2018 Convention! Have you booked yet? Come on, it’ll be great, eh!

788618_82_zThe 2018 North American Manx Association Convention will be held at the Hotel Grand Pacific in beautiful Victoria, BC, Canada. June 21st- 24th, 2017. More details coming soon! It’s going to be AMAZING!

Posted in NAMA news

Manx Performers Fly the Flag at Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival

Recognised as one of Europe’s largest festivals, the Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival will be celebrating the Year of Scotland this month, with the prospect of more than seven hundred and fifty thousand visitors attending an extensive programme of events.

Some of those singers and musicians will be representing the Isle of Man, which has a number of both historical and cultural links with Scotland.

Although the ten day festival programme will showcase a whole variety of Scottish themes, it won’t all be about kilts, bagpipes, whisky and haggis, but there will be an opportunity to enjoy a selection of traditional fare and discover more about Scottish culture through the medium of exhibitions, lectures and film.

There’ll be a range of Manx performers flying the flag for the Isle of Man, including a number of up and coming singers and musicians who are continuing to garner global recognition for their talent and expertise.

New band on the block, Birlinn Jiarg, was invited back to feature in the official programme after being spotted at the Manx Pavilion last year. Their music is set apart by the unusual combination of low whistle and clarinet, but has now grown to include guitar, bouzouki, bodhrán and concertina.

Also representing the Isle of Man will be newly formed Manx duo Annym made up of talented local performers Isla Callister and Cairistìona Dougherty, who have recently relocated to Glasgow to further their studies. They will be joined by Scottish harpist Rachel Hair and a small number of Manx dancers who will perform at various venues, with a Manx dance workshop at the Salle Carnot.


Additionally, members of Rushen Silver Band will be returning to the festival after their highly successful Lorient debut in 2015. They will have a prominent position in the Grand Parade, but will also feature in the televised Nuit Interceltique evenings. Members of the band are also working in collaboration with a Scottish Pipe Band and a Welsh male voice choir, culminating in a joint presentation of Conquest of Paradise at the finale.

There’ll also be the ever popular Manx Pavilion, organised again this year by Peter Young and supported by Culture Vannin and the Isle of Man Arts Council, with daily entertainment from a range of Manx artistes.

Since its inception, the Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival has encouraged both art and sport, as well as the more traditionally perceived elements. Selected highlights of the event include the Bagadoù National Championships, a series of Inter-Celtic Nights and the Grand Parade of the Celtic Nations, including some three thousand five hundred performers wending their way through the streets of Lorient. New for this year is the Inter-Celtic Seas Week (showcasing producers of the Celtic seas) and the Friendship Maritime Parade.


Valerie Caine

© August 2017

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Posted in Culture

All the Fun’s in Peel this Weekend………………………!

     All roads lead to Peel during the first weekend of August, when the popular fishing port comes alive to the sights and sounds of the town’s annual carnival and welcomes a number of vessels to the long standing Traditional Boat Weekend.

Now in its sixty fifth year, Peel Carnival (Sunday 6th August) is recognised as the oldest, continuous carnival on the Island, and organisers invite people of all ages to head west for the festivities, or participate in the parade.

Billed as a great day’s entertainment for all the family, there’ll be plenty of sideshow attractions, stalls and spontaneity to enjoy throughout the day – with some popular favourites returning to the Island especially for the event and a selection of new entertainers to whet the appetites of visitors and locals alike. And there’s a sandcastle competition for those talented creative youngsters.

The highlight, of course, is the Grand Parade, beginning outside the House of Manannan at 2.00pm, wending its way along East Quay, Weatherglass Corner (aka Spit Corner) and Shore Road before terminating at the Creg Malin car park, where there’ll be an opportunity to sample refreshments and enjoy the Mardi Gra atmosphere.

Carnival programmes will be available throughout the town, and if you’ve got time, why not take part in any of the nine categories of the parade – with more than £1,000 of prize money up for grabs!

Meanwhile, boats will start arriving for the annual Peel Traditional Boat Weekend on the 4th of August, giving visitors an opportunity to see them berthed around the quayside, or out in the bay for the delightful Parades of Sail. You can also place your vote for the ‘best boat’ to win the Henry Kelly Trophy at the Sailors’ Shelter on East Quay, where you’ll also find a selection of special merchandise on sale.

Look out too for the St German’s Handbell Ringers on both days and a Vintage Car Rally next to the Transport Museum on Sunday.

One of the highlights of the Peel Traditional Boat Weekend is Saturday’s Quick and Dirty Boat Building competition, culminating in a race across the harbour at 2.30pm.

Further details about both events available on their Facebook pages.

