Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s programme of online activities has proved a hit that reaches way beyond the shores of the Western Isles.
Reactions and viewer numbers for the programme of yoga classes, quizzes and cèilidhs has encouraged the Comhairle to expand its programme of live cèilidhs from this Friday (24 April).
The Friday night programme kicked off over the past two weeks with live-streamed performances from Iain Spanish Mackay and Iain Tosh Macintosh.
Tosh’s performance last Friday (17 April) was watched across the islands, Scotland and all five continents of the world, with requests and plaudits coming in from as far afield as Australia and Dallas USA.
But it was the home impact of the performance which meant the most to both performers and the Comhairle’s communications team, who are masterminding the technology and the programme.
Local comments included: “Just what we need for a Friday night in” and “Awesome, Tosh, takes me back to carefree days and busy SY weekends.”
There was plenty of shared emotion around the world, as people who were meant to be celebrating life events listened in to the tunes. Stuart Watson requested a tune for fiancée Nicola Gouldstone – the couple’s wedding was postponed from Saturday (18 April) and Tosh was to be playing at their celebration.
And one family due to be celebrating their Mum’s 70th birthday instead all sat down at their own homes and watched Tosh.
The success of the cèilidhs so far means the Comhairle will now be hosting live Facebook cèilidhs with local artists every Friday and Saturday evening from 9pm.
This Friday Elsa Jean MacTaggart and husband Gary Lister will be performing a lively set meant for dancing. You can have a look at their Facebook page for an idea of what to expect - www.facebook.com/elsajeanmctaggartmusic/.
At 9pm on Saturday, Charlie Clark from local band Astrid will be live on the Comhairle page and in addition to the Facebook cèilidhs, on Saturday 25 April, host Willie Campbell will be joined by local musicians for the debut broadcast of e-cèilidh – a pre-recorded production by the Comhairle's education department.
E-Cèilidh will be available to watch live online through the new dedicated e-cèilidh website which will be launched on Thursday this week. Every fortnight, the cèilidh will feature one host performing live items as well as introducing pre-recorded pieces from other musicians and local contributors.
Contributions are invited from members of the local community of any age, a maximum of five minutes in length and in any musical genre. Each e-cèilidh will include a mix of items with scope to have genre-specific nights as the bank of musical contributions grows.
The programme for this weekend is:
Friday 24 April at 9pm - Elsa Jean MacTaggart and Gary Lister live
Saturday 25 April at 7:30pm – e-cèilidh hosted by Willie Campbell
Saturday 25th April at 9pm – Charlie Clark live.
You can find all the Comhairle’s online activities, events and cèilidhs via their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/comhairlenaneileansiar/