealach and all the Mòd participants, in Inverness or online, for what has been a very welcome return of the Royal National Mòd.
“Inverness is always a tremendous venue for the event and it demonstrates how Gaelic language and culture contributes to a sense of place, and to the economy.”
The Royal National Mòd is supported by EventScotland, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, The Highland Council, Events Scotland, The Scottish Government, HIE, Caledonian MacBrayne and SQA.
A number of COVID safety measures are in place for this year’s Mòd in line with government guidelines to keep audiences and performers safe, including extensive cleaning and ongoing COVID safety checks, enhanced hygiene measures, use of face masks and track and trace check-ins.
The Royal National Mòd will run until 16th October 2021.