Valerie Caine

© August 2017

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Posted in History

Celtfest Isle of Man – A Fresh New Look for a Familiar Festival

   In an effort to introduce Manx and Celtic culture to a wider audience, the much-loved Yn Chruinnaght Inter-Celtic Festival has been given a make-over, but still remains largely based in Peel.

With the committee members of Yn Chruinnaght as the organising force behind Celtfest Isle of Man, a fine selection of Celtic music from Ireland and Scotland entertained packed houses at the Centenary Centre. A choice mix of both visiting and local singers and musicians, the week’s activities got off to a great start with the festival’s opening talk on The Celts by Professor Alice Roberts – a sell-out long before the event!

A busy outreach programme included concerts for eight hundred local schoolchildren.

But there was plenty of entertainment in the daytime too, including a new free, family day called The Gathering. Held at Cathedral Isle of Man (aka St German’s Cathedral), it was a great opportunity to relax and enjoy music and dance, an artisan craft fair and local food and drink, alongside mini workshops and children-friendly activities. There was also a selection of local and visiting performers, yarn-spinner and puppeteer Fi Angwin and a whole host of innovative entertainment.

Organisers of Celtfest Isle of Man were supported by Culture Vannin, the Isle of Man Arts Council, Thornton Chartered Financial Planners, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Conister Bank, Shoprite and the Malcolm Scott Dickinson Charitable Trust.

Valerie Caine

© July 2017

(Courtesy of the North Western Chronicle)

Posted in Culture

Ned Maddrell Lecture Highlights Work of the Turas Mission in East Belfast

Linda Ervine – Irish Language Development Officer for East Belfast Mission.
Picture Declan Roughan 26 March 2013.

Each year a guest speaker is invited to deliver a talk on either language, culture or identity under the banner of the Ned Maddrell Lecture, organised jointly by Culture Vannin and Yn Ҫheshaght Ghailckagh (The Manx Language Society) and will this year welcome Linda Ervine from the Turas Mission in East Belfast.

Ms Ervine will discuss her personal journey with the Irish language, as well as revealing more about the work of the Turas Mission as it strives to connect those from Protestant communities with their history using the Irish language.

The Manx Language Development Officer for Culture Vannin, Adrian Cain, commented, “This year’s lecture promises to be an inspiring and exciting look at the valuable work that Linda and Turas carry out in Northern Ireland. Linda is a fantastic speaker and this will be an event not to be missed.”

Both Ms Ervine and her colleagues will be staying on the island for several days, when it is hoped that a strong working relationship can be formed between the Turas Mission and Culture Vannin; with the aim of supporting the ongoing work of both organisations as they reach out to their respective communities.

The annual Ned Maddrell Lecture will be held at 2.00pm on the 22nd July at the Tynwald Mills Conference Centre in St John’s. It’s a free event and open to all, but advance booking is required.

For more information about the event, or to book a place for the talk, please contact Adrian Cain at adrian@culturevannin.im, or by phoning 01624 694753/07624 451098.

Valerie Caine

© July 2017

Posted in Culture, History

Celtfest Isle of Man – A Fresh New Look for a Familiar Festival!

There’s a fresh new look for a familiar festival later this month as the much cherished Yn Chruinnaght Inter-Celtic Festival steps forward with a resplendent new make-over, in an effort to introduce Manx and Celtic culture to a wider audience.

With Yn Chruinnaght as the organising force behind the festival, Celtfest Isle of Man will focus this year on a fine selection of upbeat Celtic music, showcasing some of the finest bands and solo artists from Ireland and Scotland – with a number of concerts to suit all tastes at the Centenary Centre in Peel.

Professor Alice Roberts

Talisk (winners of the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award) will include Mohsen Amini (2016 BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year) who made a memorable impression on a local audience with the phenomenal Manx debut of Ímar.

Meanwhile Armagh born singer and flautist Rioghnach Connolly, who has been a previous guest of the Centenary Centre and the Isle of Man Blues Festival, will also be making a return visit to the Island. She’s well known for fronting the foot stomping Honeyfeet as well as a regular guest of the revolutionary Afro Celt Sound System.

Connla, reported to be the latest hottest group out of Ireland, will also be setting their sights on the annual Manx festival, with their driving tunes and stunning songs, as will Hamish Napier with his soundtrack celebrating the Spey entitled The River, featuring a mesmerising who’s who of Scottish music.


But there’s plenty of entertainment in the daytime too, which includes a new free, family day called The Gathering. To be held at Cathedral Isle of Man, it’s a great opportunity to relax and enjoy music and dance, an artisan craft fair and local food and drink, alongside mini workshops and children-friendly activities. Look out for a selection of Manx performers, Celtic harpist Rachel Hair, yarn-spinner and puppeteer Fi Angwin, and a whole host of innovative entertainment.

