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The Royal National Mòd with Robert Robertson

Robert Robertson


The Royal National Mòd,what is it? Well, there are many different answers to this question...

First of all, it is a chance for the Gaels to meet and speak their own native language. Some say it is a chance to compete with others in the arts of singing, dancing, music, drama, sport, and literature. Others say it is an annual chance to meet with good friends, for example, in the choirs. But many people just go to the Mòd for the craic! They are there for the ceilidhs, the parties... and the hostelries!

For me, it is about all of these things. I started singing at the National Mòd when it was in Lochaber in 2007. The competitions have been so beneficial to me over the years. I enjoy listening to the other competitors and comparing the different styles in which we all sing. The advice from the adjudicators is always helpful because each of them is so knowledgeable and experienced.

I also love singing with the choirs. It is such an incredible thing when so many different voices sing together. There is a lot of good-natured mischief between the choirs - and even a bit of friendly rivalry! As soon as the adjudicators leave the competition to decide upon the marks, the choirs all start to sing together. This is the most special thing about them - everyone is just so happy to sing with anyone! When the competitions are all done and dusted at the end of the week, they gather in the town centre to sing with each other one more time. It is hard to believe (after such a long week) that such tired people, with such tired voices, can make such beautiful music!

Every night, when the competitions come to an end, everyone goes to the local pubs where the ceilidh go on until the 'wee small hours'. Throughout the week, it is so uplifting to see the different generations coming together to make music - people of all ages and with different levels of ability all performing together in such an informal setting.  Indeed, I well remember, when I was a young boy, sitting with my father and my mother listening to the music with a fresh orange juice in hand! Of course, there are not many who just drink orange juice at the Mòd...! Anyway, I was always happy to be singing with the best Gaelic singers and musicians in the world!

Without a doubt, the Mòd is a great event for the family. Nowadays, I am still going out every night to listen to the singers and to sing one or two songs with the bands. I am sometimes still there with my parents, and sometimes with my friends; although, no matter who I am with, we always have fun!

Thus, for many years now (An Comunn Gàidhealach was founded in 1891), the Mòd has been giving people a chance to strengthen their Gaelic and be amongst the language and the culture all week. Without any doubt, it is fair to say that the prizes (from the coveted Gold Medal and Traditional Gold Medal, to the children's prizes) are held in great renown in musical circles throughout the world. From year to year, and place to place, you are guaranteed a great week. I'll see you in Inverness!

The Author

Robert Robertson, singer and musician from Lochaber.


Robert Robertson is a singer and a musician from Lochaber. He won the An Comunn Gàidhealach Gold Medal at the Royal National Mòd in Paisley in 2013 and, just two months after that, he was named "Up and Coming Artist of the Year" at the renowned MG Alba Scots Trad Awards. Robert plays with the band "Skipinnish", and (along with accordionist, Angus MacPhail) he wrote the song "Walking on the Waves". This song got to the top of the iTunes World Music Chart and even entered the UK Download Charts amongst the likes of "One Direction" and "Bastille"!
You can listen to "Walking on the Waves" and other songs written by Robert on the album "Western  Ocean" - available now on iTunes!


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