15-year-old Anna Nicolson (above top) won the Junior Advanced Clarsach competition at yesterday’s (Wednesday 19th October) Royal National Mòd.
Anna also won the intermediate 2 competition at the Mòd in Oban last year.
Also the coveted Silver Pendant medals were awarded to Fiona Ross of Glasgow and Fergus Muir of Bowmore, pictured above.
In the competition, entrants are required to sing two songs, one prescribed and one of their own choosing.
This was Literature Day at Mòd as the adult competitions began with competitions including drama, poetry and storytelling took place throughout the day.
With the Clarsach competitions beginning yesterday, Comunn na Clàrsaich (The Clarsach Society) have welcomed the increasing interest in clarsach playing in Scotland and beyond.
Celebrating their 85th anniversary, the society reported a 20% increase in competition entries from the last time the Mòd was held in the Western Isles in 2011.
Fifteen different competitions are being contested this year with a good number of junior and adult competitors coming from island communities, including an adult harp ensemble.
Jennifer Port, Convener of the Clarsach Society, said: “It is really encouraging to witness a resurgence of interest in the clàrsach in recent years, particularly amongst the younger generation. The clàrsach is said to be the oldest of all the traditional instruments of Scotland, and we are delighted that there are so many opportunites at the annual Royal National Mòd to take part in a variety of competitions - solo, duet, accompanied singing, composition, and ensemble playing.
“It is particularly encouraging to see a resurgence of interest in the Gaelic heartland of the Western Isles and I am sure this will be further developed now that there is a Gaelic-speaking harp tutor permanently based in Lewis.”
The Gaelic Books Council also announced its Gaelic New Writers Awards for 2017. In a collaboration between the Gaelic Books Council and the Scottish Book Trust, the programme is open to unpublished Gaelic writers with two winners each receiving grants of £2000, expert advice and support for their work.
The Awardees will receive a tailored package that can include mentoring from experienced writers and industry professionals, training in PR and presentation, and a week-long retreat at Cove Park in Argyll.
Now entering the eighth year of this successful partnership, both organisations are keen to hear from writers who have so far kept their talents under wraps but are now ready to
bring their work to a wider audience.
Previous recipients of Gaelic New Writers Award include Niall O’Gallagher, Christine Stone and Seonaidh Charity. Another former Awardee, and a writer who has been very successful in National Mod literary competitions over the years, is Sandy NicDhòmhnaill Jones, who published her debut poetry collection, Crotal Ruadh / Red Lichen (Acair) earlier this year.
The programme is open to Gaelic writers of various genres (fiction, poetry, biography, etc) on condition that they are resident in Scotland, have not previously published a book, and will not be participating in full-time education during 2017.
The Gaelic Books Council’s website is www.gaelicbooks.org. Applications must be received by 5.00pm on Friday 18th November 2016.