Leabhar ‘s Craic
23 March 2013, CCA, Glasgow
Leabhar ‘s Craic 2013 presented a series of events aimed at stimulating the minds of readers, both young and old, with an inspiring mix of recitations, discussions, song writing collaborations, monologues and celebrations of literary milestones. There was an element of reflection in looking back on the solid achievements of a decade of Ur-Sgeul as well as some bold steps forward represented by a commitment to embrace new enterprises in writing from fledgling online literary publication Gutter. Creativity in song writing was highlighted in a new song-writing partnership between musicians Willie Campbell and Calum Martin.
The day’s activities began with a special story-telling event for children and continued at a brisk pace with sessions featuring new writers as well as their more established counterparts in both poetry and fiction. An absorbing and thought provoking dramatic monologue by Maggie Smith provided the additional literary ingredient of drama to the programme. Music and literature were combined in Gillebride Macmillan’s informative and entertaining presentation of the songs of the Paisley Bard, Domhnall Ruadh Phaisilig, providing a neat link between the literary activities of the day and the Ceol ’s Craic music event which followed.
The evening performance began with an electrifying display of musical and technical ingenuity by Willie Campbell who finished his set with his captivating Gaelic version of a song renewed with a Gaelic translation by his musical collaborator Calum Martin. Fans of Willie Campbell, from his days with indie rock group Astrid, might be surprised to find him experimenting with Gaelic lyrics. But Calum, a staunch upholder of Gaelic musical tradition, is acutely aware that Gaelic music has to move forward into new ground to interest young musicians from Gaelic speaking communities. His recent association with Willie was born from a mutual recognition of the relevance of Gaelic to song writing across all musical genres. Their collaboration appears to have had a very promising start, judging by the enthusiastic audience reaction to Willie’s song ‘Shabhail thu mi’.
Calum’s daughter, the powerful and melodic vocalist Isobel Anne, accompanied by her father and the superb guitarist Matheu Watson more than satisfied lovers of traditonal Gaelic song bringing a full day of words and music to an end with a final flourish.