Celtic Calling with Daimh

25Feb 2016

By: Rebecca Park


Growing up in West Virginia, I had been told by my grandmother that we were Scots-Irish. Not at all sure what that meant, I could tell you about my English roots, my German low-land roots. Finally as an adult, I began to read about the Scottish outcasts who were re-planted in Ireland for about a century, eventually moving on, looking for home.

At the tender age of 20, I got to fly across the Atlantic and see London and think about taking the train north to Scotland.

It was October, and when the train left me in Edinburgh, and I could see the land rising up on both sides of me, I began to feel strangely at home. I saw Dundee, and Inverness, and the lochs that perforate the rolling land. A bus carried me from the east coast to the west coast in one day, with a stop to walk among some lonely ruins, to Kyle of Lochalsh, and my destination, the Isle of Skye.

My only reason for wanting to experience Skye was a song from my youth:

Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing, "Onward!," the sailors cry. 
Carry the lad who's born to be King, over the sea to Skye!

On my meager student's budget, I stayed in hostels and spent days hiking and ate muesli. I stayed in a room rented by a widow - a bed and breakfast - and ate cold toast served in a rack. I even splurged and ate in a pub. I worked to understand things the natives said, in English! 

Ever since that time, I have thought - maybe felt is the better word - that Scotland is my ancestral home, and I see the landscape in West Virginia to be what the Scots-Irish migrants claimed readily as a land where they could send down roots and stay.

It was a song that took me to Scotland, and now this Celtic Calling brings song to us, calling to us with the joy of villages, the mystery of the sea, the feeling that we live near the top of the world. The mandolin, the fiddle, the pipes, the stories, the quick rhythms and plaintive ballads, call us through the music of the band called "Daimh" - from the Gaelic word for kinship.

For over 30 years FOOTMAD has brought the best in traditional music in all genres to the Kanawha Valley. Daimh put a contemporary take on the traditional music of the west coast of Scotland and Ireland, with dance tunes and songs in Gaelic. Come and see why this group has won prestigious awards in their career for Best Folk Band in Europe and Best Folk Band in Scotland. No matter what your grandmother told you about your roots, take a chance to feel the connection to the Celts whose early civilization spread across Europe. It's a primal thing, and it calls us.

Tickets at FOOTMAD are just $20 for adults, $15 for 65+ and $10 for students. Under 13 and AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers FREE.

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