The launch of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s e-Cèilidh on Saturday night (25 April) has been declared a hit, with nearly 6,000 people tuned in to watch a live-streamed hour of local music introduced by Tolsta-based singer and songwriter Willie Campbell.

The opening night programme featured performances from this year’s Celtic Connections Dileab concert in Glasgow, as well as living room contributions from Willie himself, Iain ‘Costello’ Maciver, Neil and Rhona Johnstone

Rhona is also the project co-ordinator and she said: “There is normally so much musical activity which takes place on a daily basis here in the Western Isles, such as music lessons, concerts, sessions, various group rehearsals and choir practices, but sadly that has come to a halt due to the current period of lockdown created by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We wanted to find a way to share the musical talent of our islanders, keep the music flowing, use it in a positive way to engage and unite our communities and lift our spirits during these difficult times. I hope that the e-Cèilidh project will do just that and contain something for everyone of all ages regardless of their musical tastes."

Saturday night’s show was launched alongside the Comhairle’s new website at http://www.eileansiareceilidh.com where the broadcasts can also be watched. Between that site and the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/eileansiar.eceilidh 5,800 people tuned in during the performances, which are still available to watch at both locations.

The night was rounded off with a live acoustic set from Charlie Clark, Willie Campbell’s friend and bandmate in the band Astrid.

The next e-Cèilidh is to be presented by Iain Costello Maciver on Saturday 9 May and musicians from all over the islands are being encouraged to submit films of their own performances, in any genre, to contribute to the ceilidh. Details of how to submit are also on the website.

The cèilidhs are a joint production by the Comhairle’s education department and multimedia unit.