Celtfest Isle of Man organisers have also teamed up with Noa Bakehouse to bring music lovers a week of free lunchtime sessions and mini-gigs, featuring talented local singer/songwriters and musicians.

A busy outreach programme will include concerts featuring both visiting and Manx acts for eight hundred school children.

Although online tickets are now sold out for the festival’s opening talk on The Celts by Professor Alice Roberts, other tickets for evening events are still available.

Organisers of Celtfest Isle of Man are grateful for the support of Culture Vannin, the Isle of Man Arts Council, Thornton Chartered Financial Planners, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Conister Bank, Shoprite and the Malcolm Scott Dickinson Charitable Trust.

Tickets available from www.celtfest.im with further details about the festival available from Facebook, Twitter, the website, or by phoning 302200.

Valerie Caine

© July 2017

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Posted in Culture

New Film Reveals Details about the Manx Tradition of Bollan Bane

   Wearing a sprig of Bollan Bane (aka mugwort or white wort) in your lapel on Tynwald Day (the Isle of Man’s National Day) has long been recognised as a colloquial protection against ‘themselves’ or the fairies, but the release of a new film by Culture Vannin reveals further interesting details about this long held tradition.

Although now strongly associated with the ceremony played out at Tynwald Hill in St John’s on the 5th July, it was formerly associated with Manx folk medicine, but this new film focuses more specifically on the folklore connected with a melody of the same name.

Collected by the celebrated cultural field worker A. W. Moore from P. Cain (aka Phillie the Desert) of West Baldwin during the 1890s, and also by the locally connected composer W. H. Gill, this delightful tune was subsequently published in Manx Ballads and Music (1896).

The film itself fixes its gaze on the tale of the tune, related here by the contemporary cultural champion Annie Kissack, and centres upon the story of a man who hears the melody whilst lost on the hills, and is followed by a performance of what is considered to be the tune itself by the aforementioned Annie Kissack and Phil Gawne.

To find out more look out Culture Vannin’s short film on their website, Facebook page, YouTube or on Vimeo.

Valerie Caine

© July 2017

Posted in Culture, History

Isle of Architecture Celebrates with Concert in Peel Lifeboat House

As part of the closing events for the year long initiative Isle of Architecture, a special concert reflected a diverse use of a very special building in Peel.

Isle of Architecture is a celebration of the built environment, encouraging appreciation of the Island’s rich, architectural heritage, as well as exploring the future of building on the Isle of Man itself.

The lifeboat station, which houses the vessel Ruby Clery (currently celebrating twenty five years service), is situated by the breakwater in readiness for any sea-faring problems, but on this occasion was being used as an unusual concert venue for three local groups.

Built in 1885 at a cost of £500, the concept encouraged music lovers to fill the building to capacity to hear up and coming Scran, new group Clash Vooar and the popular Mollag Band.

Scran is relatively new on the music scene, consisting of some of the more experienced members of the Manx youth group movement Bree. Aged fourteen to eighteen, their music introduces a modern, dynamic twist, with vocals in both Manx and English.

Clash Vooar (Big Groove) is also a relatively recent addition, developing Manx music and Gaelic song using the distinct medium of a gypsy, jazz groove.

The evening closed with the ever popular Mollag Band, who diversified their programme with a selection of songs from their Manx-Anglo Pop Project and a number of favourites from their back catalogue.

All proceeds from the evening were donated to the RNLI.

Valerie Caine

© June 2017

(Courtesy of the North Western Chronicle)

Posted in Culture, History

Remembering Manx Commonwealth Games Gold Medal Cyclist Peter Buckley

   With Cyclefest in the can and the British Cycling National Road Championships looming on the horizon, it’s a fitting opportunity to remember the Island’s first gold-winning Commonwealth Games medallist who set the pace in cycling during the 1960s, but died tragically in the midst of his ongoing success.

Peter Buckley was born in Peel to Joan (née Quayle) and Louis Buckley, a member of the Peveril Camp Guard, and although he later relocated to Oldham in Lancashire he always maintained he was proud to be a Manx man; returning regularly for training.

When he was selected for the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Jamaica (where Buckley celebrated his twenty second birthday) he chose to represent the Isle of Man, although in some quarters his victory was perceived to be just another win for England. However, this view was not shared by the British Cycling Federation, who saw it as recognition for the tremendous support that the Island gave to cycling.

The race itself was a feat of endurance which raised genuine concern amongst doctors and officials, but ultimately shattered the theory that endurance events in Jamaica would be beyond the physical limits of competitors. A gruelling one hundred and twenty mile road race from Kingston to Manchioneal, Buckley survived a crash by the leading group in the early stages, but rode with determination through tropical rain storms amongst the mountain foothills, tackling slippery, winding, crumbling roads, pot holes and an unwanted puncture. Many of his competitors crashed out of the race, but Buckley’s pledge to win gold for the Isle of Man spurred him on to victory, in a record time of just over five hours – almost one mile ahead of the second placed man.

