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"In June 2004, Liverpool Cathedral celebrated its centenary by inviting black gospel singers from London and psalm singers from Gaelic Scotland to the Festival of the Voice. When Calum Martin asked me to join the group I hesitated. 'There are wonderful voices already going! Mine would make little difference!' But Calum is persuasive, his enthusiasm infectious. That glorious event reminded me that there are no coincidences, only God-given opportunities. I returned home with a dream -- Scotland's biggest Cathedral, filled to capacity, black and white together, and voices ringing in the rafters! Echoes of Martin Luther King re-echoed with his avowal that 'one of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between doing and saying.'
"And so, a few days later, my dream turned into a proposal which I took to Colin Hynd, director of Glasgow's Celtic Connections Festival. The Salm CD in one hand and a mini-disc from Liverpool in the other, I began, 'You've got to hear this, Colin! Just made for Glasgow Cathedral!' Within minutes the office staff gravitated towards the speakers. The consensus was 'Wow!'.
"Apart from having a keen business sense and an ability to bring Glasgow alive in January, Colin Hynd is gifted with a ready smile and a faith that dreams can come true. Our meeting closed with budget talk: 'OK, a dozen fares from Gaeldom, and, say, another dozen from London? No? What! Then where?' Colin put down the pen and didn't bat an eyelid to hear my 'I don't know yet, but when we hear them we'll know.'
"Two months later, in a little church in Alabama, the precise moment of hearing those voices was absolutely thrilling. No need for words when tears of joy fill the eyes. Calum Martin knew; I knew; we all knew! But transcending the exhilarating sound of voices was a spirit of recognition, not just of how we sing, or how we 'line out', but reaching far beyond to the deepest sense of brotherhood.
"And so it was, in January 2005, thanks to Celtic Connections, we met in Glasgow, brothers and sisters together, black and white together -- Salm and Soul. That night, in Glasgow Cathedral, Martin Luther King's great dream became our daily prayer, that not only America but also the world might experience the transforming power of love and unity.
This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. (Psalm 118 v 23)
--Margaret Bennett, 2005
If you have the right software (Winamp, Windows Media Player or similar) you can listen to 30-second samples of some tracks. For each track that has a sample available, the first "listen" icon provides the sound as an MP3, the second as an Ogg Vorbis file. If you are not sure which one to play, click on the first one.
Produced by Calum Martin
For more information on the historical background and development of Gaelic Psalms, visit www.gaelicpsalmsinging.com.
(Thanks due to Eilidh Macdonald for help with this page.)