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I’ve been meaning to write a proper, serious entry on Gaelic and minority languages in general for ages but its just not happening at the moment. So in the meantime I’m just going to get a little over-excited about the recent resurgence in Gaelic language rock music.

On my travels around Glaschu lately I keep seeing big banners with ‘Cum Gaidhlig Beo’ (roughly ‘Keep Gaelic Alive’) which naturally I approve of – seeing Gaelic in everyday life always makes me happy – but I was puzzled as to why they were around. The Mod’s in Gallaibh this year so its not that, thus the mystery continues. Anyways, I was in Glaschu for dinner recently and by strange chance we saw one of those signs while the radio was playing Radio nan Gaidheal which led to me getting to listen to that station for longer than I normally do (the evening DJ speaks so fast I’m lucky if I can pick out a handful of words) before my travelling companions got bored and we went back to Rock Radio. The point of this story is that the music playing was fairly mainstream rock/indie stuff with some smaller bands thrown in and one of the songs they were playing was in a mix of Gaelic and English. Being quite a nice little song I thought I’d see if the playlist was up on the website (surreal conversation in the car as to whether Radio nan Gaidheal has A lists and B lists and what would be on there) and lo it was. Turns out I was listening to Rapal and though I never did manage to track down the track I was listening to I did find a bunch of other excellent tunes in Gaelic to spend my new-found wages on. Rapal run an annual competition for a song written in Gaelic and there’s a wee highlights video on the website which I found to be a handy (though frustrating as many of the songs have never been released) guide for venturing into new territory.

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So far it’s been won by a whimsically eccentric effort from a singer-songwriter The Picturebooks:
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A rather bouncy punk number from Na Gathan:
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(who I see have recently released a new song that’s rather more mellow and features their drummer on lead vocals for a change).

And even a dance track (and not a bad dance track either) from Niteworks:
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who incidentally do a rather good cover of Chi mi’n geamhradh, better known as an early Runrig number.

The 2010 competition closed back in February but the winner doesn’t seem to have been announced yet, nonetheless I’m looking forward to hearing the finalists once they’re up on the website. Roll on the days when BBC ALBA is on freeview and I can actually watch Rapal tbh in full rather than fragments.

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