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INVERNESS MOD: Opening ceremony in Highland capital sets out stall for Royal National Mod on first weekend - with picture gallery including presenter Ellen MacDonald, Gaelic singer Margaret Stewart, Staran with Kim Carnie and The Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band with Ingrid Henderson


By Louise Glen

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Ellen MacDonald putting her best foot forward before a fabulous opening ceremony.
Ellen MacDonald putting her best foot forward before a fabulous opening ceremony.

Bean an taighe (mistress of ceremony), Ellen MacDonald welcomed an in person and virtual audience to Eden Court in Inverness for the opening ceremony for the Royal National Mod, last night.

The singer, from Inverness, set the tone for what will be a return to Gaelic singing, culture and music during the festivals competitions and concerts.

New Glasgow traditional music outfit, Staran, open The Royal National Mòd 2021 in Inverness with a live performance at Eden Court Theatre,
New Glasgow traditional music outfit, Staran, open The Royal National Mòd 2021 in Inverness with a live performance at Eden Court Theatre,

Featuring unforgettable performances from Staran, Glenfinnan Cèilidh Band and legendary Gaelic singer Margaret Stewart.

Margaret Stewart is a renowned Gaelic singer from the Isle-of-Lewis, with a career spanning more than 20 years, with three studio albums to her name.

Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band perform on stage awith special guest Gaelic singer, Margaret Stewart Eden Court Theatre on the openng night of live music, The Royal National Mòd 2021
Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band perform on stage awith special guest Gaelic singer, Margaret Stewart Eden Court Theatre on the openng night of live music, The Royal National Mòd 2021

She said: "It’s been a long time since I’ve performed in front of a live audience and even longer since I’ve been involved in any National Mòd concerts, but next week I am delighted to be ticking those two boxes at the one event. "

‘Staran' are a new musical collective featuring some of the biggest names in traditional music.

New Glasgow traditional music outfit, Staran, open The Royal National Mòd 2021 in Inverness with a live performance at Eden Court Theatre, Jack Smedley plays fiddle on stage
New Glasgow traditional music outfit, Staran, open The Royal National Mòd 2021 in Inverness with a live performance at Eden Court Theatre, Jack Smedley plays fiddle on stage

The band comprises of Kim Carnie, who also sings with Manran, John Lowrie, Jack Smedley, Innes White and James Lindsay.

The group released its debut album in May 2021. ‘Staran’, meaning path, trail or stepping stones in Gaelic, reflects the themes of ‘places’ and ‘moments’ that run through their music.

The Glenfinnan Cèilidh Band featuring Iain MacFarlane (Blazin’ Fiddles), Colm O’Rua (Daimh) on banjo, Iain MacMaster on accordion and Ingrid Henderson (Cliar) on piano and clarsach.

The band was formed for the sheer fun of playing good music together their unique blend of West Coast dance music will get your toes tapping.

Look in the picture gallery to see all the photos from the opening ceremony.

Presenter Ellen MacDonald opens The Royal National Mòd 2021 in Inverness
Presenter Ellen MacDonald opens The Royal National Mòd 2021 in Inverness

The Royal National Mòd 2021 is taking place from Friday 8th – Saturday 16th October 2021 at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness. Using a hybrid approach, there are a combination of in-person concerts and competitions, as well as a dynamic schedule of online performances being broadcast throughout the week.

Members of City of Inverness Pipe Band warmly welcome live audiences to Eden Court Theatre for the opening night of The Royal National Mòd 2021 in Inverness
Members of City of Inverness Pipe Band warmly welcome live audiences to Eden Court Theatre for the opening night of The Royal National Mòd 2021 in Inverness

A number of COVID safety measures are in place for this year’s Mòd in line with government guidelines to keep audiences and performers safe, including extensive cleaning and ongoing COVID safety checks, enhanced hygiene measures, use of face masks and track and trace check-ins.

Ingrid Henderson of Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band performs on stage at Eden Court Theatre on the openng night of live music, The Royal National Mòd 2021
Ingrid Henderson of Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band performs on stage at Eden Court Theatre on the openng night of live music, The Royal National Mòd 2021

Highlights of the celebration will include major competitions An Comunn Gàidhealach Gold Medal final and the Traditional Gold Medal. There will also be unmissable performances fiddler Lauren MacColl and many more.

Iain MacFarlane of Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band performs on stage at Eden Court Theatre on the openng night of live music, The Royal National Mòd 2021
Iain MacFarlane of Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band performs on stage at Eden Court Theatre on the openng night of live music, The Royal National Mòd 2021

The prestigious festival, which was founded in 1891, is supported by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, The Highland Council, EventScotland, The Scottish Government, HIE, Caledonian MacBrayne, The Inverness Common Good Fund and SQA.

Special guest Gaelic singer, Margaret Stewart sings with Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band on stage at Eden Court Theatre on the openng night of live music, The Royal National Mòd 2021
Special guest Gaelic singer, Margaret Stewart sings with Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band on stage at Eden Court Theatre on the openng night of live music, The Royal National Mòd 2021

The full programme for this year’s Royal National Mòd can be viewed at www.ancomunn.co.uk.

New Glasgow traditional music outfit, Staran, open The Royal National Mòd 2021 in Inverness with a live performance at Eden Court Theatre, Kim Carnie sings on stage
New Glasgow traditional music outfit, Staran, open The Royal National Mòd 2021 in Inverness with a live performance at Eden Court Theatre, Kim Carnie sings on stage

Tickets are available to buy from Eden Court box office www.eden-court.co.uk.

READ: PICTURES MOD INVERNESS: Royal National Mod gets under way in the Highland capital - all the pictures from the first day


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