An Lanntair has the incredible Purvai festival coming shortly, with workshops, a banquet, a concert and artists/musicians from all over the world coming to perform for you in Stornoway.
As ever, we have been sharing this event across the community with people who might not be able to make it in to the An Lanntair venue.
Our first session was a multi generational event between the Grianan and Solas Day Centre groups on Tuesday 7th August and today, on Weds 8th August, we went to Dun Berisay home.
Next week, we will be at the Tuesday Ceilidh at Western Isles Hospital, for all of you who happen to be in hospital at the time and then we will visit two more centres before the big concert at An Lanntair on 17th August.
We took along Dal (Dalbir Singh Rattan, also known ad the Tabla Jedi) to our sessions.
Dal has been working in a very interactive way, following a very similar style to a ceilidh, with singing, storytelling and teaching songs and how to drum.
I have been very inspired by the responses and interaction of the people attending our sessions because I have seen so much research about language and learning new languages, drumming, movement and music patterns being so beneficial for the brain. To be able to see this play out in front of me during such fun sessions has been a real joy.
I can see people thinking through the patterns and following them accurately, and picking up Swahili in a song to be able to sing it back. And all of this in a ‘follow-me’ style, which is very common in the Hebrides to teach new skills.
I have felt very inspired, particularly by one lady, who was very apprehensive that she wouldn’t be able to play the drum, when she actually managed to accurately pick up a drum rhythm and sing in Swahili simultaneously by the end of the session! I told her that if she can do that, she can do anything!
During a Q&A moment, we asked Dal about his recent trip to Buckingham Palace, which we enjoyed hearing about enormously! Rubies and diamonds, gold caskets, tabla and the Queen’s residence. What an experience! The best part of this story, though, was about Dal’s Grandfather, who is 91. He taught Dal Tabla, took him to his lessons regularly and was so moved by Dal being invited to Buckingham Palace to perform, that he squeezed out a tear full of pride. I think a couple of us in the room welled up over that one too.
The lady next to me was a music teacher and she enjoyed the feel of the drum skin, the sound of it reverberating on her hand and conducting the music. She even had a little sing with us.
There was so much love in the room, one lady even shouted across to Dal “I love you!’.
I think he picked up some new band members. Some of those drums are heavy, though – I didn’t make a very good roadie!
I have uploaded a few videos of how to speak ‘tabla’ and how to sing the lullaby in Swahili. Also, some of the brilliant people picking up the rhythms and songs so fantastically.
We have yet to offer two more session in care centres, revisit Solas/Grianan and to go to the hospital ward ceilidh on Tuesday 14th August with Kanchan, the dancer.
And here are two more videos – the story of Buckingham Palace and how to speak ‘tabla’.