Follow up from Ruth to the Convention

Laa mie ooilley – good day, all! 

It was great to meet everyone who came to the NAMA convention just over a week ago in Plymouth. Thank you all so much for making me so welcome. My apologies for this long email, but I wanted to send you links for everything that we’d covered in the workshops, as well as additional materials that you might like to explore. Something to get your teeth into during fall and winter, perhaps! 

Important note: if anyone attended the workshops and didn’t fill out a video / photo permissions form for Culture Vannin, please could you do that and send it back directly to me via email? Please see the form attached to this email. My email address is:

40 Manx Things:

The workshops that took place on the Saturday linked in with Culture Vannin’s ‘40 Manx Things’ project, which we developed to help the general public have fun with Manx culture, and try some new things. 40 Manx Things is also part of the celebrations about Culture Vannin’s 40th anniversary. If you want to find out more about Culture Vannin in general, do visit:

Everyone who attended the workshops was able to take home a printed copy of ‘40 Manx Things’, but I also wanted to send you over a PDF link to this, as if you click on each box it will take you through to specific links to show you how to engage with each task: (the overview page about 40 Manx Things can be found here: ). 

There’s a competition taking place this summer, which you can find out about her and take part in if you wanted to – there’s a nice prize up for grabs and you don’t have to live on-island to take part – you could simply claim your prize next time you were on Island, if you were the lucky winner 😉!

Of the forty items on the list we ticked off about 7 things across all of the workshops, and if you attended the bonnag bakealong as well, then you’ll have completed 8! These are: 1) Connect with Manx music 2) Learn a little Manx  3) Bake a bonnag 4) Sing a song in Manx 5) Say ‘gura mie ayd’ (thank you) to a stranger 6) Have fun learning a Manx dance 7) Join in with a Manx ceili – well, we danced three dances in a large group, so I think that can count! 8) Raise a glass and say ‘Slaynt vie!’ (cheers) – some of you definitely did this! 

There are many more challenges that you can take part in remotely, or which you might have done earlier this year and have photos or videos of. Why not pop them online with the hashtag #40manxthings – we’d love to see them! 

Workshop follow-ups: 

Over the course of the Saturday we did lots of varied workshops. Here are some links that you can explore to keep learning, or to revise some of what we covered: 

Workshop 1: Manx Action Songs (Music and Movement) 

In this workshop, we explored three songs:

Workshop 2: Beginner Manx language lesson

You learnt various phrases in this workshop, and practised them with each other. Lots was done by ear, though you took away a sheet of phrases. Repetition will help you remember the things you learnt, and you can find lots of good resources on our website: 

  • There are some basic words and phrases here, which will help to reinforce what you learnt (I’ll be adding to this over the next few days as it’s a new page):
  • I’d also recommend exploring the Podcast Gaelgagh resource, if you want to learn more – there are 100 bitesize lessons on there:
  • You can find a high-energy video tutorial made with in collaboration with the popular Isle of Man children’s theatre duo ‘Hello Little People’ exploring ‘By vie lhiam…’ (I would like) with different foodstuffs:
  • If anyone would like to join me, I’ll be running a free four-week long taster course for Manx on Zoom, exploring some basic phrases (some crossover with what we did in the language session if anyone would like a refresher!), Manx place names and a bit about the history of the Manx language. This will take place on Zoom at 1.20pm Manx time on Wednesday lunchtimes from mid-September, which will hopefully work time-wise for those of you who are on the east coast. You can sign up here (make sure you choose the ‘Zoom’ option):

Workshop 3: Manx dance

We learnt three Manx dances in this workshop. Firstly, Cur shaghey yn geurey (also known as ‘Step Dance’ (or more colloquially as ‘Bendy Bendy’ for obvious reasons!)); secondly Hop Tu Naa, and lastly Flitter Dance. You can find dance tutorial videos for all three of these dances, as well as a few more (including solo and trio dances, for those of you who want more of a challenge!) on this page, led by talented Manx dancer Grainne Joughin:

Hop Tu Naa and Flitter Dance both tie into different Manx folklore traditions, which you can find out more about below. 

Workshop 4: The Manx Year (Folklore talk)

In this talk, we looked at various traditions, customs and practices associated with different times of the year. We talked about many of the things that you can do at home to mark traditional elements of the Manx calendar, such as placing yellow flowers on your doorstep or making a crosh cuirn at the very end of April (May Eve) for Boaldyn. There’s an entire page devoted to the Manx year on the Culture Vannin website, and you can revisit some of the traditions that we discussed, watch videos and listen to oral history recordings, and explore much more here: 

In the talk that I gave, we looked at some of the things connected with Oie’ll Vreeshey (find more on the section of the website called ‘Laa’l Breeshey’); Flitters; Boaldyn; Tynwald Day; Hop Tu Naa; and some of the practices in the Kegeesh Ommijagh (Foolish Fortnight) which would encompass things like The White Boys, The Mollag Bands, Hunt the Wren, Cammag and the Laair Vane. 

If you have an interest in folklore, I’d highly recommend working your way through this section of the website – it’ll keep you interested for a long time, and it’s fascinating. 

For those who asked the very good question about why we hunt the wren, this is one story connected to the tradition – that of Tehi Tegi:

Workshop 5: Manx songs 

In this workshop we learnt some different songs, all of which you have the lyrics for on a songsheet that was given out. We managed to go through 4 songs, which is great, and you listened to one more! Here are some tutorials or links for some of those: 

  1. Manannan Song: (the video ‘pinned’ at the top is the tutorial for this one) 
  2. Ushag Veg Ruy: You can find the pronunciation and the song here, taught by Annie Kissack (tracks 45 + 46) – there are a number of great Manx songs on that list to explore. The PDF music to Ushag Veg Ruy can be found here:
  3. King of the Sea: here are the words for you: and Ballacottier school choir singing the song as part of the Manx Folk Awards: 
    This is a modern rendering of the Manx song, sung by Scottish musician Paul McKenna as a guest on Barrule’s album from 2013. Note the melody has been changed substantially in the chorus. Great version, though, I think:
  4. S’feayr yn oie: find a video tutorial here for this lovely winter-y song. It’s a good one for non-religious OR religious settings (originally written for the Bunscoill Ghaelgagh nativity):­
  5. Arrane Oie Vie (Goodnight Song) – we didn’t manage to learn this one, but it’s a gorgeous song that was traditionally sung at the end of the night (and sometimes still is, at sessions, gatherings and the like, certainly within the Manx language and music community). You can hear our director Breesha singing it here (live recording): and a version that Rachel and I recorded on the album (last track) here:

Workshop 6: Instrumental workshop

In this workshop we mainly explored some simple melodies on the whistle. The melody that we spent the most time on was the Hop Tu Naa song melody, which you can find here – set 14: – there’s a tonne of music here that you can explore for whistle (the fingering for the whistle is given there). Most of you who took a whistle also took a copy of our ‘Feddan’ book for beginners, which explained the fingering used for the whistle, and we explored some of the melodies in this on Friday evening. 

For anyone who plays by ear, there are a number of soundfiles to accompany each ‘set’ of music, which can be found here: (click ‘play along slow’ or ‘play along steady’). 

For anyone who might like to take the whistle a bit further, you can learn some more tunes with well-known whistle and flute player Peddyr Cubberley via our video tutorials:

Well, that’s everything, I think! It was a pleasure to make music, sing, speak Manx, and explore our wonderful culture together! 

Lesh my yeearreeyn share,


Ruth Keggin Gell 
Yn Greinneyder – Manx Language Development Officer

Culture Vannin