The 2024 Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week will once again be held at Lees-MacRae College in Banner Elk, NC., from July 7 to July 12. Registration will open later in the spring, but we are pleased to be able to introduce you to our instructors for the week.

Send questions to Jamie MacDonald gaelicteach@gmail.com

Our 2024 Instructors

Fiona Smith

Fiona Smith (Fionnghal Nic a’ Ghobhainn) was born and raised among the islands off the west coast of Canada and learned her Gaelic when she was a teenager. She began teaching it at the age of twenty-one and has now been teaching Gaelic for twelve years in various formats — online college and continuing education courses, in-person intensive classes, and since the pandemic, she and her friend and mentor Angus MacLeod have been experimenting with a large variety of online teaching methods. She has written dozens of her own lessons and small courses on various aspects of the Gaelic language and brings to her teaching a deep knowledge of the history and development of Gaelic and also its cultural and historical context. But she is also a strong believer that learning should be fun and that laughter is a great aid to the memory!

She currently teaches online for the Gaelic College, which is based in Cape Breton, and also teaches her own independent online classes through Explore Gaelic, a small family-and-friends business.

Michael Klevenhaus

Dr. Michael Klevenhaus is an actor, singer, author, translator, and language coach. Michael received an MA in Gaelic & Material Culture at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and a PhD at the University of Koblenz, Germany in musicology, where his doctoral dissertation was: Ludwig Mòr nan Òran – The Gaelic Origins of the Scottish Songs by Ludwig van Beethoven. For more information, watch the trailer: http://www.caledonia.tv/%C3%B2rain-gh%C3%A0idhlig-beethoven-beethovens-gaelic-songs/.

Dr. Klevenhaus is the director of the German Institute for Gaelic Language & Culture in Bonn, Germany where he is teaches Gaelic. In addition to teaching in many other venues including Bonn University, he teaches short courses at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig during the summer. Michael sings in the band, Òran is Pìob, and in the Ludwig Mòr Ensemble with the piper Alan MacDonald, Mary MacInnes, and others.

Wilma Kennedy

Wilma Kennedy, a native Gaelic-speaker from Glasgow with strong roots to the Isle of Skye and Tiree, is a singer, actor, and teacher. She has been performing and teaching professionally for more than three decades. Wilma is a former member of Bannal, the waulking group. She recorded two albums with them and produced a documentary for BBC Alba where Bannal tried to hand waulk tweed using the old methods. She is also a former member of her family band, The Campbells of Greepe, and performed widely at festivals and concerts with them and recorded two highly acclaimed CDs. She contributed to a unique book, Fonn, which shares her family’s history and wealth of song. The family are particularly recognised as experts in the field of singing puirt a beul (Mouth Music).

Wilma is one of only a few Gaelic singers who have won both solo-singing Gold Medals at the Royal National Mòd, the National Gold Mòd Medal and the Mary Lamont Gold Medal for traditional singing. She also conducted the Dundee Choir for 12 years and enjoyed success at the National Mòd with them too.

Committed to passing on the traditions and language of Gaelic she currently works as a Gaelic Medium Teacher in Primary education. Song has been a vital component for supporting the teaching of the Gaelic language to these young children.

 

 

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