Local musical project celebrating ancient song comes home to Galloway

musical project celebrating ancient song
The Oran Bagraidh collective

Oran Bagraidh, a residency of ten of the UK and Ireland’s finest traditional poets and musical artists which has brought an extinct dialect of Galloway Gaelic to life through song, is set to perform in Galloway this May.


The collective will showcase tracks from its unique multilingual album to live audiences at the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Fest in Lagwyne Hall, Carsphairn on Tuesday 28 May.


Promoting the area’s unique heritage and cultural diversity to Galloway youngsters, local children from the Glenkens will also have a chance to learn a Gaelic children’s song about Galloway, inspired by Oran Bagraidh, at a special workshop on Monday 27 May.


For the majority, this will be the first time children from Galloway have sung in Gaelic since it died out in the 18th-19th Century, re-invigorating past peoples and languages of the area and celebrating Gaelic heritage in the south of Scotland.


Oran Bagraidh is the result of an exciting residency which took place in Galloway in September 2018, inspired by the discovery of an ancient song from the region, the only surviving example of the extinct dialect of Galloway Gaelic, spoken across the region from the 5th to 18th Century.


It comprises vocalists using five languages of Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, Welsh, Scots and English and medieval instruments: crwth and northern triple pipes, as well as fiddle, harp, accordion and electronics.


The diverse line-up includes award winning Scots/ Gaelic singer Josie Duncan, lauded Irish song archaeologist Lorcán Mac Mathúna, former Welsh poet laureate and singer Gwyneth Glyn, celebrated Irish Sean-Nós singer Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde, Belfast fiddler Conor Caldwell, ancient instrument virtuoso Barnaby Brown, poet, singer and performance artist MacGillivray, Gaelic hip hop artist Griogair Labhruidh and medieval Welsh duo Bragod.


Oran Bagraidh residency producer Katch Holmes said: “The ten traditional poets and musical artists which make up this truly unique residency are looking forward to celebrating a special part of Galloway’s forgotten past and heritage when they perform for local audiences this May.
“This project is an important exploration of language and culture in the region and was created to be enjoyed by the people in this area. Dumfries and Galloway Arts Fest will be the perfect stage to bring this hypnotic fusion of historic language, instrumentals and poetry into a live space.”


The Oran Bagraidh collective will also play at Galloway’s Knockengorroch Festival on Sunday 26 May.