Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has today confirmed that its Friday evening Cèilidhs, a COVID initiative started in March 2020, will conclude with a live finale on Friday 30th April.
Calum Martin, Willie Campbell and Iain “Costello” Maciver will perform a live Cèilidh on Friday 30th April which will be the culmination of over 60 Comhairle Cèilidhs over the past year, featuring Gaelic songs, country and other genres.
Colin George Morrison, Media Co-ordinator, said: “The Cèilidh programme which has two strands – the live cèilidhs on Friday evening and the exclusive recorded cèilidhs for all island Care Homes – was established as a mechanism to keep people and communities engaged and connected during lockdown restrictions. With thousands of viewers creating a global community, the objective of the Cèilidh programme has certainly been achieved and we would like to record our thanks, once again, to everyone who has tuned in each week and to all the artists who have given of their time and significant talent.
“The combination of the easing of restrictions on the horizon, the vaccination programme and the prospect of live gigs for local artists all mean that the time has come to wrap up the live Cèilidh element. The Comhairle has also worked with local artists to provide exclusive 30 minute weekly Cèilidh footage to all Care Homes throughout the Western Isles in order to provide residents with some musical entertainment and this element of the Cèilidh programme will continue. The residents and staff of Care Homes across the country have been amongst the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the provision of regular weekly entertainment brings a welcome distraction and has been well received across the board.
“We look forward to the live Cèilidhs on the Facebook page over the next few weeks and the finale with Calum, Willie and Iain on 30th April.”
Iain “Costello” Maciver, said: “It’s hard to believe that a year has gone past since the Comhairle Cèilidhs started. It’s been an absolute pleasure to have taken part and hopefully entertaining you all. The Cèilidhs have indeed brought a brand new community together, albeit in the virtual sense. We as performers know how valuable these weekly Cèilidhs have been for keeping spirits high and hopefully it won’t be too long until we can gather in person with the return of live events on the horizon.
“I’d like to thank the Communications team at CNES for giving me the opportunity to play my music for you during lockdown. I’ve had a blast, even when the gremlins were at play!”
Willie Campbell, commented: “Seeing the way the Cèlidhs have pulled us together during extremely difficult days has been unforgettable. It’s brought a lot of comfort to people as well as entertainment. It has also been really amazing to see people connect and reconnect with each other on the chat each week, the social aspect to it has been surprising and brilliant to watch.
“I feel sad that they’re ending but also delighted to have been involved in something that will be remembered fondly. The Cèilidhs have also highlighted how valuable and important music is to people in day to day life and even more so during trying times. I’m looking forward to ending this time on a high note with Calum and Iain.”
Calum Martin, said: “It has been a real privilege to be invited into your homes by the Comhairle over the last year to perform live for you from time to time on the Friday night Cèilidhs. My thanks goes to the Comhairle for organising things and keeping us right. I now look forward to our live Finale on 30th April with my two great musical pals Willie & Iain.
“Finally, a huge thanks to each and every one of you for supporting the many artists who have performed, it just would not have been the same without you and your lovely messages. It has been a great community, and I hope it has helped in a small way to lift all our spirits during these difficult times.”