But the race had taken its toll of a dazed Buckley who was helped from his bike at the finish line, soaked with both rain and perspiration. He freely admitted that it was a tough, punishing course presenting its own dangers, and there were times when he considered pulling out. Although he had ridden longer races this was the most gruelling, riding alone for the final forty miles and battling extreme tiredness during the closing stages.

Buckley’s success aroused enormous pride on the Isle of Man, and the Manx team was greeted by thousands of cheering well wishers at Ronaldsway Airport, which Buckley quipped was better than a Beatles’ welcome, followed by a government reception and presentation of an inscribed silver tray. Additionally, Buckley and his family attended further presentations in both Peel and Douglas.

Crowned Sportsman of the Year on the Isle of Man in 1967, Buckley returned to his job as a clerk in a railway company and his training regime, in the hope of being selected for the next Olympic Games, winning the Manx International Road Race, and securing top places in the Tour of Mexico and the Tour of Britain Milk Race. The Peter Buckley Series became one of the most prized awards in UK cycling, but tragedy was waiting in the wings. Whilst out training Buckley was involved in a collision with a loose dog at Hebden Bridge in the Yorkshire Pennines in July 1969 and he subsequently died of his injuries – struck down in his prime after establishing himself as the leading amateur rider in Britain at the age of twenty four. His ashes were interred at Peel Cemetery.

Buckley was acknowledged as a gentleman both on and off the bike and as an excellent ambassador for the Isle of Man, but his memory lives on through the establishment of the Peter Buckley Trophy (awarded to competitors from the junior cycling league) and now presented to Dot Tilbury’s Junior Cycling RLS 360 and awarded to the most promising competitor,  together with a memorial seat placed at Creg Willey’s Hill (Creg Willy Syl – Willy Sylvester’s Rock).

Meanwhile his Commonwealth Games gold medal and other memorabilia can be seen at the Leece Museum on East Quay in Peel – admission free.

Valerie Caine

© June 2017

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Posted in Uncategorized

Manx Internment Camp Music Concerts Break New Ground

A unique collaboration between some of the brightest talent from the Royal College of Music and the Ensemble Émigré, professional soloists and a selection of young performers from the Isle of Man, highlighted an important aspect of internment on the Island during World War II and broke new ground during the process.

With performances at The Studio Theatre in Ballakermeen High School and the Erin Arts Centre, local audiences were treated to a fabulous presentation of music composed by internees housed in various camps across the Island.

The concert was initially staged in The Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London earlier this year under the title of The Barbed Lyre – Leaves from the Isle of Man, incorporating a rich variety of music composed by German and Austrian refugees.

It was a stunning performance from a group of twelve singers and instrumentalists led by Norbert Meyn. They also managed to include some sightseeing and school workshops, which attracted more than one hundred students, following which four young performers from Ramsey Grammar School were included with the visiting group’s second presentation at Ballakermeen High School.

Entitled What a Life! – Music from the World War II Isle of Man Internment Camps, each musical item was interspersed with information about some of the internees, or their diary entries. Such detail provided an insight into the lives of thousands of men and women who were suddenly thrust into the spotlight and branded as ‘enemy aliens’.

The Isle of Man inadvertently became, as broadcaster Andrew Marr observed, ‘one of the great centres of European intellectual life’, which was reflected in these rare performances. A selection of masterpieces included a superb arrangement of the highly expressive Ursonate by the Dadaist artist Kurt Schwitters, and work by Peter Gellhorn, who composed a piece of work called The Cats and another entitled Mooragh. Other work at the concerts included that of Hans Gál who composed the music for a bi-lingual camp revue entitled What a Life! within a matter of weeks, for the most part from his camp hospital bed.

Their music was interspersed with a selection of Manx compositions which included Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly, I’m a Native of Peel and dance tunes by W. H. Gill.

As well as filming a performance of Mooragh in Ramsey Town Hall, Culture Vannin also filmed Norbert Meyn and the String Quartet performing some of Peter Gellhorn’s music inside one of the apartments on Mooragh Promenade which formed part of the Mooragh Camp, where he was interned. It was fitting that Barbara Gellhorn, his daughter, was able to be present at this event. This will shortly be available at www.culturevannin.im.

An article highlighting the project was published on the international news site Deutsche Welle.

The project was supported by the Isle of Man Arts Council, Culture Vannin and the Malcolm Scott Dickinson Charitable Trust.

(Photos courtesy of Norbert Meyn – Royal College of Music)

Valerie Caine

© June 2017

(Courtesy of the Southern Chronicle)

Posted in Culture, History