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Lochinver man to take the reins at helm of Inverness-based organisers of the Royal National Mod

By Louise Glen

James Graham, MOD organiser. Picture: Gary Anthony. Image No..
James Graham, MOD organiser. Picture: Gary Anthony. Image No..

One of the top jobs in Gaeldom has gone to a well-known face in the Gaelic world, former Gold Medalist James Graham.

An Comunn Gaidhealach has announced that Mr Graham, originally from Lochinver, will be the organisation’s new chief executive officer when the current post holder John Morrison retires at the end of March.

Mr Graham has worked for An Comunn Gaidhealach for the past 10 years as the Royal National Mod manager.

A spokesman said: "The considerable wide experience James has acquired in the decade since 2010 employed as An Comunn’s Mod Manager, tackling the varied management and delivery challenges of national mods as well as provincial events, will be of considerable benefit to him in his new post."

Mr Graham said. “It is a very great honour to be taking over in this post and I am very much looking forward to maintaining the outstanding work which John Morrison established, but I recognise this will be challenging.

"My ambition will be to strive to develop and strengthen the organisation further in the future.

"As a participant in provincial and national mods since boyhood and through my management work over the past decade, I have become increasingly aware that the Mod is a foundation for Gaelic culture and its arts.

"This job will bring challenges, but I look forward to the unqualified support of my colleagues, and our board members, in taking the organisation forward.”

An Comunn president, Allan Campbell, said. “We congratulate James, and welcome him to this important job, and we wish him every success in the post. At the same time, we extend our warmest good wishes for a long and happy retirement to John Morrison, when he will stand down from the post at the end of March.”

Mr Graham started competing at mods from as early as nine years old under the guidance of his primary school head-teacher, Kenny Mackenzie, from Sutherland.

After leaving Lochinver Primary School, he attended Ullapool High School where the late Norman Gillies taught him the bagpipes. Mr Graham maintained his interest in Gaelic song throughout his secondary school years and subsequently, gained a place on the BA Scottish Music course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow.

There he studied Gaelic song under the respected Gaelic singer and scholar Kenna Campbell and bagpipes as a subsidiary study. He graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 2003 with an honours degree in Scottish Music.

In 2004 Mr Graham won the BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Award - the first male and first Gaelic singer to do so. He has since appeared in several successful and award winning television and radio music series, including the Transatlantic Sessions.

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