Dìleab: Air a' Chuan, brings together school pupils and musicians from across the Western Isles to celebrate our rich connection with the waters which surround us through music and song, as part of the 2020 Year of Coasts and Waters. Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band, the Sir E Scott school choir and soloists, musicians and choral singers from the four secondary schools in the Outer Hebrides will be joined by Willie Campbell, Ceitlin Lilidh and Padraig Morrison and other island musicians in this special one-off performance which promises to be an excellent evening of entertainment. The evening will be hosted by former pupil of Sgoil Lionacleit, Linda MacLeod.
Willie Campbell, has been involved in the Dìleab project since its inception and as part of his performance on the evening will showcase two new specially commissioned songs, as part of Dìleab: Air a’ Chuan 2020. Several other new commissions have been produced for this event and will be performed by both our professional musicians and the talented young people of the Western Isles.
What is Dileab?
The Dìleab project started in 2018, with different events happening in our schools in the Western Isles. Our pupils researched different subjects connected to the history of the islands. The schools were given a different theme related to the island, Barra and emigration, Uist remembering World War 1, Harris with protest and politics and Lewis remembering the Iolaire Disaster. The pupils worked with local musician Willie Campbell to produce 5 original compositions on these themes.
This began as an idea of our Education, Skills and Children’s Services Director, Bernard Chisholm, at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. The pupils did fantastic work throughout the islands to put on a series of concerts, including the biggest concert in the Lewis Sports Centre in December 2018, commemorating the Iolaire Disaster – an unforgettable night, with people coming together from throughout the isles. There have been opportunities during the project for pupils to work with the local Historical Societies, professional musicians, and different Comhairle officers, in order to find out more about their own history. We also recorded an EP that is available on streaming platforms and CD. We had always hoped that this could be an enduring project, and it’s turned out to be the case – we held another concert at the end of November 2019, in Stornoway where island pupils came together with Skippinish, Tumbling Souls and Face the West to put on wonderful night of music. On the 17th January 2020 we are taking nearly one hundred pupils from the islands down to Glasgow for Celtic Connections where our Dìleab: air a’ Chuan concert will take place. The theme for this concert is related to Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters and will explore the relationship the island has with this through music and song. It’s going to be an amazing night!