Highlands & Islands

Shinty captain aims to be in charts 'alongside Rihanna'

Scotland's shinty squad captain and his band are aiming to have the first Scottish Gaelic hit of the 21st Century in the UK top 40.

Accordion-playing Gary Innes and his group, Manran, hope to repeat the chart success Runrig and Capercaillie had with Gaelic songs in the 1990s.

Runrig song An Ubhal as Airde reached number 18 in the charts in 1995.

Manran will launch their debut single Latha Math on 16 January during the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow.

Mr Innes said the band wanted to see the Gaelic song fighting for top 40 chart places alongside those of international artists such as Rihanna.

He said: "If Gaelic is to survive as a living language the kids have to think it is cool.

"A top 40 hit alongside Rihanna, the Black Eyed Peas and Katy Perry can help achieve that."

Latha Math, written by singer Norrie MacIver, describes an idyllic and peaceful day on his native island of Lewis in the Western Isles.

Image caption Manran hope to be in the UK charts alongside international singers such as Rihanna

Six musicians came together in April last year to form Manran, which means man about town, or sweet, tuneful and melodic.

Runrig founder member Calum MacDonald said: "Anyone who has an eye for goal like Gary Innes will have an eye for the charts.

"Runrig will be delighted if they make it a hat-trick of chart wins for Gaelic songs."

In 2010, Mr Innes scored in the last minute to clinch victory for Fort William in the final of shinty's premier trophy, the Camanachd Cup, to pick up his fifth winners' medal.

Celtic Connections 2011 will run from 13 to 30 January and has 300 concerts, ceilidhs, talks, workshops and free events taking place in 14 venues.

The festival, which was originally a filler in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall's winter programme, is due to enter its 18th year.

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