University of Glasgow launches new collection of Gaelic recordings from Nova Scotia


20 September 2022
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Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia
A collection of Gaelic recordings made in Nova Scotia will be launched online today by the University of Glasgow.

The recordings by Professor Calum Iain N. MacLeod (Calum Iain M. MacLeòid, 1913–77) will be held in British Academy recognised project, Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic (DASG), led by the University of Glasgow.

The collection includes interviews, conversations, music, hymns and psalms, and songs largely from people in Nova Scotia. Most of the material is in Scottish Gaelic but some recordings also feature English and French.

Eilidh Cormack, a renowned Gaelic singer, who worked on many of MacLeod’s recordings for DASG said: “We are so fortunate that he chose to gift the University of Glasgow, where he was once himself a student, his collection and his fieldwork, and that it is still with us today.”

Calum Iain N. MacLeod

The collector, Calum Iain N. MacLeod, was an important figure in the history of the Gaelic community in Nova Scotia. The son of the Gaelic writer John N. MacLeod, he was brought up in Dornie and Kirkhill, Inverness-shire. He attended both Edinburgh and Glasgow universities and won recognition as a brilliant student in Celtic studies. In 1937, he won An Comunn Gàidhealach’s Bardic Crown.

During WWII, he was a major in the British Intelligence Corps serving in North Africa and across Europe. He emigrated to Canada in 1949 to work as Gaelic Advisor to the Education Department of the Nova Scotia government and was appointed as Professor of Celtic Studies at St. Francis Xavier University.

The new online collection of recordings will be a useful resource to all those interested in Gaelic folklore, language and song, especially in the context of Nova Scotia’s Gaelic communities.

The recordings will offer an interesting complement to MacLeod’s published collections, including Sgialachdan á Albainn Nuaidh (1969) and Bàrdachd á Albainn Nuaidh (1970).

Professor Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh, Professor of Gaelic at the University of Glasgow and Director of Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic (DASG) said: “We are absolutely delighted to be launch the very valuable Gaelic recordings made by Calum Iain MacLeod – a collection that adds significantly to Gaelic culture and resources that will enhance Gaelic communities across the globe.” 

Professor Heather Sparling, Cape Breton University, said: “Calum MacLeod did an enormous amount to build and develop Gaelic in Nova Scotia, teaching the language to hundreds of students while he worked as Gaelic Advisor to the Nova Scotia Education Department and especially as a respected professor in St. Francis Xavier University. But I would say that his greatest legacy are the contributions he made to Gaelic Songs in Nova Scotia (1964) – a book he wrote with Eilidh Creighton that is one of the most important published collections in this field to this day.”

The launch of Calum Iain N. MacLeod’s sound recording collection significantly adds to DASG’s sound archive. This project was completed through the work of Fraser Blain and Stephen Barrett. 

Oilthigh Ghlaschu a’ cur air bhog cruinneachadh ùr de chlàran Gàidhlig à Alba Nuadh

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Thèid cruinneachadh de chlàran Gàidhlig a rinneadh an Albainn Nuaidh a chur air bhog air-loidhne an-diugh (Dimàirt 20 Sultain 2022) le Oilthigh Ghlaschu.

Thèid na clàraidhean leis an Ollamh Calum Iain N. MacLeòid (Calum Iain M. MacLeòid, 1913–1977) a chumail ann am pròiseact a tha aithnichte aig Acadamaidh Bhreatainn, Tasglann Didseatach na Gàidhlig (DASG), air a stiùireadh le Oilthigh Ghlaschu.

Anns a’ chruinneachadh tha agallamhan, còmhraidhean, ceòl, laoidhean is sailm, agus òrain gu ìre mhòr bho dhaoine ann an Alba Nuadh. Tha a’ mhòr-chuid den stuth ann an Gàidhlig na h-Alba ach tha cuid de chlàran cuideachd a’ nochdadh Beurla agus Fraingis.

