Barvas Ware Project Continues

Here are two sets of images relating to the progress of the Barvas Ware project with Museum Nan Eilean and Western Isles Libraries.

The white pieces are the 3d print pieces that Helene at Western Isles Libraries at Stornoway did from the Museum Nan Eilean Barvas Ware Handling Collection. They will be painted.

The other set of images are by Jon Macleod and are from the first test firing on a peat fire of some of the community made pieces where we re-made and re-imagined Barvas Ware pieces in Raku clay with Ceramicist Jana Grimm.

There will be public sessions for firing the pieces shortly and a film created to share of a Gaelic blessing.

When the project is complete, we will exhibit all of the pieces and some will be added to our Memory Boxes, which are with Western Isles Libraries.

Ceilidh Trail work begins

Our collaboration Ceilidh Trail project begins across Lewis shortly in November and December 18, which will then trail through Harris in January and into North and South Uist, Benbecula and Barra from February into March 19.

Partners
The project partners are An Lanntair, Museum Nan Eilean, Ceolas, Tagsa Uibhist, our Creative Care Practitioners, A new Co-ordinator for the Uists,
and the series of events will include:

Care and day centre events, not open to the public but open to residents, staff, visitors
Kitchen ceilidhs – public
Community centre ceilidhs – public
Work with schools – not public
Museum event – public
Work with existing festivals and events – public

Dates will be announced shortly and there will be an ‘event’ listing on our facebook page Cianalas

The Idea – From the community
The idea came from the community – working to share traditional ceilidh songs in care centres with Maggie Smith, as she has been blogging about for some time, songs, lyrics, poetry have all been enthusiastically shared through our project sessionsMoments blog here too.

The next part of the research came about when Euan Macleod, Museum Nan Eilean Development Officer, came and sang to some people staying on Clisham Ward at Western Isles Hospital (as you can see from our Autumn Newsletter). One of the ladies was unable to hold a conversation but was absolutely engaging with local, traditional songs and made a request for her favourite song, for Euan to learn for her, which he did. At the next ceilidh at Horshader Shop on the West Side of Lewis, the song he had been asked to learn for the lady in hospital was performed again and it connected with another lady at the next ceilidh. ‘Oh, that’s an old, old song. My Mother used to sing it to me’, she smiled, joining in with tears in her eyes. We realised that even though people can be quite isolated, living in care centres, the potential to share local knowledge and  connect with each other exists through traditional song and tunes. A shared cultural awareness and lyrical diversity between villages.

Initially, our podcasts on our Soundcloud account started to collect some songs and stories in Gaelic and English, and this is where the exploration of recording the songs and stories began. We have booked a recording session at Wee Studio to capture some of the songs and stories from the Ceilidh trail under studio conditions but we will also do some live recordings and filming out on the trail in the community and collect some specific lyrics and stories behind songs as we go.

Jon Macleod has been out across the islands meeting project partners to set dates in each area, which will be announced shortly. We will have local musicians in each area contributing their own local knowledge to the ceilidhs.

Please have a look at the event listings when they are announced, and come along to share your knowledge and memory of local, traditional songs, the stories behind who wrote and sang them and where they came from. All are welcome to the public events.

Initial events are at:
Thursday 22nd November 18, 2-4pm at Museum Nan Eilean, Lews Castle. No booking required.

In planning for a suitable date – Grinneabhat, Bragar. No booking required.

Blar Buidhe early in December – date TBC – for residents, staff and family/visitors.

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Science Ceilidh week

Lewis Hou from Science Ceilidh was here in October and we held twelve events together:

Isles FM
Gaelic class
Hospital ceilidh
Blar Buidhe
Solas, Grianan, Ardseielach groups,
An Lantair open mic
Stornoway Library
Grinneabhat
Museum traditional songs event
Friday Ceilidh at the Retirement Centre
Live streaming event
Western Isles Hospital staff event in the Education Centre
Planning meetings in An Lanntair, the Library and at the airport for future events with Fun Palaces.

Lewis is a Neuroscientist and Educator, working with Science Ceilidh, which won Hands Up For Trad Community Music Organisation of the Year 2018. The events that we held here introduced the brain, the size of it, how different parts of the brain physically change relating to movement and how scanning picks up blood flow to different areas of the brain. We looked at how music impacts on the brain and how learning a second language at any age, even another language very similar to one that we already speak, positively supports the brain to recover better from stroke and perhaps protect the brain for some years from some of the impacts of dementia.

Research and resources can be found on the Science Ceilidh website and Lewis Hou (contactable through the website) is happy to hear and respond to your questions if you would like to get in touch.

Some of our project work this year is relating to research and academic partnerships, so this was an important collaboration to undertake for that reason but mostly, it was brilliant fun! We danced the ‘Canadian Brain Dance’ and enjoyed some wonderful traditional music.

Some of the hilarious comments reflected the fun of the sessions ‘ohh this must be a Niseach brain’ ‘is your brain really that small?’ ‘oh my brain is MUCH bigger than that, I am such an intelligent lady’.

One particularly moving moment was where a young man attending a day centre was able to perform to and entertain the others in the group, singing along with Lewis. He clearly experienced a lot of enjoyment from singing, dancing and entertaining his friends and neighbours, who enjoyed his contribution enormously, with smiles, laughter and joining in. The intergenerational aspect of this group was also wonderful, with ages from teens to nineties, all engaging with the science aspects as well as the music and dancing.