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by Debbie Koritsas
Choosing the road
less travelled?
spoke with Lewis-born Gaelic to be visited and explored in
singer Margaret Stewart just more detail in the near future. I
before she left for what has wanted to take the opportunity
become her annual visit to Willie in this article to present a wide-
Clancy Week in County Clare, ranging and interesting overview
Ireland. A lively, witty, highly of Margaret and her life, and to
articulate and elegant woman, perhaps find out what makes her
‘Too many are launched
Margaret is renowned for her tick musically and culturally.
beautiful voice, her great love
for and immaculate handling of Margaret has been extremely into professional careers
the Gaelic song tradition into busy recently. Besides taking
which she was born, and for her up a position as one of the two
Highland hospitality. Of equal Gaelic song specialists on the
before they have enough
renown are her passionate Tobar An Dualchais (Kist O’
views on Gaelic song and Riches) project earlier this year,
culture, and how they are she has also released a beautiful
experience or are musically,
presented to the outside world. new recording of immaculate,
Her views on how the Gaelic gracefully presented Gaelic
songs of her native Scotland are songs, all holding deep personal
handled by those outside the significance for her. That album
or in the case of Gaelic song,
culture have indeed earned her is called ‘Togaidh Mi Mo Sheolta
the reputation of being a rather - Along the Road Less Travelled’;
forthright, and to some, an the Gaelic part of the title means
linguistically ready for it.’
intimidating woman. ‘I will make my way’ and segues
into the second part of the album
during a joint Irish and Scottish song; a bit of a daunting task, but
In a remarkably frank and title. Does this title describe the conference on traditional sean-nòs I’m not shrinking from it!’
fascinating interview, Margaret personal route Margaret has singing; and invited me to come to
sets the record straight with chosen to follow during her life? the festival the following year, but It’s evidently not all work and
refreshing honesty and great Her responses in this interview my brother was getting married no play in Co. Clare, however.
eloquence. I personally find will go some way to providing at the time and I couldn’t attend, Last year Margaret and friends
nothing at all intimidating about the answer. We spoke first of all but I said I would be delighted if met and had dinner with actor
her, but then my conversations about her love of Willie Clancy the invitation were open for the Jeremy Irons, who had been
with her do go back some time. Week, one of Ireland’s most following year; which it was! It’s learning fiddle from Caoimhín
This was the first occasion we respected celebrations of the an important cultural exchange for O’Raghallaigh in preparation for
managed to pull together the traditional Irish song, music and me; after all the roots of our Gaelic an RTE television series. ‘He was
various strands of our discussions dance traditions. language come from the Irish. I charming of course, and joined
in a more formal, coherent way. meet up with my Irish musician in on a small session at our hotel,
Some of our conversation had ‘I’ve been attending the ‘Willie friends as well as teach and sing where he very skillfully played
to be curtailed to fit the space Week’, as its affectionately called, there – this year I’ve been invited, the guitar and sang ‘Miss Otis
confines of the magazine, so a few for over ten years now. Two of the and cajoled into delivering a Regrets’ and the Eric Clapton
stones have been left unturned, organisers first met me in Lewis lecture on Scottish Gaelic Jacobite classic ‘You Look Wonderful
The Living Tradition - Page 1
Issue80.indd 18 14/7/08 14:48:37
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