You are my sunshine

What a ceilidh on the west side on Friday!

The event was billed as 2-3pm but they were still going at 4.30! ‘Let’s do it again, maybe every month or two!’ , I heard from at least three people.

It was the Me Time guitar group’s first support gig and they were fantastic. Hadie gently supported everyone to have a wonderful time with it and everyone wanted to do it again. We had a violin, cello, ukulele, guitar and many voices.

The age ranged from a two year old girl dancing to every tune, to a lady in her nineties. Families joined young people from the guitar group (which has always been very intergenerational) and a group from Blar Buidhe joined us too.

Euan, our Museum Development Officer sang local Gaelic Bragar songs and a few favourites on request. The guitar group sang the Eriskay Love Lilt in Gaelic and there were several other Gaelic songs Balloch an Iasgaich and Eilidh.

It felt important to hear the Bragar songs so close to Bragar. They are precious local songs that completely suit Euan’s distinctive tone and style and he sings them with gentle compassion and respect. These songs need to be sung to preserve them.

That wasn’t the only beautiful moment though, there were many.

Seeing the little girl dance was particularly joyful. Euan’s uncle dropped by to join in, which was a surprise for Euan. We had 40 people enjoy the music, most people caught most of it and many stayed for all of it, whether by intention or happy accident. Holidaymakers, young and older alike.

One moment that had me in tears was when Euan played ‘You are My Sunshine’ for the Blar Buidhe group, inspired by a lady on the hospital ward’s favourite song that he learned to sing to her on Wednesday. The lady I was sitting with had been caught in a moment of missing her mother and was crying. She suddenly lit up and sang the rest of the song with me, saying ‘That’s an old, old song. I sang it as a wee girl. My mother sang it to me. How lovely. Thank you.’

It struck me how one lady, from her hospital ward, had communicated through a song, to another lady, living in a care home, through our amazing Museum service coming on tour to offer the singing session as an outreach offering.

Moments like this are truly special and I’m humbled and honoured to be part of such a wonderful community. It reminded me of a project theme of celebrating and respecting the valuable contribution local people make to their community from their beds and hospital wards. Islander to islander.

Thank you to everyone who participated, you all brought something to the event and made it really special.

Julie, from Horshader shop said ‘I’ll never, ever forget it and there will be more.’

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