In my previous post ‘Wake me up..’ I talked in detail about an unexpected challenge to the Anglobubble that has gone viral and helped to change entrenched attitudes to language learning. I posted a great clip of Avicii’s ‘Wake me up’ sung in translation by hundreds of excited and happy language learners. I have watched and played that clip many times over. It’s not just the kids’ enthusiasm, the production values are great and that certainly helps. I didn’t reveal the language or the country other than the fact the latter is deep in the Anglobubble (despite having its own national language).
Time for the big reveal: the language is Irish Gaelic, and it’s Ireland of course (the Irish dancing was the giveaway). But the mouse that roared that’s behind the music phenomenon is Coláiste Lurgan – a summer residential school for kids. They’ve been translating hit songs from English and getting their students (and teachers) to sing, record and film them for a few years now.
Their great work has really taken off in the last 12 months – with a number of viral clips – millions of hits and growing. Why exactly has it taken off right now? Well, a number of reasons come to mind. Most of the first Gaelic clips were revoiced versions of the original clips sung in English, i.e. the original visual (e.g. Lady Gaga singing) was kept but the soundtrack replaced. They have increasingly shifted to high quality filming of the kids singing – you not only hear their voices, you see them front and centre – often with a little choreography. They now also have a big repertoire of famous covers so you can just keep exploring! And clearly there’s the power of word of mouth and social media. All of these factors make a huge difference!
The kids really shine – and their enthusiasm and discipline are irresistible. All of a sudden Gaelic and language learning are cool. These kids really are role models for young language learners in the Anglobubble everywhere.
Some of my favourites are included here. It’s hard to believe but I enjoy them more in Gaelic than in English – because I don’t know what’s being sung! Bastille had a huge international hit with ‘Pompeii‘. But I like the plaintive lead vocal from one of the teachers in the glorious Gaelic version seen here:
The clip has been so successful that when it was uploaded on the web it was competing with Will and Kate for top spot on Youtube. How cool is that! That’s a great motivator for students and teacher involved, I’m sure.
After American superstars Macklemore and Ryan Lewis had a massive hit with the super upbeat ‘Can’t hold us‘, they heard about the Irish version and were so intrigued they asked to be included in the video – speaking Gaelic. Again how cool is that! Here’s Can’t hold us in Gaelic.
There are lots of others given the Lurgan treatment, e.g. Lady Gaga, Passenger, Lion King, Abba, Michael Jackson. Even ‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thicke and co-workers gets reworked by our Gaelic learning and loving kids as An Laisc Is Mó.
I have no idea what they are singing but I know they’re plugging in to the zietgeist and loving it.
This stuff really works to motivate language learning. We need to use it. See my previous blog for some ideas on how. And tell your friends. Try it yourself!
More soon 🙂