Mod Fringe

The full fringe timetable is now available HERE!!

The Royal National Mòd Fringe promises to be one of the busiest and diverse on record. Performances range from yoga with puppets to award winning traditional bands. One of the aims of the Fringe is to take events outside of the main base in Stornoway. There will be drama in Barra, ceilidhs in Uist, storytelling in Tarbert and Ness, with numerous other events spread through Eilean nan Siar.

Storytelling and traditional music are at the heart of this year’s Fringe. Solas is a drama which adapts Neil Munro’s stories about commercial traveller Jimmy Swan (David Walker). He travels the west coast and islands selling his drapery and dispensing advice to the clientele of his favourite lounge bar run by Marianna (Ellen MacDonald). The play also incorporates numerous Highland folk tales and songs. Directed by Artair Donald it features renowned actor Iain MacRae and top class musician Ewen Henderson. Solas is performed at An Lanntair Theatre on Tuesday October 18 at 8pm.

Drama and music enthusiasts in Barra will enjoy Fuagh Fosgail, a drama and music show with Gillebhride MacAMhaoill and Rona Macdonald. Castlebay Hall is the venue on Saturday October 15 at 7.30pm.

The storytelling theme continues with two performances of Gach Sgeul in the Harris Distillery in Tarbert and Taigh Dhonnchaidh in Ness. Storyteller Essie Stewart, who is steeped in the traditions of the travelling people is sure to enthral with tales by the fireside.

Songs, poetry and words of war feature in three productions. Mac-Talla Cogaidh has played to capacity audiences at two previous Fringes. Now it is the opportunity for people from Lewis and Harris to listen to the songs and poems of the late Reverend John MacLeod whose work inspired the show. His father died on the ill-fated Iolaire – one of the country’s worst maritime disasters. The boat was taking soldiers and sailors back to the islands when she foundered on the Beasts of Holm, within sight of the lights of Stornoway.

John MacLeod was one year old when his father perished. His poem Bantrachd Cogaidh (War Widow) tells of his mother’s hardship and her hopes for the future. It is central to the production, which also features his award winning songs, co-written with musician Erik Spence, Nam Aonar Le Mo Smuainten and Thoir Dhomh Do Làimh. Erik has composed and plays the music, much of it original in a production that has contributions from James Graham, Kirsteen Menzies, Linda MacLeod, Dingwall Gaelic Choir, Joan Garvin, Ewen Henderson Donald Ryno Morrison and presented by Allan Campbell. Mac Talla Cogaidh is on at Stornoway Town Hall on Thursday October 20th at 5pm.

Cuimhneachan, presented by Annella MacLeod and Jo MacDonald is based on the publication of an anthology of First World War poems and songs. The show at the Clan MacQuarrie Centre in Borve (7.30pm on October 18) also has two fine singers to convey the power of song from that era. Top traditional singer Joan Morrison and Robert Roberston, the rising star of Gaelic singing, head the bill.

Another Acair publication Dol Fodha na Grèine, is a remarkable record of the hopes, the fears, tragedy and the joy of conflict. It centres on letters from servicemen in the Ness area. There will be readings from the book by authors Annie MacSween and Donald Alasdair Morrison at Stornoway Town Hall on the afternoon of Friday October 21st.

You could reasonably expect that the Fringe at Gaelic music’s premier Festival would contain a fair amount of music and you would be right.

Daimh get the show on the road on October 14 at Stornoway Sports Hall. The Gaelic supergroup have changed their line-up a few times since their inception but at the heart of their award winning style are founders Angus MacKenzie, Gabe MacVarish and Ross Martin. They are joined by Murdo “Yogi” Cameron on mandola and accordion, and one of Gaeldom’s brightest singers, Ellen MacDonald, completes the line-up.

They are supported by the Mischa MacPherson trio. Despite her tender years Lewis born Mischa has scooped a number of prestigious awards . She has been named Gaelic singer of the year at the MG Alba Scottish Traditional Music Awards and was a winner of BBC 2’s Young Folk Award.

Ar Canan `s Ar Ceol is set to be one of the highlights of the week. Renowned musicians Andrew Yearly and Anna Murray have rehearsed with nine different community groups  over the past few months  and have put together a spectacular programme, which feature pipes, fiddles, accordions, brass  and quite a few other instruments The event is being staged in the Sports Hall on Saturday October 21st. Ticket are bound to go quickly. Make sure you have yours.

Breabach are one of the powerhouses of contemporary folk music. They tour across the globe and it will be a real treat to see the band in action at An Lanntair on Thursday October 20th

Thursday is a busy night. The Convener’s Ceilidh is one of the highlight’s of Mòd week. Norman Macdonald’s team has lined up a great night of music and song at the Caberfeidh Hotel at 10.00 pm following the Breabach concert. The Ness Meloden Band will provide the music. It will be the first chance to see the principal prize winners perform in concert.

Aite Mo Ghaoil, features six singers from different islands singing songs from their own area. Their choices are arranged by the highly talented Ingrid Henderson, who also leads the Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band on stage. The singers are Iain MacKay from Lewis, Amy MacKay from Harris, Linda MacLeod from North Uist, Kathleen MacInnes from South Uist, Lisa MacNeil from Barra and Arthur Cormack from Skye. They take to the stage at An Lanntair on Friday October 21st at 7.30 pm. The music doesn’t stop there. The Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band are back on stage for what promises to be a spectacular closing dance.

Oh and the yoga practising puppets. Well they will be out in about in the town on Monday and Tuesday. It’s described as a clown show, inside a puppet show inside a yoga class. One to watch out for.