Jennifer Chabot wins North
Carolina Gaelic Mod at GMHG
The following information was
received from Donald F. MacDonald. A young student from a class in
the Scottish Gaelic language, held earlier in the week at Lees-McRae
College in Banner-Elk, was named winner of the Women's Section in
this year's North Carolina Gaelic Mod -- a singers' contest held on
July 12th at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games to test
contestants' knowledge of Scotland's ancient Mother Tongue.
Jennifer Cabot received a first
place trophy, a gold medal and a new book on Gaelic grammer. Winner
of the men's competition was Donald F. MacDonald, a former Charlotte
newspaper reporter, who has lived for the past forty years in
Edinburgh, Scotland. MacDonald learned songs in the ancient
classical language from his wife, a native speaker from the Scottish
Island of Lewis.
Other winners in the Women's
Section were: second, Mary Baxley of Little Rock, Arkansas, who sang
a beautiful lament called Griogal Chridhe. It means Gregor of My
Heart. Dating from as early as the 13th century, the song tells of
the death by beheading of a young Chief of the Clan MacGregor.
Gregor MacGregor was killed by members of his wife's own clan, the
The third place was shared by
singers Anne Landin of Siler City, North Carolina, and Ceit Stewart
of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Second place in the Men's
Competition was won by Gerald Daniel of Fayetteville, North
Carolina. He sang Sine Bhan, a love song which means Fair Jean.
Daniel is head of the Cape Fear Valley Scottish Clans and is a
lecturer at a Fayetteville college. Christopher Justus of Etowah,
North Carolina, near Hendersonville, won third place with a
children's tune, Oran na Nurs, which means The Song of the Nurse.
Winners of the state-wide
competition are invited to go forward and participate in the U.S.
National Gaelic Mod, which is held in September as a feature of the
Ligonier Highland Games, held in Pennsylvania. There is another
state Mod, which takes place in Houston, Texas.
Scotland's National Mod is held
every October, usually in a city within that nation's Highland
One of two visiting judges for the
North Carolina Gaelic Mod was Cathy Ann MacPhee, a well-known
singer/actress from Scotland, who now lives in Ottawa, Ontario. She
is a native Gaelic speaker from the Hebridean Island of Barra and
has appeared often on Gaelic programs on BBC TV and Radio, and on
Grampian and Scottish Television. Ms. MacPhee has toured with
theatrical groups in countries of the European Union.
The second judge was Dr. James
Roderick (Jamie) MacDonald, a teacher of Gaelic and Scottish Studies
at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
The Gaelic language, which
represents Europe's oldest culture outside ancient Greece and Rome,
is still spoken regularly by over 80,000 bi-lingual Scots in the
Highlands and Western Isles and in the cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh,
Aberdeen and Dundee. Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, Welsh and Manx
are the four existing Celtic languages.
The seven Celtic nations are
Scotland, Ireland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Cornwall in England,
Brittany in France and Galicia in Northwest Spain.
Laughter Abounds at Lochaber Trump Competition at GMHG
There was "a laugh a minute" at
this year's Lochaber Trump Competition, as some of the favorite
entertainers at the annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games
played the jaw-harp, mouth-harp or Jew's harp for top prizes.
Carl Peterson, the Scottish
recording artist from Greenock, put away his guitar and took up the
Scottish Trump, winning a third place prize of a Highland quaich.
But there was nothing therein to drink in this ancient Gaelic cup,
the design of which is based upon the scallop shell. Instead, the
liquids, which can be drunk from quaichs, were the prizes that were
awarded later to two other Trump "twangers" -- (1) Pete Campbell and
(2) Andy Lane.
A well-known musician and Scottish
country dancer who hails from Greensboro, North Carolina, Pete took
second place by playing a March, Strathspey & Reel. He received a
bottle of moonshine in a Mason jar. His medley consisted of Mairi's
Wedding, The Uist Tramping Song, and Highland Laddie.
Andy Lane from Todd, North
Carolina, was winner of the first prize -- a bottle of Highland
single malt whisky, after giving a spirited rendition of the
American (and Scotch-Irish) reel tune, Turkey in the Straw. Andy
also received the handsome Lindsay Porteous "Twanger" Trophy,
presented by Scotland's leading Trump artist, Lindsay Porteous of
Fourth prize, a CD by America's
top jaw-harp artist, Mike Seeger, was won by Kirk Raisbeck of
Natural Bridge, Virginia. A talented bagpiper, Kirk is the son of
the late Tom Raisbeck, co-founder (with Donald F. MacDonald) of the
Honorable mentions went to Robert
Murray, accordionist from Lanark, Scotland, and Radio Personality G.
B. Barker of Boone. Each received a kiss from the judge, the
competition's co-ordinator, Moire MacDonald Latamore from
The word Trump, from Gaelic tromb,
is the name by which the jaw-harp or Jew's harp is known in
Scotland. In the past years it was particularly popular in the
Highland district of Lochaber, which is Clan Cameron Country,
situated in the west and north of the town of Fort William.
Eighteenth century Scottish fur
traders brought Lochaber Trumps to America and gave the instruments
to Native Americans of the Cherokee and Creek Nations in exchange
for valuable animal skins.
"Just think what would have
happened if they had traded with bagpipes," said the judge.
The contest was held on Sunday
afternoon, July 13th, the last day of the 48th annual Highland Games
on the western slope of mile-high Grandfather Mountain, two miles
from Linille, North Carolina.
Scottish music trio Smithfield Fair will bring Jacobites to
Scottish music trio Smithfield
Fair will make its own appearance on February 14 & 15, 2003, at our
own Scottish Weekend here in Moultrie. Currently, Smithfield Fair is
touring in support of its sixth and latest compact disc - Jacobites
By Name - released internationally in June of 2002 by Centaur
Jacobites By Name centers on songs
from Scottish Jacobite rebellions, showing an aggressive and
up-tempo setting for the trio over the more reserved sounds of The
Winter Kirk, the trio's 2001 release. Some of the band's most
popular and requested songs from the past year of touring are
included on the disc.
Over the past year, Smithfield
Fair has stayed continuously on the road in a region from the East
Coast to West Texas - playing Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky,
Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. The group's performances have
drawn increasing audiences, forcing some concerts to be moved to
larger venues while selling out others. The Winter Kirk drew the
strongest critical reviews yet for their music, and was featured on
radio programs in the Virgin Islands, Scotland and New Zealand, as
well as receiving strong airplay throughout North America.
Critics have also praised the
group's original material as the perfect balance for the traditional
songs, and some songs have been hailed as "new standards." Dirty
Linen magazine commented that Smithfield Fair's music is "based on
strong songs with strong harmonies taken from or drawing on Scottish
traditional sources, presented in uncluttered arrangements," and
that they are "hearty singer and capable multi-instrumentalists."
The group's next project will concentrate on the works of Robert
Considering themselves to be
'song-driven', the group's sound is lively and contemporary without
losing its traditional focus, and effectively utilizes harmonies and
driving rhythms. The trio is the husband/wife/nephew team of Jan
Smith (vocals, accordion), Dudley-Brian Smith (vocals, guitars), and
Frang Bladen (vocals, bodhran, percussion).
Their website is
www.smithfieldfair.com, or contact them at Smithfield Fair, 8323
Justin Ave., Baton Rouge, LA 70809, USA, or call at 225-928-3902.