Congratulations to Care for a Ceilidh who have been nominated in the The Music Cure – Music and Health Award category. VOTE NOW!
We asked them the following questions.
Tell us more about your group
“Care for a Ceilidh” is an initiative which allows traditional musicians to visit care homes, hospices and special needs schools to perform short concerts. The concerts last around 45 minutes, with three artists doing three or four ‘turns’ each, and are completely free – all the talented performers give their time and talent for nothing, which is incredible.
The ceilidhs have featured highland dancers, pipers, fiddlers, accordion and clarsach players – and singers in Gaelic, Scots and English. We’ve also tried to promote inter-generational links, with performers from schools, university students, those in work and those in retirement mixing together at the ceilidhs.
We’ve been fortunate enough to have support from so many different groups. Trail West, Manran, Tide Lines, Skerryvore, Barluath, Skipinnish, CherryGrove, Dun Mor Ceiidh Band and many others have all taken part in the ceilidhs. Over 25 Mod Gold Medal winners have taken part, as have at least a dozen Gaelic choirs, and the students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland are great supporters. And highland dancers like Flings&Things and the Lynn Maclean Dancers have also been tremendous and generous with their time and talent. There are too many people to name individually, but we owe a massive debt to every single person who has taken part and their performances have been hugely appreciated.
How long has your group been together?
Following the Haiti earthquake in 2010, a fundraising concert was organised in Glasgow featuring around 20 Mod Gold Medal winners. That went so well that consideration was given to whether the traditional music talent in Glasgow might be interested in performing in short concerts at care homes. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and we’ve had over 150 ceilidhs since we started in August 2013.
Most of the ceilidhs are in and around Glasgow and the Western Isles, but we’ve also had several in Edinburgh and Inverness as well as some in Aberdeen, Oban, Ireland and England
What have you got planned for the next year?
We are currently averaging around one ceilidh a week and, all being well, this will continue going forward. We’re always keen to visit new care homes and hospices, so hopefully we’ll get a chance to entertain some new folk in the coming 12 months.
What has been the highlight of your journey thus far?
It is incredibly difficult to select one highlight – every ceilidh is unique and everyone takes different positives from them. A compilation of yarns would make for a great book!
By way of example, the first time we had a piper, John Campbell from Tiree, I was incredibly nervous that it would prove too loud for the residents. Sure enough, as soon as he played the first note, the old dear sitting next to John raised her hand. After a short discussion, her carer helped her out of the seat, bound, I assumed, for the exit. However, she just wanted to be lifted out up so she could start dancing, which was a lesson for me that you should never, ever judge people!
How does it feel to be nominated in this category?
Being nominated for the award is fantastic recognition for all the amazing musicians who have taken part in the ceilidhs. We’ve been incredibly fortunate that so many folk have been involved, and it is testament to them that the ceilidhs continue to provide so much entertainment.