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What is a Ceilidh
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A Ceilidh (pronounced "Kay-lay", emphasis on 1st syllable) is many
things. It derives from the Gaelic word meaning a visit and originally
meant just that (and still does in Gaelic). It can also mean a house
party, a concert or more usually an evening of informal Scottish
traditional dancing to informal music. Ceilidhs in the Lowlands tend
to be dances, in the Highlands they tend to be concerts. Dances in the
Highlands and traditional ceilidhs in the Lowlands are often called
"ceilidh dances". Ceilidh dancing is fundamentally different from
Scottish Country Dancing (See answer [10.4]) in that it is much less
formal and the primary purpose is the enjoyment of doing the dance.
Scottish Country Dancing is much more oriented towards being a
demonstration or exhibition. Ceilidhs are extremely popular indeed
with young people and often attract from a few dozen people to
several hundred. There are world championships for ceilidh bands
now (the first winners were Fire in the Glen, now called Tannas).
There are also workshops for ceilidh bands at
ALP Scots Music Group, The Drill Hall, 36 Dalmeny Street Edinburgh EH6 8RG 0131 555 7668
Best places for Ceilidhs are:
Assembly Rooms and The Hub are the best venues.
Also try: Marco's leisure centre, Cafe Royal, Southside
Community Centre, St Bride's centre, St Oswald's Hall (Montpelier),
Methodist Halls, The Thomas Morton Hall, MacEwan Hall, St Pete's
Church Hall in Lutton Place and Caledonian Brewery.
The West End Hotel has leaflets on the noticeboard showing when
ceilidhs are on, or look in the Folk music section of The List
(the Glasgow and Edinburgh what's on guide; out fortnightly
available at most newsagents). http://www.timeout.com/ (look
for Glasgow/Edinburgh sections). Info on Ceilidhs in the folk
The Riverside Club. OK place for a ceilidh but prone to being busy
and too much like a nightclub. There are even bouncers (unheard of
at all the good ceilidhs)
A good book for anyone wanting to learn how to do ceilidh dances and
play ceilidh tunes is Let's have a ceilidh by Robbie Shepherd
(well known Radio Scotland presenter of Take the Floor)
Price 4.95, 100 pages.
Published by Canongate Press, 14 Frederick St, Edinburgh, EH2 2HB ISBN 0 86241 412 1 http://www.canongate.net/
Includes 20 of the most popular dances, plus a selection of music to go with the dances. There are explanations for the various steps with diagrams, as well as some notes on the history of dancing.
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