Thuirt Eilidh NicCarmaig, seinneadair Gàidhlig cliùiteach, a bha ag obair air mòran de chlàran MhicLeòid airson DASG: “Tha sinn cho fortanach gun do roghnaich e tabhartas a thoirt do dh’ Oilthigh Ghlaschu, far an robh e fhèin na oileanach, a chruinneachadh agus an obair-làraich aige, agus sin tha e còmhla rinn an-diugh.”

Bha an neach-cruinneachaidh, Calum Iain N. MacLeòid, cudromach ann an eachdraidh na coimhearsnachd Ghàidhlig ann an Albainn Nuaidh. 'S e mac an sgrìobhadair Gàidhlig Iain N. MacLeòid a thogadh anns an Dòrnaidh 's a' Chlachan, Siorrachd Inbhir Nis. Chaidh e gu oilthighean Dhùn Èideann agus Ghlaschu agus choisinn e aithne mar oileanach sgoinneil ann an eòlas Ceilteach. Ann an 1937, choisinn e Crùn Bàrd a’ Chomuinn Ghàidhealaich.

Aig àm an Dàrna Cogaidh, bha e na phrìomh neach ann am British Intelligence Corps a’ frithealadh ann an Afraga a Tuath agus air feadh na Roinn Eòrpa. Rinn e eilthireachd a Chanada ann an 1949 gus obair mar Chomhairliche Gàidhlig do Roinn an Fhoghlaim aig riaghaltas na h-Albann Nuaidhe. Agus chaidh a chur an dreuchd mar Ollamh na Ceiltis aig Oilthigh Naomh Fransaidh Xavier.

Bidh an cruinneachadh ùr air-loidhne de chlàran na ghoireas feumail dhaibhsan aig a bheil ùidh ann am beul-aithris, cànan is òran na Gàidhlig, gu h-àraidh ann an co-theacs choimhearsnachdan Gàidhlig na h-Albann Nuaidhe.

Bheir na clàraidhean taic inntinneach do na cruinneachaidhean foillsichte aig MacLeòid, a’ gabhail a-steach Sgialachdan á Albainn Nuaidh (1969) agus Bàrdachd á Albainn Nuaidh (1970).

Thuirt an t-Ollamh Rob Ó Maolalaigh, Stiùriche Dachaigh airson Stòras na Gàidhlig (DASG): “Is ann toilichte a tha sinn ann an DASG clàraidhean luachmhor Chaluim Iain MhicLeòid a chur air beulaibh an t-sluaigh – tasglann bheairteach a tha cur gu mòr ri stòras is cultar nan Gàidheal agus a bhios na bhuannachd do choimhearsnachd na Gàidhlig feadh an t-saoghail.”

Thuirt an t-Ollamh Heather Sparling, Oilthigh Cheap Breatainn: “Rinn Calum MacLeòd mòran airson a’ Ghàidhlig a thogail agus a leasachadh ann an Alba Nuadh, a’ teagasg a’ chànain do cheudan de dh’oileanaich fad ’s a bha e a’ frithealadh mar Chomhairleach Ghàidhlig do Roinn Fhoghlaim Albainn Nuaidh agus gu h-àraidh mar ollamh measail aig Oilthigh Naomh Fransaidh Xavier. Ach chanainn gur e na tabhartasan a thug e do Gaelic Songs in Nova Scotia (1964) a dhìleab as motha – leabhar a sgrìobh e còmhla ri Eilidh Creighton a tha, chun an latha an-diugh, air fear dhe na cruinneachaidhean foillsichte as cudromaiche san roinn.”

Tha cur air bhog a’ chruinneachadh clàradh fuaim aig Calum Iain N. MacLeòid a’ cur gu mòr ri tasglann fuaim DASG. Chaidh am pròiseact seo a chrìochnachadh tro shàr obair Fhriseal Blain agus Stephen Barrett.

Report courtesy University of Glasgow