…a very special early ‘turning point’ moment in an ol’ Scots Jurassic’s life…

…I’m often asked why, in amongst the plethora of sixties and seventies music I post on Facebook and elsewhere, I also frequently include so much Celtic music from time to time… for a wee lad from Docklands Govan in Glasgow, who at one time fronted as ‘lead singer’ and ‘Harmonica player a la Mick Jagger’ in a ‘beat group’ back in my teens, it seems to some a strange intrusion of musical taste… the answer lies in the six unforgettable years I spent in my mid teens as a Trainee Master of the Financial Universe in the mighty Clydesdale & North of Scotland Bank Limited’s Tobermory Branch in the Scottish Hebridean Island of Mull… the community there was alive with gaelic speakers, and the warmest folk I’ve ever been privileged to live among… they caught on quickly to the fact this gauche wee laddie could sing a bit, and persuaded me to learn some gaelic songs to warble at the local ceilidhs… the bigger step came when it was insisted that I enter for the local Mod singing competition… (this was held under the auspices of The Royal National Mòd  Scottish GaelicAm Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail… it is the most important of several major Mòds that are held annually, mostly in Scotland. It is the main festival of Scottish Gaelic literature, song, arts and culture, and one of the more notable peripatetic cultural festivals in Scotland. It is often referred to simply as the Mòd)…


… not only that, but two wonderful local schoolteacher ladies were appointed to inculcate in the young Gallacher the music and, more importantly, the language, all sung a cappella… the upshot resulted in my winning the local rounds, meaning I was then mandated into the National Competition against the winners of all the local events… more success followed, with a spread of medals to my name… but the turning point of it all happened in Glasgow in 1967… the final four, including myself, had to perform in front of 2,000+ people… I recall the auditorium stretched all the way back and upward, wall-panelled with polished wood, which lent a fabulous acoustic quality to the arena, in which you could truly hear a pin drop… for my final Oran Mor (‘the big song’) I selected as my ‘own choice’ piece,  ‘Mo Mhathair’ (My Mother)… a difficult but highly evocative sentimental piece… the piano sounded the starting note and then was silent… I sang that song with more feeling that I can ever recall…despite the 2,000 crowd, I was lifted, hearing my voice sounding back from the auditorium…  I was truly ‘in the zone’... away in that other Hebridean world… the solitary comfort of the Highlands… my whole being tingled, my voice as a young man as strong as ever it was going to be… I cared not that there were other people there.. I sang for my teachers… I sang for all the community in Tobermory who had encouraged and supported my Mod efforts… and I sang for me… and it changed my life… I felt the power and beauty that Celtic music offers… the solace… the warmth… the ‘belonging’ to a fiercely traditional community… it was a remarkable emotive feeling, which still stirs me… a very special early ‘turning point’ moment in an ol’ Scots Jurassic’s life… unhappily, I have no remaining recordings of my own early Gaelic singing, but here’s the best proponent ever for the song, Calum Kennedy, to let you hear the magic as he sings about his mother… enjoy, and journey back fifty years with this daft old Scotsman…

..see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

5 responses to “…a very special early ‘turning point’ moment in an ol’ Scots Jurassic’s life…

  1. Just lovely, Seumas, and I can’t even understand the words. There’s more than just words to this music. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful. And mothers do deserve it, for sure. Shame there was no You Tube and video recordings at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ..I tried some time ago to enquire with BBC Scotland who did a few of my recordings of gaelic songs for broadcast during what then was a weekly fifteen minute section for gaelic music, but to no avail …no tape records going backchat far for that material 😦


  3. Rosa Ave Fénix

    Sure you must feel that kind the msic in your heart… I’m Spanish but really I love Celtic music, it’s warm, sweet… sometimes it seems onbe is crying with no tears…


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