A CONCERT tomorrow (Friday) evening in Peel will double as the final of the 2012 Arrane son Mannin songwriting competition.
Judges will be keeping a keen eye and ear on the performers, to choose the island’s entry in the International Song Competition in Ireland later in the year.
The Arrane son Mannin (Song for Mann) competition is designed to produce a new song in Manx Gaelic each year to enter in the Pan-Celtic Festival, which celebrates the culture of Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, Brittany and the Isle of Man.
This year’s festival is in Carlow between April 2 and 6. And a place in the festivities is at stake when the Manx hopefuls compete tomorrow evening at Peel Masonic Hall, starting at 8pm.
Supported by the Manx Heritage Foundation, admission is free.
Performing will be musicians Caarjyn Cooidjagh, Cliogaree Twoaie, Banjagh, Matt Creer and Ruth Keggin, Laura and Dave Rowles.
Organiser Fiona McArdle explained it’s a concert built around the competition, as only Banjagh and Matt Creer and Ruth Keggin will be judged as Arrane son Mannin entries.
Their respective songwriting and performance efforts will be judged out of 100, with 30 marks available for lyrics, 30 points for music and 40 points for presentation, in line with the scoring scheme that will be used at the international final in Carlow.
Judge Bob Carswell of Manx Radio will scrutinise the quality of the lyrical Gaelic, with Manx music specialist Dr Chloë Woolley scoring the melodic side of things.
A £300 prize, sponsored by the Manx Heritage Foundation, will be awarded to the best new song in Manx Gaelic, and the winning group will also travel to Ireland in April. And a proportion of travelling and accommodation expenses will be paid by MHF, up to a set maximum.
While Manx musicians have long entered the 42-year-old inter-Celtic song contest, this is the eighth year of the Arrane son Mannin format, which Fiona explained is designed to attract new people to compose Manx Gaelic songs, and increase the back-catalogue of music performed in the language.
‘There is lots of new Manx music, but not necessarily lots of new Manx songs,’ she said. ‘We have attracted entries every year, and they’ve always been good, and have usually done well in the festival final, finishing second or third.’ She added that a presence at the festival is important for the profile of the island, with many important characters from the worlds of Celtic art and politics overseeing events.
To be eligible for entry to Arrane Son Mannin a song can be of any genre, but must have lyrics in Manx Gaelic, with instrumental accompaniment. Both lyrics and tune must be new compositions in 2012 and not have been performed previously in public competition in the island.