The prestigious eight-day event came to a close with choirs from across the country joining together in song at Inverness’ Northern Meeting Park
The Royal National Mòd 2021 closed in style as the sounds of singing from choirs the length and breadth of Scotland rang out across Inverness, celebrating the nine-day festival’s triumphant return.
The 129-year-old event celebrating Gaelic language and culture was held at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness from the 8th to 16th October and closed with a Massed Choirs Event at The Northern Meeting Park, where the Mòd flag was handed over to the city of Perth, hosts of the Mòd 2022.
After last year’s event was unable to go ahead in person, the national festival organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach took a hybrid approach this year, with performances, competitions and cultural activities in-person and online.
There were 70 competitors in the live children and adult singing competitions, including the Silver Pendant, An Common Gàidhealach Gold Medal and the Traditional Gold Medal.
There were also 16 senior choirs present, with 320 choristers taking part in showcase concerts.
Meanwhile, there were more than 400 online participants across 86 online competitions, including piping, poetry and accordion.
These drew in online viewers from the UK, USA, New Zealand, Japan and Europe.
The winners of the Adult Duet and the Adult Quartet were recognised.
Rhona Morrison and Emma Deans from Glasgow won the Adult Duet, taking home the The Neil MacLean and Jenny MB Currie Trophy after a beautiful performance.
Meanwhile, Largs Gaelic Choir Quartet (Angus Allan MacDonald, Marie Ann McCord, Linda McCallum and Colin Fisher) won the Adult Quartet, taking home The Stornoway Gaelic Choir Cup for their stunning vocals.
They also won the The Marshall Stormonth Memorial Trophy and jointly won the The Ian Crighton Memorial Trophy with Na Gillean-Brìghde.
To round things off for the evening, Gary Innes and Ewen Henderson of multi-award-winning supergroup Mànran took to the stage at The Botanic House, providing excellent Highland music and great craic.
The Cèilidh Mun Chagailt took place online at 9pm, with a series of Gaelic song sessions led by some of Gaeldom’s finest Gaelic singers.
The Mòd has featured a variety of incredible performances and cultural activities over the last eight days.
Highlights include the Opening Concert, which saw performances from folk collective Staran, the incredible Glenfinnan Cèilidh Band, and Gaelic singing legend Margaret Stewart.
Saturday 9th’s Our Language, Our Music concert was a celebration of the vibrant and thriving musical heritage of the Highlands, featuring notable fiddle player Duncan Chisholm, award-winning multi-instrumentalist Mairearad Green, Isle of Lewis piper and flautist James Duncan Mackenzie, joined by a host of young talented musicians.
Scottish choirs also made an emotional return to the Mòd stage with two unforgettable showcase concerts and last night’s Mòd Grand Finale, featuring Gaelic all-female vocal group Sian and five-piece country band New Tradition, made for a very special night.
In addition to the competitions, a rich fringe programme was on offer including live music at Eden Court’s outdoor venue every evening and a host of family-friendly activities.
James Graham, Chief Executive Officer of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said:
“It’s safe to say that The Mòd has been a huge success this year and we’re over the moon that the hybrid approach has given everyone the opportunity to enjoy the festivities at home and in countries right around the world.
“Inverness has been well worth the wait and an important step towards a full-scale in-person Mòd next year – thanks to everyone who made this possible.
“We are very much looking forward to bringing our Gaelic festival of culture and song to Perth in 2022.
“The Mòd will bring a boost in culture and tourism to The Fair City as thousands of Gaels gather in celebration once more and I’m sure attendees will enjoy the beautiful scenery and excellent hospitality Perth has to offer.”
Cllr Calum Munro, Chair of The Highland Council’s Gaelic Committee, said:
“It’s been a real privilege for Highland Council to host this year’s Royal National Mòd in Inverness.
“In challenging circumstances, a fantastic Gaelic cultural event has taken place which has brought pleasure to many who attended in person and to many other viewers around the world.
“In addition, some excellent competitions have brought several very worthy and talented medal winners to our attention who are a credit to their culture.
“I would like to recognise the huge amount of work put into a successful Mòd by An Comunnn Gàidhealach and the volunteers who supported the Local Organising Committee.
“This year’s Mòd was an important milestone to hopefully a full-scale Mòd next year and we wish Perth and Kinross Council every success in their preparations for this unique, annual Gaelic event.”
Shona MacLennan, Ceannard, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said:
“We congratulate all the team at An Comunn Gàidhealach for providing an outstanding celebration of Gaelic.
“The range of events, both in person and online, created a focus for Gaelic speakers coming together and enjoying the best of our culture and language.
“The Mòd is exceptional in its contribution to the aim of the National Gaelic Language Plan that more people use Gaelic in a wider range of situations.
“We look forward to next year’s Royal National Mòd in Perth and wish An Comunn and the local committee all the best for the work ahead.”
Allan Campbell, An Comunn Gaidhealach President, said:
“The decision to stage the Royal National Mod against the background of fluctuating Covid related restrictions, was seriously challenging for us, but I am proud and delighted that the success of the event both online, and through live competitions and concerts, has vindicated that decision!
“I believe the 2021 Royal National Mod in Inverness has been a significant step forward towards the new normal we all seek, and we are deeply grateful to competitors, performers, audiences, staff, and volunteers for enabling it to happen, and also for the vital support of all our funders and sponsors.”
Perth and Kinross Councillor Duff, a regular competitor in the Mód, added:
“The Royal National Mód is a wonderful celebration and will give us a fantastic opportunity to showcase the Gaelic heritage of Perth and Kinross.
“Since the last time the Mód was in Perth, the Concert Hall has opened, Perth Theatre has been completely refurbished and we have created an amazing new outdoor performance space at St Paul’s.
“We’ve worked hard to improve the cultural offering in Perth and the Mód’s return is testament to that ambition.”
The Royal National Mòd is supported by EventScotland, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, The Highland Council, EventScotland, The Scottish Government, HIE, Caledonian MacBrayne and SQA.
The Royal National Mòd ran in Inverness from 8th – 16th October 2021.
Next year’s Mòd will take place in Perth from 14th – 22nd October 2022.