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PICTURES: Royal National Mòd’s return to Highlands hailed huge success as flag handed over to Perth for 2022

By Andrew Dixon

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The prestigious Royal National Mòd came to a close with choirs from across the country joining together in song at Inverness’s Northern Meeting Park.

The event closed in style today as the sounds of singing from choirs rang out across the city, celebrating the festival’s triumphant return.

The 129-year-old event celebrating Gaelic language and culture was held at Eden Court Theatre from October 8-16 and closed with a massed choirs event.

The Mòd flag was also handed over to representatives of Perth, which will host it next year.

The Mòd flag was handed over to the city of Perth (hosts of the Royal National Mòd 2022) at the massed choirs event at the Northern Meeting Park.
The Mòd flag was handed over to the city of Perth (hosts of the Royal National Mòd 2022) at the massed choirs event at the Northern Meeting Park.

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.

Yesterday afternoon saw the winners of the Adult Duet and the Adult Quartet 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 this evening, Gary Innes and Ewen Henderson of multi-award winning supergroup Mànran will take to the stage at The Botanic House, providing excellent Highland music. Meanwhile, the Cèilidh Mun Chagailt will take 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 . Highlights include the opening concert, which saw performances from folk collective Staran, the incredible Glenfinnan Cèilidh Band, and Gaelic singing legend Margaret Stewart.

Last night’s Mòd Grand Finale featured Gaelic all-female vocal group Sian and five-piece country band New Tradition.

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.”

Highland Council’s Gaelic Committee chairman Calum Munro 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. ”

The Royal National Mòd is supported by EventScotland, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Highland Council, EventScotland, Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Caledonian MacBrayne and SQA.

Next year’s Mòd will take place from October 14-22.

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