Eurovision 2019

June 03, 2019

Alba at Eurovision…

Yes, you read that right, we are actually going to compete at the Eurovision Choir of the Year Competition in Gothenburg. This is the first time Scotland has ever competed in the competition.

As a massive Euriovision fan, I don’t think I’ve even been so excited to perform. We have costumes, and dance routines! I also get to perform along-side some really awesome folk and Gaelic singers.

We are on a long journey of rehearsals and preperation at the moment. BBC Alba will be following us on our journey and capturing the good, the bad and the ugly of Scotland’s journey to Eurovision.

BBC Alba will broadcast the documentary on July 31st at 9:30 pm, and broadcast the contest live from Gothenburg on August 3rd at 7:30pm. The show which will be held in Gothenburg will be hosted by Petroc Trelawny and Ella Petersson.

A total of eleven nations will be participating in the contest that is being held for the second time.

  • Belgium – Almakalia
  • Denmark – Vocal Line
  • France – TBD
  • Germany – BonnVoice
  • Latvia – Maska
  • Norway – Volve Vokal
  • Scotland – Alba
  • Slovenia – Jazzva
  • Sweden – Zero8
  • Switzerland – Cake O’Phonie
  • Wales – Ysgol Gerdd Ceredigion

Here is a little video to get you in the mood for Eurovision Choir of the Year  #albaeurovision

Click here

Keepers of the Quaich Album

May 31, 2019

What a lovely surprise to receive the Keepers of the Quaich Magazine throught the post and see my mug in it!

Back in January all the previous scholarship winners got together at the amazing Blair Castle to record an album that we can let you hear very soon.

Big thanks to Chris Gray who accompanied me singing one of my own songs ‘The Lyceum’.

National Museum Recording and Filming – Wild and Majestic: Romantic Visions of Scotland Exhibition

May 31, 2019

I did some filming and recording for The National museum of Scotland for their summer exhibition; Wild and Majestic: Romantic Visions of Scotland at the beautiful Stockbridge Parish Church, Edinburgh. The finished product will be on show during the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2019 at The National Museum of Scotland.

I will be performing full accompanied versions of the songs I recorded for the exhibiton along with others for the Free Fringe gig series at the National Museum of Scotland on 14th and 17th August 2019 with Alistair Paterson.

Read more about the exhibition here

New Music

May 20, 2019

I’ve just recorded some new music!

It really has been a long time coming. It’s so refreshing to do. It has also been very fun working with the v talented Toby Shaer. We recorded the following two tracks a couple of weeks back at Noatune Studios in London. The tracks were mixed by Kristoffer Rylander and produced and filmed by JMNI.

The two tracks are both quite different. The video if one of my own songs, ‘Belle of the Ball’ about the incredibly inspirational Isabella Moore from Govan. Read a little more about her below before you watch the video. She’s pretty cool.

The other track is the Gaelic Reaping Song ‘Buain a Choirce’. I have wanted to record this since hearing Margaret Bennett sing it along side Martyn’s playing and arranging on their duo album “Glen Lyon – A Family Song Cycle’. It’s a cracker, give it a listen. Interestingly, this is one of the many songs that Marjory Kennedy Fraser collected and adapted for her collection ‘Songs of the Hebrides’ (1917), apparently collected from a Mrs MacTavish from Islay. If that is to be believed, then it might very well be a bonnie wee Argyll number.

Here’s more information, and or course, the songs…

Govan born Belle Moore is the youngest British woman to win an Olympic gold medal and is the only Scottish woman to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming.

Isabella McAlpine Moore was born at 95 McLean Street, Plantation on 23 October 1894, the daughter of Duncan Moore, an iron turner and Mary Cleland. Belle’s was the eighth of nine children and her mother and two older sisters were employed as biscuit packers, more than likely at nearby Gray Dunn & Co.

Belle learned to swim at school in Govan, more than likely at Lorne Street Primary pool. Govan Parish School Board saw the benefits of swimming to the health & wellbeing of children and pioneered the introduction of school swimming pools in Scotland. Some Govan schools had swimming pools before the first public pools opened in Govan at Summertown Road in 1901. Between 1884-1904 Govan Parish School Board built eight schools with pools and 5,300 children were receiving formal swimming lessons from experienced swimming instructors. Four of the schools with pools were within Govan Burgh; Broomloan Road, Greenfield, Bellahouston and Lorne Street, Govan School Board also provided opportunities for children to compete in contests which ranged in standard from inter-class to national events. In 1903 Lorne Street School held an annual intra-school gala at its school pool with schools competing for the “MacLeish Cup”, in 1907 a second trophy for girls was added, no doubt Belle then aged 11 would have competed. Belle was encouraged by her instructor to continue training in public pools after school, an article claimed that Belle “was so dedicated she often walked two to three miles to a pool”, however Kinning Park public pool was less than a half-mile from her home and even the Summertown Road pools were less than a mile away.

The first-ever women’s Olympic swimming events staged were at the Stockholm Olympic Games of 1912, now a swimming instructor Belle was among the first of these women swimmers to compete at the games. Belle Moore and her British teammates wore “scandalously short woollen swimsuits with completely uncovered arms”. USA officials were more prudish and refused to send a female team of swimmers at all, they believed that a woman should not appear in public in such a state of undress. Two women’s races were staged at the 1912 Olympics, a 100 metres individual freestyle and a 4 x 100m relay, Belle competed in both, she made it to the semi-final of the 100 metres individual freestyle but was eliminated. On the 15th July 1912 Belle competed in the 4 x 100m relay alongside her British team mates Jennie Fletcher, Annie Speirs and Irene Steer, in the final Great Britain competed against Germany, Austria and Sweden, Belle lead off and the team won easily, breaking a world record and setting an Olympic record. The team received their gold medals and laurel wreaths from King Gustav V of Sweden, Belle just 17 years and 226 days old was and still is the youngest British woman to win an Olympic gold medal, she is also the only Scottish woman to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming.

Belle returned home to Govan with little celebration and continued to work as a swimming instructor, in 1913, she set a 200m freestyle record which stood unbroken for many years. In 1919, Belle married George Cameron at Kinning Park Parish Church, George was a shipyard manager who was born and brought up at 4 White (Golspie) Street, Govan, that same year Belle and George emigrated to Dundalk, Maryland, USA and had two children. Belle continued to swim and teach swimming until she died in Dundalk, Maryland, USA on the 7th March 1975 aged 81. In 1989, Belle was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an “Honor Pioneer Swimmer”, she was also inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.

Notes by Colin Quigley of the Govan Reminiscence Group 2018

Belle of the Ball

Buain a Choirce